Friday, March 30, 2007

NASCAR Trip To Bristol

Last weekend Barry and I took a road trip to Tennessee to watch a little NASCAR action. There is nothing quite like the awesome sound and power of those cars going around the racetrack at Bristol.

We NASCAR Fans Love Our Country

We had a scanner and were able to listen to the drivers communicate with their spotters and pit crew during the race. We came away from the race as fans of "any driver except Jeff Gordon" due to Gordon's constant whining on the radio and his seemingly overly cautious driving technique.

In addition to enjoying the race, it was certainly an interesting experience observing the crowd. Barry said that he felt a little guilty that he had spent money on dental work a few days earlier, as he observed that many of the fans were not familiar with good dental hygiene. To fit in with the crowd better, I do think he should have worn a ball cap of some kind, as he was one a very few people there that didn't wear one. He would also blend in well wearing a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tank top and having a pinch of Copenhagen between his cheek and gum.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Playing For President Clinton

Playing As President Clinton Greeted Guests

I played for President Clinton today. He was speaking at a fundraiser for Hillary's campaign. I brought my oldest daughter Melody to the gig and introduced her to many influential political people including Governor Martha Layne Collins, Lt. Governor Steve Henry, Attorney General Greg Stumbo, Governor John Y. Brown, Terry McBrayer, Jerry Lundergan, Governor Paul Patton, and of course, President William Jefferson Clinton.

Melody Hall And President Bill Clinton

It was very cool to be able to bring my daughter to a function such as this. She will be attending UK this fall to study political science and eventually will go through law school. We certainly enjoyed our experience today.

With The President

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wynton Marsalis/Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra

Trumpet Legend Wynton Marsalis & Me

What a thrill it was to meet the great Wynton Marsalis. Many people believe him to be the best all around trumpet player to ever play the horn. The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Marsalis, appeared in concert tonight at the Kentucky Center For The Arts in Louisville. Prior to the concert Kim Harrod and I met Wynton and listened to the orchestra as we stood onstage with them in Whitney Hall during a short rehearsal.

The concert was fantastic. Every player in the group was an outstanding soloist as well as being a great section player. Lead alto man Sherman Irby started the concert out right on his feature "On The Sunny Side Of The Street". The group played well known classics including "My Favorite Things", "All of Me", "Rhapsody In Blue", "Sweet Georgia Brown", and many others. The trumpet section included rising star Marcus Printup. He played a hot solo on W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" and later on Dizzy Gillespie's "Night In Tunisia". Trumpeter Ryan Kisor shined on "I Can't Get Started". Scottish baritone saxman Joe Temperley was featured several times during the concert and played with a very sweet tone and lots of taste. They played outstanding arrangements by Oliver Nelson, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Wynton sounded great on "Autumn Leaves" and later stole the show when he came out for the encore and played the most burning version of "Cherokee" that I've ever heard. The tempo was blazing and he showed off technique, style, taste, and innovative improvisation that only he can execute on trumpet. I still can't believe what I heard. It was simply incredible.

Whitney Hall was packed and everyone there left happy and amazed by the musicianship they had witnessed. I saw musician friends Will Renshaw (guitar) and Dick Domeck (piano) in the crowd and know they enjoyed the concert as well.

After the concert Kim and I were invited as special guests to the hospitality room to meet with Wynton once again and with other orchestra members. Wynton thanked us for coming and autographed a gorgeous photo for each of us. In addition to being an amazingly gifted musician, he is a beautiful cat and deserves all the success that has come to him. He is a class act.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Matthew & Josh On Bengals Website

My son Matthew and his friend Josh Brinegar love the Cincinnati Bengals. I frequently take them to team practice sessions. The Bengals have posted a photo and caption featuring Matthew and Josh on the official Bengals website. Click here to view it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Playing For President Bill Clinton

I am booked to play at a political event later this month where former President Bill Clinton is a scheduled guest. My instructions are to bring an extra saxophone and sunglasses so that he can join me onstage to play some blues. I am certainly looking forward to meeting and playing music with him on my bandstand. Hopefully my photographer will snap some good photos of Prez and Saxman onstage together. Stay tuned for blog photos and perhaps an audio clip.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I found the following article by Estes Thompson, a writer with the Associated Press, in the news today. This would be a popular item for most NASCAR fans.
When John Cornwell graduated from Duke University last year, he landed a job as software engineer in Atlanta but soon found himself longing for his college lifestyle. So the engineering graduate built himself a reminder of life on campus: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control.

"I conceived it right after I got out," said Cornwell, a May 2006 graduate from Huntington, N.Y. "I missed the college scene. It embodies the college spirit that I didn't want to let go of."

It took the 22-year-old Cornwell about 150 hours and $400 in parts to modify a mini-fridge common to many college dorm rooms into the beer-tossing contraption, which can launch 10 cans of beer from its magazine before needing a reload.

With a click of the remote, fashioned from a car's keyless entry device, a small elevator inside the refrigerator lifts a beer can through a hole and loads it into the fridge's catapult arm. A second click fires the device, tossing the beer up to 20 feet — "far enough to get to the couch," he said.

Is there a foam explosion when the can is opened? Not if the recipient uses "soft hands" to cradle the can when caught, Cornwell said.

In developing his beer catapult, Cornwell said he dented a few walls and came close to accidentally throwing a can through his television. He's since fine-tuned the machine to land a beer where he usually sits at home, on what he called "a right-angle couch system."

For now, the machine throws only cans, although Cornwell has thought about making a version that can throw a bottle. The most beer he has run through the machine was at a party, when he launched a couple of 24-can cases.

"I did launch a lot watching the Super Bowl," he said. "My friends are the reason I built it. I told them about the idea and hyped it so much and I had to go through with it."

A video featuring the device is a hit on the Internet, where more than 600,000 people have watched it at, earning Cornwell more than $3,000 from the Web site.

Cornwell said he has talked to a brewing company about the machine, but right now only one exists. Asked if he might start building some for sale, he said: "I'm keeping that option open, depending on interest."

When Cornwell was a student at Duke — an elite, private university in Durham — he participated in the engineering school's robotic basketball contests, said mechanical engineering Professor Bob Kielb. He said students tried to build a robot that could retrieve a pingpong ball and toss it into a small hoop.

"He always did well in it," Kielb said. "He came up with completely unique ideas."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Tell Me It's Not So!

Michelle said it first. Matthew agreed. Melody emphatically stated it as fact. Then Sharon confirmed it. They all have explained to me that I am now a redneck! I think I have always known of that possibility, but now others are actually pointing it out to me. They tell me the reason they have labeled me a redneck is because...well...yes, it's true...I have turned into a NASCAR fan! Oh no!

The first race I ever watched in its entirety was this year's Daytona 500. It was held several weeks ago. I couldn't believe how exciting it was. Since then I haven't missed a race. I even dvr ESPN's "NASCAR Now" daily show each night so that I can watch it when I get home after my music gigs. To top it all off, I ordered tickets to see them race at Bristol later this month! I'm almost embarrassed about it.

Barry, a Winchester redneck friend who is going to the race with me, has secured a scanner radio that supports two sets of headphones, two microphones, and the frequencies to hear the race communications between the drivers and their pit teams. Both of us are ham radio operators, which makes us HIGH TECH rednecks!

In the future I don't plan to wear a Dale Earnhardt ball cap, I won't have a #3 decal on my vehicle, I won't be drinking PBRs, and I won't watch Dukes of Hazzard or Hee Haw reruns. Perhaps I'm not a redneck after all! I feel much better now.

Prior to the football season (Bengals come before NASCAR) I'll be tuning in to NASCAR every Sunday afternoon. That will be a lot of time to spend inside in front of a television set. Hey, I think satellite radio carries all the racing action, so maybe I can listen to some of the races while I'm out fishin' from my bass boat down at the creek and eatin' beef jerky and beanie weanie.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Giuseppe's Is A Great Place To Relax And Unwind

I like to observe the customers as I play my sax at Giuseppe's. Many of our patrons come to relax and unwind over a great dinner. They find Giuseppe's to be a great place to get away from the problems and pressures of the day. I've been told by some of them that a nice evening at Giuseppe's helps to make the tough work days ahead a little easier and more successful.

Last night Coach Tubby Smith and his wife Donna came to the restaurant, seemed to enjoy themselves, and left with smiles on their faces. Watch out for the Wildcats in the tournament. Under Coach Smith's leadership, perhaps they will put it all together and make a good run during March Madness. Go Cats!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wynton Marsalis To Play In Louisville

Kim Harrod and I are looking forward to hearing Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra when they play a concert at Kentucky Center For The Arts in Louisville on Sunday, March 18, 2007. This will be the first time for me to hear him live and I am excited about it. Click here to hear and see Wynton blowing a hot solo.