Reggiefest, The Aquarium, Rice Jazz Ensemble and Blue Gnus

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Last week was a wonderfully busy performance week for me, praise God! I started off the week with a recording session. I’ve done several Miss America pageant tracks over the years with Buzzy Smith. This time I was in the studio alone, recording three different trumpet parts. It was fun. Got in there, did the job and got out again. Quick and painless.

Rice University Jazz Ensemble

Larry Slezak invited me to help the band with the lead trumpet book for the Black history month concert the Rice University Jazz Ensemble does every year. The featured performer was Marsha Frazier who I enjoyed hanging out with before the performance. Also on board were Joe Miller on trombone and Stephan Badreau on guitar. The band performed two hours of jazz ensemble music including Hughie Canon’s arrangement of Bill Bailey, Crazy Baby by Barrie Lee Hall Jr., and Blues in Hoss Flat by Frank Foster. I didn’t play a lot but it was nice to be involved.

Blue Gnus

The next morning, after very little sleep, I did a school concert with the Blue Gnus. The Blue Gnus has roots that go all the way back to the early 1990’s as a Young Audiences band called the Cadillac Brass. We’ve been doing these jazz education shows at the schools for over two decades now.

David Caceres Outdoor Gig

Played an outdoor gig with David Caceres on Saturday night that fried my chops for the next three days. It was a little cold and the wind was blowing. I didn’t have any trouble on the gig, but when I got home, my lips felt like leather, they were so chapped. They didn’t feel well again until Tuesday.

The gig was at the Aquarium Restaurant, down town. The location didn’t make a lot of sense since it was too cold for most of the guests to be outside dancing. And yet, there were some dancing diehards.

Reggie Goebel’s Celebration of Life

I ended the week playing lead trumpet with the Houston Jazz Society big band. The performance was one of many concerts presented as part of a celebration of trombonist Reggie Goebel’s life. Reggie was a friend to all the top musicians in Houston and the event was something of a who’s who for local musicians.

It was a sight-reading gig and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to sound confident playing lead over the top of Houston’s top players. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t feel very confident at all. But that is part of the nature of our art. It’s not important how we feel about our own playing.

The best part of being at Reggiefest (as Carol Langford puts it) was hearing all of the wonderful musicians pour out their hearts and souls. It was some of the best live playing I’ve heard in a long time.

Looking Ahead

This week I have time to get caught up on other work. The main gig for the week is a performance with the Texas Brass Ensemble. I’ll let you know how it goes next week.

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