Monday, October 29, 2007

A Tough, But Fun Weekend

On Saturday afternoon, Matthew and I went to the Kentucky game where Mississippi State crushed them. On Sunday afternoon, we went to the Bengals game where Pittsburgh handed them yet another loss. All this was happening as the high payrolled Boston Red Sox swept the small market Colorado Rockies team. It was not a good sports weekend for our teams.

Michelle, Matthew and I decided to forget about sports for a little while and go to "Terror On Tates Creek", a haunted trail in Lexington. The kids had a blast and did a lot of screaming. At one point Matthew was so scared of the monster chasing him with a chain saw that he ran off the trail and hid behind a bush. A minute or so later the management had to coax him out of hiding and to complete the walk. He begged for them to let him stay behind the bush, but they insisted that he continue.

I think Michelle was scared as well, but her screams turned to uncontrolled laughter when she saw Matthew run behind that bush. It was a great time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Looking Forward To The Chuck Mangione Show In Lexington

I am looking forward to the Chuck Mangione show on November 3 at Lexington's Radisson Hotel. I am booked to play a one hour set onstage prior to his concert. It will be fun to meet him again during the sound check and backstage prior to the concert. I have been a Mangione fan for more than 30 years and am honored to have the opportunity of working this date.

I remember the first time I heard Mangione's music. It was in 1975 when my friend Raymond Lohr played the Bellavia album for me. Mangione's mellow flugelhorn and unique compositions were very appealing to my ear. The arrangements were different than any music I had heard before. I remember being impressed with Gerry Niewood (sax and flute) on that album. "Chase The Clouds Away" was also released about that time and it was equally good.

Later Mangione released "Feels So Good", his biggest selling album. His saxophonist then was the fabulous Chris Vadala. I worked out several of Vadala's hot licks and played them with our rock band "Main Street". We would play Mangione's "Feels So Good" and Herb Alpert's "Rise" as warmup tunes. Trumpeter Tom Schwartz played the Mangione and Alpert solos in the band and I'd try to sound as much like Vadala as I could.

In the late 70's it seemed that nearly all the marching bands and drum & bugle corps were playing Mangione's music. "Legend Of The One-Eyed Sailor" and "Land Of Make Believe" were favorites of marching band show innovators of that time.

I remember how impressed I was when I saw my jazz ensemble instructor Vince DiMartino's name listed in the credits of a Mangione album. Vince occasionally performed with Mangione when the music required a full horn section. Seeing Vince's name on the album gave him instant credibility in my eyes. I already knew Vince was really good, but now I knew he must be GREAT.

Just after the "Children Of Sanchez" album was released in 1978, I heard Mangione live. I went to Cincinnati to hear his band in a opera house/concert hall setting. Trumpeter Jeff Tyzik, whom I had met through Vince DiMartino, was in the horn section. Grant Geissman played incredible guitar that night and Charles Meeks sounded great on electric bass. James Bradley, Jr. played drums and played very cleanly and with lots of energy. It was a fine concert performed by an incredibly good group of musicians, but Chris Vadala was clearly my favorite player onstage. His tenor sound was blazing. Mangione sounded wonderful as well.

Yes, the 11/3/07 gig is one that I am really looking forward to working. I'll probably bring with me a Mangione album cover for him to sign. Maybe I'll bring the program from the Cincinnati concert that I have saved for all of these years. Or, I could bring the 5/8/75 or 3/23/78 Down Beat magazines that I saved that feature Mangione on the covers. I'll also have my trusty digital camera with me. And for sure, I'll bring my ears!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun & Busy Weekend

Melody & Matthew At Commonwealth Stadium

We sure had a good time this busy weekend. I worked at Giuseppe's on Friday night, taught music lessons Saturday morning and afternoon, and gigged at Caproni's in the evening. Matthew went to the UK game with Melody on Saturday afternoon while Michelle attended the EKU game with one of her friends. On Sunday, Sharon took Melody and Michelle to their grandparent's farm in Bath County. Matthew and I went to early church, to Malone's for pregame steak, and then to Cincinnati to watch the Bengals game that featured a great fourth quarter come-from-behind win. On Sunday evening, Melody was back at UK and the rest of us returned home where we shared our weekend stories and adventures. Weekends are great.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trip To Keeneland

Matthew, Sharon, and Michelle enjoyed our trip to Keeneland this past Sunday. We enjoyed walking around the beautiful facility and through the horse barn area.

The kids bet on one race, picked Skippy-O to win, it won, and the kids were elated with their winnings. They elected to hold on to their winnings and not bet anymore, so we left the track and went to Joe Bologna's to celebrate.

Melody and some of her UK friends went to Keeneland on Saturday. She stayed for three races, picked three winners, but didn't place any bets due to long betting lines. Perhaps I will seek her handcapping advice the next time we go to the track.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Michelle & Matthew Celebrate 12th Birthday

Last week we celebrated the birthday of our twins Michelle and Matthew. Grandma and Grandpa Hall came to Matthew's football game and brought presents.

Grandpa felt inclined to try on Matthew's shoulder pads. I think he may have scared a few people in the parking lot!

Michelle loved her new scarf. She also loved her new iPod filled with her favorite music. It was Apple investor/friend Chuck Buechel's suggestion that we buy her the iPod. Chuck smiles every time an iPod is purchased.

Matthew was thrilled with his new UK shirt and Playstation game. He also liked the football cards he was able to add to his collection.

Lucy, our Boston Terrier, helped thank Sharon for all of the great presents.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another Fun Gig For Dad & Me

Dad and I played a fun gig at a Richmond farm recently. We set up the bandstand on a farm utility trailer and played for an enthusiastic crowd of about 200 people.

Guests were treated to a ride around the farm on a wagon. Everyone had a great time.

Big shots and influential kingpins were in attendance. Mr. McDonald gave me some hot stock market tips and and later presented Dad a coupon for a free Happy Meal. It doesn't get much better than that.