I’m just popping in while I sit at a coffee place waiting to meet with some students at HSPVA and decided to spend a little time talking about my week last week. I was very busy but it was wonderful to get so much done and to play so much good music.
The week began with a trip to HSPVA where I am working with the Jazz combo as part of an educational program funded by the Monk Institute. Today will be my last session with the kids for that program. I am working with the students on higher performance ideals simply because I feel it would be a waste of time talking to them about their personal performance. They are all on the right track as individuals and the time we spend talking about scales, licks and stuff like that would be a waste of a good opportunity.
So I’ve been talking to them about inside playing vs. outside playing, about the seven compositional textures, about structure vs. freedom and how to implement a variety of different levels of structure. It has been going very well. What I enjoy most about doing that kind of work with the students is that they tend to perform better immediately. These are not concepts that take time to “work out” and we see results right there in the classroom.
Midland with Jacqui Sutton
Later in the week I did a gig in Midland with Jacqui Sutton. I feel like the gig went very well. I am becoming more comfortable with the eclectic mix of instruments and styles that she has assembled for her Frontier Jazz Orchestra.
We had two sets where we played standards without Jacqui. It was fun to play standards with Paul Chester again. The two of us have what I feel to be complimentary improv styles. So that was nice. Also in the band was Anthony Sapp, who I work often with in David Caceres’ band. Then there was Ilya Janos on hand percussion (which I really like as an alternative to drum set) , and Patrick Moore on cello.
The last two sets of the evening were with Jacqui, performing tunes from her wonderful recordings. Even though we were officially background music for the event, the crowd expressed great appreciation for the music.
Christ by South East
Back in Houston over the weekend I had the opportunity to work with my band at a Christian music festival. Ha! I wasn’t sure how well we would be received when I heard the band before us, which was more of a heavy metal Christian group. They were a very tight band, and I enjoyed listening to them, but I questioned if people would enjoy our music after hearing such intensity.
Well, they loved it!
For this performance we had Anibal Ambert on bass and Henry Darragh on keys. We did a few of my original tunes and then some arrangements I’ve written of popular Christian music. It was all very well received.
After the festival, I had a wedding in the woodlands with The Grooves, a band from Austin that I’ve been working with for several years now.
Best of Texas Festival
To close the weekend I played a festival with three Houston music legends, Archie Bell, Roy Head and Johnny Lee. This was part of a fund raising benefit for the Champions Kids Camp, a camp for traumatized kids who have either experienced physical trauma themselves or have had family members die. Here is a picture with me, Johnny Gonzales on sax, Bill Nash, A. V. Middlestedt, Sharon Smith and Archie Bell.
I’m looking forward to my gigs this week with Dena Blue and David Caceres. One of the Caceres gigs is a wedding for Ed Lowe’s daughter, so I am very much looking forward to that.
Okay, that’s all for now. I have been writing other posts, but there isn’t much time to finish and proof them. So it may be a while before I get some of those up.