The past few weeks have passed like a whirlwind. I’ve been so busy that I don’t even know where to start in writing about it. 😐
Of course, as most musicians agree, busy is better than the alternative.
Frontier Jazz Orchestra Recording
My week two weeks ago started off with a series of rehearsals in the recording studio, preparing for the recordings we would do the last week. I am subbing on this project for my good friend, Dennis Dotson, who is currently recovering from a quadruple bypass operation.
Let me tell you about the Jacqui Sutton and her Frontier Jazz Orchestra. Imagine a very accurate voice, someone who sings with such clarity that you wonder if she is operatically trained, being accompanied by Paul Chester (playing various guitars and banjo), Henry Darragh (on keys and trombone), Max Dyer (on cello), Ilya Janos (hand percussion), Anthony Sapp (bass) and yours truly (on trumpet, flugelhorn and piccolo trumpet). How difficult is it to figure out why the band is call the “Frontier Jazz Orchestra?” Jacqui and the band are trailblazing new territories.
Yes, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this project. It is a bittersweet joy because the thought remains in the back of my mind that while I’m sitting there in the studio, Dennis is blazing a different trail. I can honestly say I would have preferred that Dennis was well enough to do the session instead of me. He deserves it. But I don’t mind filling that need while he is in recovery.
The recording for this project is finished and I will certainly let you all know when the CD is to e released. Jacqui’s website can be found at http://www.jacquisutton.com/
I also did another recording session with George Chase and a bunch of other jazz pranksters on Saturday. It was a project for Ben Pokluda. We recorded about half a dozen tunes for his project.
David Caceres at the Opera Ball
We did the Opera Ball again this year with the David Caceres band. This is the one gig each year that David has been hiring a big band. This is something I wish we could do more often. David always hires top players and it’s great performing in that environment. If we had more of these big band gigs, I think we would invest more into the musical selections and equipment for that sort of gig. But with only one or two per year, it’s not really worth it.
Texas Brass at San Jacinto College
The Texas Brass was invited to give a masterclass and recital at the San Jacinto College central campus as part of a Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Council presentation. We began with an open rehearsal where we spent time teaching the students in the audience about rehearsal conventions in brass chamber music. Then we heard and criticized a small number of student ensembles. Just before the final recital, we broke the students into groups according to their instruments. The recital included music from our Sounds of the South CD which is available for sale at the Texas Brass website: http://www.texasbrass.com/
The members of the Texas Brass include Darryl Bayer trumpet, Eddie Lewis trumpet, Brian Thomas horn, Thomas Hulten trombone, Dave Kirk tuba and Stephan Hambright drums.
The Grooves at Reliant Stadium
Saturday night I played my first gig in Relian Stadium, the arena where the Texans play football. The Grooves are a great cover band from Austin, Texas. I’ve written about them before but I always like to say that what I enjoy SO MUCH about this band is the low stage volume. They are proof of what I have been saying for so many years. A band does NOT have to be loud to be exciting. A band does not have to be loud to get people up and dancing. I think, of all the bands I work with, The Grooves have the lowest stage volume of all of them.
Me and my ears would like to thank you very much!!!! He he he…
Coughing Up a Lung
In the midst of all of this wonderful work, I have been trying to rid my lungs of all kinds of gunk that a short cold deposited there. I am still coughing here, right now, as I write this. I tell people that the only time I have bad days on the trumpet is when I am ill. Well, these past couple of weeks have not been my best because of this cold. I am long over the cold, but the gunk in my lungs is keeping me from breathing right. I can play alright but I get tired very quickly. So I’m taking it easy for a while. Trying to rest a lot and get enough sleep.
What’s Coming Up?
This week I am performing with Jacqui and her Frontier Jazz Orchestra at the Houston International Festival. That’s on Saturday at 2:00. I would love to see you there if you get a chance to make it. I also have a commencement ceremony for UTMB and a big band gig on Sunday. Not nearly as busy as the past two weeks, but busy enough.
That’s all for now…..
Oh, one more thing….
I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to all of my students who have been so understanding about the schedule changes these past two weeks. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We don’t often change the schedules, and when we do, we try to do it at least a week in advance. The only difference lately has been that we had to move SO MANY student for the various recording projects (four different recording projects in four weeks). This doesn’t happen very often and we want you to know that we appreciate that you have been willing to work with us on the scheduling.