Monthly Archives: May, 2012

Loving Poverty, for Fun and (Eventual) Profit

I have had the good fortune of being a member of four families in my life: the one I was born into, the Alwaan housing co-op we started in Austin in the 1970’s, Mama’s Homefried Truckstop in the 1980’s, and my current marvelous family.  When I say ‘family’, I’m talking about people who have to …

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Goodbye Turkey Neck, Hello Pork Butt

The Turkey Neck Stew outing was a success, so time to push my luck. If you’re coming in late, I made TNS last week for the first time, based on somebody’s offhand remark.  I think next time around, I would use less meat–five pounds was a bit much for a large pot–but one package wasn’t …

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The Night Has 1,000 Eyes. Mostly Red.

Last night, I performed with legendary pianist/bon vivant/local treasure James Polk’s Centerpeace sextet at the Elephant Room.  During one number, we had a surprise guest appearance by none other than ZZ Tap. No, not ZZ Top.  We don’t let them into the Elephant Room.  I said ZZ Tap, which is the stage name for tap …

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Miles, Marsalis, Mayhem

I know, Miles has been getting a lot of posts lately.  For a guy who has been dead over twenty years, it must seem like overkill.  Last one for a while, I promise. But today being the 86th anniversary of his birth, it got me thinking about an old conflict in a new light.  Of …

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Turkey Neck Stew

Cookin’ me up a big pot of turkey neck stew.  I’ve never done it before, but I heard somebody talking about it the other day and it sounded delicious, so why not? I’ve been cooking all  my life.  Which isn’t to say I’m a great cook, but I’m willing to eat my mistakes.  There was …

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The Absolute Worst Gig I Have Ever Played

Probably I shouldn’t be writing this, because a worse one could come along… No way.  This one has stood the test of time for over ten years, and I don’t think it will ever be topped.  At least, I hope not. Let me begin by saying that the vast majority of our gigs are positive, …

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Au Revoir, Miles

The moment is finally here.  In seven days, we put the AJW’s Miles Davis season to bed. It didn’t feel like it would ever end, back in September of last year.  Then, we were looking at an unbroken sea of 124 dates.  Today, there are five left. Over the last nine months, I learned a …

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How to Make a Million Dollars Playing Jazz

Start with two million… I know, ancient, right?  But there is a reason the conventional wisdom is just that. A while back, a friend told me he had been talking about me with his private students.  I assumed it was just another instance of someone offering me up as a cautionary tale, but no.  He …

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Remembering Marty Allen and Bill Kirchner

No, not the comedian and the saxophonist.  Those are two different fellows. Marty Allen was a pianist and dear friend who moved to Austin from the Bay Area some seventeen years ago.  A remarkably gifted musician with a highly original approach, Marty worked with many people, and as a soloist, until he died unexpectedly of …

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