Tag Archives: Austin TX

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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Funny How Time Slips Away

In 1975 (a mere 37 years ago, but who’s counting), I was an undergraduate in the UT School of Communications, which had recently relocated to a monolithic rust-colored building at the corner of 26th and Guadalupe, where it remains today.  And considering the education I received there, rust is a particularly appropriate color choice. At …

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Herding Cats for Fun, Not So Much Profit

  Best thing about being leader of a professional jazz ensemble: the players are all accomplished enough to make their own musical decisions. Worst thing about being the leader of a professional jazz ensemble:  same thing. But if you’re an easygoing guy like me <hey, quitcher laughing over there>, that’s not the worst thing in …

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The Future Is Here! (and it needs to get paid before it leaves)

Yesterday I attended an invite-only roundtable discussion on cultural economic development, featuring author and consultant Louise Stevens.  It was part of the ongoing dialogue on the arts in Austin hosted by the city’s Cultural Arts Division. Ms. Stevens is from out of state, but has been studying the arts scene in Austin and other cities …

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Babes in Bopsiland

One of the things I appreciate about the AJW project is how it encourages the presentation of types of music that may be outside my comfort zone as a player. I mean, we have done Monk, Gershwin, Jobim, Ellington, Rahsaan, etc. Now we’re doing Miles, which is to say four distinct musical movements as we …

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I won’t dance…

Last week, I was in a classroom full of fourth graders playing sax and talking about jazz and Miles Davis, when a young man raised his hand and asked: “Do you have any power moves?” I paused for a moment, which gave him a chance to elaborate: “you know, like sliding across the stage on …

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Serendipity & Second Chances

The path leading me to the life of a jazz musician was not without its twists. I always loved music, and began playing in middle school.  But I dropped out of band in high school because I hated to march and didn’t see the point of playing yet another Percy Grainger air for wind ensemble.  …

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Zappa Preys Zappa

Last night was a great musical treat in our fair city–the return of Return to Forever.  This edition was not the original edition that appeared at the Paramount Theater two years ago, but an all-star lineup nonetheless–the nucleus of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White were joined by Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Gambale in …

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Working musician? Live in Austin? Join Local 433!

Every year on Labor Day, I reflect on what it means to belong to a labor union. Really, I think about it a lot more often than that.  I think about it every time I read another headline about workers being laid off, about factories shutting down, about jobs being outsourced overseas.  I think about …

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To Shtick or Not To Shtick

Isn’t that always the question? I could lie and say that the reason we do comedy bits, costumes, signs, singalongs, whatever, in our shows–is solely because we want to make jazz performance kid-friendly.  That is one reason, no doubt.  But the truth is–I enjoy it too. There, I said it.  I’m renouncing the Marsalis Oath …

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