Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gearing Up For Little League

It's time to start preparing for REAL sports action, that is, little league soccer and baseball. I know the season is getting close when Michelle and Matt want me to take them to the park to "practice for tryouts". They don't practice all offseason, but when tryouts are a week away, it's time to go into SWM, that is, serious workout mode. Being the old man that I am, I was pretty sore yesterday after our multi Sunday afternoon sessions.

My kids always set goals before the season. Their list of goals might include such things as having a winning season, earning a trophy, doing well in the playoffs, and being key players for their team. As a parent and fan, I also set goals for myself. Here is a list of my goals for this little league season:

1) No painting my face the team colors
2) No letting the air out of the car tires belonging to the opposing team's manager
3) No calling "time out" in the middle of a play so I can get a better photo shot of my kid
4) No juiced up bat for Matt
5) No devious use of my air horn
6) No buying the deluxe photo package of my kids that includes the magnets, magazine cover, poster, and wall plaque
7) No two hour tailgating party with my jazz quartet in the parking lot prior to the game
8) No use of powered megaphone to yell at the refs and parents of the opposing team's players
9) No dastardly use of my pea shooter
10) No use of a mirror to reflect bright sunlight into the eyes of the opposing players

Michelle celebrating a victory

Matt hanging around after the game

Sunday, February 26, 2006

My Favorite Cheerleader

My favorite football team is the Cincinnati Bengals. My friend Tina Rigdon Hester is a BenGal cheerleader. Besides her work for the Bengals, she also owns Bodies In Motion (a fitness facility in Maysville), is a professional model, competes in world fitness competitions, and sometimes stops in at Caproni's for dinner. She has won many competitions including Model Universe and Bikini Universe.

Tina And Me

Cheering On The Bengals

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hooked On Fishin' (And The Equipment)

You know you have the fishin' bug when you dvr fishing shows from the Outdoor Channel. When Sharon caught me using the slow motion playback and freeze frame features while viewing a newly recorded angling episode the other night, she could only shake her head and comment, "pitiful, just pitiful". She said it like Jed Clampett used to say it on his old tv show.

What I was doing was closely checking out the boat and fishing accessories that the host of the show was using. He is a professional crappie guide that works on Kentucky Lake. Imagine getting paid to fish! How cool is that? The dude's setup was awesome, and he was catching crappie like crazy. I want to have the most success possible for myself, so I was attentive!

On a piece of paper I listed everything he used on the show that I don't already have in my fishing weaponry. I then found those items on the internet fishing superstore website. All of that equipment is expensive...really expensive. Is all that equipment REALLY necessary? Should I make yet another fishing equipment purchase?

We have to watch our money very closely these days. Melody will be going to college in less that two years. It's easy to go overboard on buying unnecessary fishing equipment, and most of the purchases don't really need to be made. Dad caught tons of fish through the years and always used the same lures and same two poles. He rarely bought anything new...maybe an occasional rooster tail, shyster, plug, or rubber worm. Should I spend my hard earned money on new spider rigging equipment, new poles with the super sensitivity, the latest gps and fish radar, designer jig heads, the hot new colored grubs, and on and on and on?

My packages are due to arrive today via UPS Ground.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New Sons of Champlin CD

"Hip Li'l Dreams" is the Sons of Champlin's first studio album in 28 years. It features original Bay Area Son members Bill Champlin (also a 25 year veteran of supergroup Chicago), Dave Schallock, Geoff Palmer and James Preston. Also appearing are Mic Gillette (former Tower of Power icon hornman), Tal Morris, Tom Saviano (a burning sax player), Carmen Grillo (Tower of Power alum), Toto's Bobby Kimball, and Doobie Brother's Tom Johnston.

As always, Bill Champlin's soulful vocals are incredible. The band is tighter than ever, and thanks to recording industry advancements, this cd is the best sounding one The Sons have ever released.

I am a fan of the Hammond B-3 organ sound and of a powerful horn section. This one has both, topped off by the amazing vocal gymnastics of Bill Champlin.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Piano Recital

The kids played at their piano recital yesterday after church. It is always fun to hear and see them perform for an appreciative audience.




Sunday, February 19, 2006

Tip Jar Success Affected By Weather

A musician needs to be tight with a meteorologist, or at least have quick access to The Weather Channel or a local weather link on the computer. I carry a portable mobile scanner that will connect directly with the National Weather Service so I'll always know the latest forecast. Sudden weather forecast changes are sent to me automatically on my cell phone in the form of a text message. I'm taking a class Tuesday night at the Madison County Emergency Operations Center to become a certified weather spotter. Why such interest in the weather? Weather conditions and tip jar success have a direct correlation!

If it is cold outside, some people do not want to venture out to dine, dance and hear music. This can hurt the results of my jar. On the other hand, if the outdoor temperature is at a moderate level encouraging people to go to the restaurant to eat and hear me play, and the weather changes for the worst while they are there, they are in no hurry to leave the indoor comfort of my gig location. This is a plus for jar results. Same thing for rain...I don't want it raining when folks are coming to the restaurant, but once they get there, LET THE FLOODING BEGIN. People will hang around the restaurant (and my jar) for longer periods waiting for the rain to slack off.

Hot, steamy summer temperatures also cause a nice overstuffing of the jar. Folks will get comfortable in the air conditioned room where I am playing. They are certainly in no hurry to go outside where it feels like a sauna. It is great when a patron comes in from outside declaring "Whew, it's so hot out there that it feels like the Mohave Desert". Seated patrons hearing that will automatically decide, or even subconciously make the decision, to stay around for a longer period of time. Pertaining to jar ramifications, that is a good thing.

Last night was a jar success. I started playing at 6:00. It was starting to get cold, but not so cold that it would keep my fans and customers away. By 8:30, however, it was really getting frigid outside. Inside was the ultimate in comfort...that is, 72 degrees and the aroma of Italian entrees, steaks, and freshly baked bread. Many stayed around until I finished my last set at 10:00. The jar was filled to the top...a spectacle to behold. For a musician, the weather is a big, big deal!

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Concert List

While driving home from the Maynard Ferguson concert the other night, I reminisced about some of the other artists I've been fortunate to hear or perform with over the years. It's was fun compiling the list, as fond memories of these concerts are plentiful.

Concerts I have attended include Sonny Rollins, Woody Herman, Jeff Lorber, Chicago, Stan Kenton, Buddy DeFranco, ZZ Top, Sarah Vaughan, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Phil Woods, Mel Torme, Spyro Gyra, Average White Band, David Benoit, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Sonny Stitt, Oregon, Dave Brubeck, Tower of Power, Oscar Peterson, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, B.B. King, The Grass Roots, Junior Walker, Doc Severinsen, Chuck Mangione, Garth Brooks, Dizzy Gillespie, Chubby Checker, Buddy Rich, The Four Tops, Alabama, Statler Brothers, Arturo Sandoval, Pete Fountain, Count Basie, Robert Cray, J.J. Johnson, Little River Band, Urbie Green, Kenny Rogers, Yusef Lateef, The Platters, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Diamond Rio, Herbie Hancock, The Beach Boys, Branford Marsalis, Frank Zappa, McCoy Tyner, Ernie Ford, Dexter Gordon, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Boots Randolph, George Benson, Oak Ridge Boys, Michael Franks, Blood Sweat & Tears, Crystal Gayle, Weather Report, War, Helen Reddy, Ray Charles, Rob McConnell, The Righteous Brothers, Bob Hope, Joey DeFrancesco, Christopher Cross, Freddie Hubbard, Percy Sledge, Marie Osmond, Dave Valentin, Huey Lewis, Stanley Turrentine, Kiss, Marvin Stamm, Delbert McClinton, Galactic, B.J. Thomas, Al Jarreau, Lee Greenwood, Burt Bacharach, The Kingston Trio, The Spinners, Clark Terry, Donnie Osmond, Kris Kristopherson, Earl Klugh, Bob Segar, Larry Coryell, The Temptations, Tommy Newsome, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Drifters, The Neville Brothers, John Davidson, Three Dog Night, Nnena Freelon, Gary Burton, Roy Clark, Airmen of Note, Gary Morris, Jim Stafford, The Carribean Jazz Project (Paquito D'Rivera, David Samuels, & Andy Narell), and Andy Williams.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Prime Time Fishing Nears

I love to fish farm ponds, creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Sometimes I fish solo, other times I enjoy it with my fishing buddies Michelle, Matt, Kim, Barry, or Merle.

Fish seem to be jazz and baseball fans. In early spring, the largemouth bass bite best when I'm playing Phil Woods or Cannonball on the boombox. Smallmouth hit when Jim Hall plays. In the heat of summer the catfish hit best when the Cincinnati Reds are on my radio. The fall is the best time for crappie, especially if I'm playing some Monk or Art Pepper.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Maynard Ferguson Cincinnati Concert

Maynard is sensational. I have heard him in concert many times over the years, and he always plays with fire and passion. His exciting sound stirs the emotions of his audience. The cat is 77 years old and still blazing those notes in the stratosphere. He and his Big Bop Nouveau Band played a concert last night at Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I took my niece Elizabeth to hear him for her first time. She is a trumpet player in her middle school band and was absolutely amazed when she heard Maynard and his trumpet section. His lead trumpeter Patrick Hession is as good a lead player as you will ever hear. As always, Maynard had time after the concert to talk with friends and fans.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Peabody Hotel Orlando Gig

There are good gigs, and there are GREAT gigs. I worked a great one this past weekend at The Peabody in Orlando for the National Automobile Dealers Association's convention. Sharon and I enjoyed the trip very much.

The Peabody is a gorgeous 4 star hotel equipped with heated pools, jacuzzi, evening entertainment, tennis courts, the works. It is centrally located within minutes of Sea World, Disney World, Orlando Convention Center, the museum, and much more.

I enjoyed meeting many NADA officers and members from many regions of the United States. There were even members from Australia. Several of the dealership owners expressed interest in having me play at their hometown corporate functions. Who knows, maybe I'll have the opportunity to play in Australia!

While in Orlando, the NADA treated Sharon and me to fabulous dining at The Peabody and to a fun time at Disney World.

Sharon and I would have loved to have stayed in Orlando for a few more days, but we needed to get back so I would be ready and rested for the Tuesday Maynard Ferguson concert in Cincinnati.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

All-Time UK Basketball Starting Lineup

My All-Time UK Basketball Starting Lineup

G Louie Dampier
G Kyle Macy
C Dan Issel
F Cliff Hagan
F Kenny Walker

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dixieland South

I love playing dixieland clarinet. One of my favorite gigs is playing with Dixieland South at the Mt. Laurel Festival in Pineville, KY. We have played at this annual Memorial Day weekend festival twenty consecutive years and certainly look forward to this year's extravaganza.

Doyle Rambo, Me, Bob Watkins, Andrew McGrannahan

Quality Time with Kristy Marie Nelson, 2001 Mt. Laurel Queen

Two Of A Kind

Dixieland South is led by Doyle "The Lip" Rambo. Trumpeter Andrew McGrannahan and I are original members of the group. Dirty David Eucker has blown trombone with us for ten years and is loved by the Pineville ladies. Other musicians that have appeared with the band are Rockin' Roddy Tate, Nat Carter, Vegas Bob Watkins, and Big Bill Peavyhouse.

Bob Watkins, Doyle Rambo, Me, Andrew McGrannahan, David Eucker

With Coach Guy Morriss

With Senator Mitch McConnell

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Kingston Trio

Mom loves The Kingston Trio. I remember her playing their records hour after hour on the record changer when I was a kid. A few years ago I was playing in a band that opened a show for The Kingston Trio. It was great to take Mom to the show and introduce her to Bob Shane, George Grove, and Bobby Haworth.

Bob Shane and Mom

We took some pictures with the group and had a good time at the show. A year later I took Mom to hear them again in concert. She was thrilled that I brought the previous photos so that she could have them autographed by the guys.

Bob Shane, George Grove, Me, and Bobby Haworth

Sunday, February 05, 2006

50th Wedding Anniversary For Mom & Dad

Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary today. My sister Joanna, her husband Ed, and their daughters Elizabeth and Rachel attended. I was accompanied by my wife Sharon and kids Melody, Michelle and Matthew. We had a great lunch at the Springs Inn in Lexington. Mom wore the same dress today that she wore on her wedding day. Dad was wearing the same suit he wore at the wedding.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

B.J. Thomas & Billy Joe Royal Show

I learned yesterday that I will perform on the B.J. Thomas and Billy Joe Royal show in Lexington on 10/14/06. I'm particularily looking forward to meeting B.J. Thomas. My wife Sharon is a fan and enjoys his music very much. I took her to hear a show featuring B.J., Kenny Rogers, and The Righteous Brothers on one of our first dates twenty three years ago. Now I'll be able to introduce Mr. Thomas to her.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Great Food And Fun At Giuseppe's

Lexington's best Italian food can be enjoyed at Giuseppe's. I am fortunate to have played music there for many years and had the opportunity of sampling every tasty selection from their menu. My favorite is the tortellini with shrimp, prepared especially for me by Steve Olmstead and Steve Garth. The entire dining experience is exceptional...delicious food, great atmosphere, and lots of fun.

I have met so many wonderful people at Giuseppe's over the years, both patrons and employees. Chuck, Rob, Tami, Jay, Ann, Wayne, Shirley, Bruce, Tom, Katrina, Vince, Kelly, Amy, Jennifer, Jim, Trish, Steve, Chris, Casey, Sharon, Greg, Stephanie, Mike, Ryan, Sherri, Sarah, Ora, Max, Bob, Tammy, John, and many more.