Friday, May 18, 2007

Giuseppe's Is A Great Place To See Old Friends

Last night's gig at Giuseppe's was a lot of fun. Bob and Carol Raef brought friends to hear me play and to enjoy the evening. I met the Raefs eleven years ago when I first played music for them at their home on Herrington Lake. They are wonderful people. Through the years I have played for them and several of their friends and always especially enjoy those gigs.

Janette Raef Joined Me Onstage For A Tune

It was certainly a treat to see Janette Raef again too. I remembered her singing a few songs with me at several of the lakeside gigs and therefore asked her to join me last night for a tune. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chatting With Governor Ernie Fletcher

With Governor Ernie Fletcher

I enjoyed talking with Governor Fletcher yesterday when he visited Winchester. I had not talked with him since I saw him at a gig I played at the Hyatt Regency three years ago. At that time he told me that we share a common interest...we both play the saxophone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mother's Day At Caproni's

Caproni's Beautiful Garden Patio

Dad and I played a wonderful gig at Caproni's on Sunday. Over 500 patrons enjoyed the fabulous grand buffet and our music. The beautiful weather made dining on the garden patio a great experience.

Dad Singing Frank Sinatra For A Packed House

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Madison Central's Mock Trial Team Places 3rd In The American Mock Trial Invitational Tournament

Madison Central's Melody Hall and Emily Dixon

Madison Central's Mock Trial Team competed at New Brunswick, New Jersey, in the American Mock Trial Invitational Tournament. Teams and students from across the nation and from South Korea were there for the competition. The teams worked roles of both prosecution and defense. The program encourages thoughtful consideration of both sides of an issue.

All American Attorneys Melody Hall and Ramsey Morton

Ramsey and Melody were named All American Attorneys at the completion of the tournament. It was a great honor for them and an outstanding experience for everyone involved.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Melody Hall At Mock Trial National Tournament

Melody Hall and the Madison Central High School Mock Trial team flew out of Bluegrass Field yesterday morning heading to Rutgers University to participate in the Mock Trial National Tournament. The group will be competing with other top teams from across the United States trying to win the national championship.

This is the first time Melody has flown, so when she called from the stopover at the Detroit airport, we wondered if she had enjoyed the flight or if she had been nervous while in the air. She explained that she had packed her dress shoes in a carry on bag, but that she was not allowed to carry that bag onto the plane. They tagged it and put it with other luggage. She was so stressed out about the possibility of all bags not arriving in New Jersey that she forgot to be nervous about the flight itself.

The good news is that all luggage (and team) arrived safely and they are preparing for the Thursday opening rounds of competition. Good luck Melody and Central!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gail Wynters To Appear At The Jazz Factory

Jazz vocalist Gail Wynters will be appearing at The Jazz Factory in Louisville on 5/15/07. A swinging trio consisting of Chuck Marohnic on piano, Chris Fitzgerald on bass and Jason Tiemann on drums will back her. They will play two sets, the first starting at 7:30.

The photo above was taken several years ago at Giuseppe's. Gail was in the audience and later joined me on the bandstand for a couple of tunes. She is a fine singer and a delight to hear. "The Kentucky-born singer is a veteran artist with deep roots in the blues and gospel music. Her phrasing is upbeat and swinging, and she has the capacity to intimately illustrate the inner lyrical meaning of a song", writes New York Times jazz critic Don Heckman.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"Mr. Excitement" Tommy Newsom Dies At 78

I'll miss "Mr. Excitement" Tommy Newsom. He passed away from cancer this past weekend.

I met him around 1979 in Shelbyville, Kentucky, at a jazz festival. I was playing in the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble and we were one of the featured groups. We played just before Tommy's set. Unlike the "square" image he portrayed on the Tonight Show, I found him to be a pretty cool and hip cat. That night he played alto sax and clarinet. I particularily enjoyed his dixieland clarinet that evening. Also impressive were his big band charts. He was a terrific arranger.

He also played the tenor sax very well. Check him out here playing a gorgeous version of "Here's That Rainy Day" with Doc Severinsen.

From the Associated Press:

Tommy Newsom, the former backup bandleader on The Tonight Show whose "Mr. Excitement" nickname was a running joke for Johnny Carson, has died. He was 78.

Newsom died of cancer at his Portsmouth home Saturday, according to his nephew, Jim Newsom.

Newsom, who played saxophone, joined The Tonight Show in 1962 and rose from band member to assistant music director. He retired along with Carson in 1992.

The Tonight Show received five Emmy awards during Newsom's years on the show.

"I hope he will be remembered as a gifted musician," Jim Newsom said Monday in a telephone interview. "I'm sure he will be remembered for his wit and deadpan humor on 'The Tonight Show.' And to some of us of a certain age, he will always be remembered as Mr. Excitement."

That was the nickname Carson gave Newsom to make light of his low-key personality and drab brown and blue suits — a sharp contrast to the flashy style of bandleader Doc Severinsen.

"He became a running character in Carson's monologue," Jim Newsom said. "Tommy enjoyed that."

Not long after the Carson era ended in 1992, Newsom remarked that his image as an ordinary guy was "fairly accurate — compared to Rambo."

"I realize things have to end sometime," Newsom said at the time. "I felt regrets at it ending and there was a sense of relief in a way."

Along with his work on The Tonight Show, Newsom arranged and composed music for Skitch Henderson, Woody Herman, Kenny Rogers, John Denver and other performers.