Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bass Solos

I received the following email from a musician friend and thought it was pretty funny:

After years of hiding the fact that the love is gone, the last child
moved out of the house and Mom and Dad announced they are getting a divorce.

The kids are distraught and hired a marriage counselor as a last resort at keeping the parents together. The counselor works for hours, tries all of his methods, but the couple still won't even talk to each other.

Finally, the counselor goes over to a closet, brings out a beautiful upright bass, and begins to play. After a few moments, the couple starts talking. They discover that they're not actually that far apart and decide to give their marriage another try.

The kids are amazed and ask the counselor how he managed to do it. He replies, "I've never seen anyone who wouldn't talk during a bass solo."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Duo Gig On The Marriott Griffin Gate Mansion Patio

Keyboardist Kevin Moreland and I played a hot gig on the patio at the Marriott Griffin Gate Mansion last night. We played jazz during dinner. Later we staged a mock Grammy Award event where gag awards were given to members of the audience. Our job was to play appropriate theme music to each award being given. It was fun and a challenge to come up with music to play on the spot.

After the awards ceremony it was time to party. Kevin and I played some party songs and mixed in some tracks from Kevin's DJ collection. Everyone had a great time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tenor Sax Great Johnny Griffin (1928-2008)

Jazz great Johnny Griffin died Saturday at his home in France. He was 80. Nicknamed "Little Giant" for the big sound he produced on his tenor sax, Griffin displayed awesome speed and technique when he played. Click here to hear and see a burning Griffin solo.

I've pulled out the Griffin vinyl albums from my collection and am in the process of putting them on cds so I can listen to them in my van. I'll surely miss Little Giant. He always heated things up when he played.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ashley Short-Patrick Sawyer Wedding & Reception

I played saxophone on Saturday at the wedding ceremony and reception for Ashley Short and Patrick Sawyer. The wedding was held at the beautiful Danforth Chapel at Berea College. It was a wonderful ceremony for two great people.

A Good Time Was Had By All

The reception that followed was a lot of fun. Everyone had a blast including Kenneth & Janice Conrad, Michael & Gaye Short, Harold & Dorothy Sawyer, Erin Leach, Micha Short, Alison Fraley, Bryan Sawyer, Gary Christensen, Shawn Stanley, Marty Frazer, Jennifer Losapio, Bridget Mays, Lauren Van Winkle, Tyler Short, and Edith Smith.

Monday, July 14, 2008

AFM Union Local 554-635 Fish Fry

I look forward each year to attending the union fish fry. It is a great time to enjoy good food and fellowship with members of The American Federation of Musicians Union, Local 554-635.

I remember one year, it must have been nearly thirty years ago, when the event was held at Jacobson Park in Lexington. I remember WVLK helicopter traffic reporter Captain Tag Veal, who was a drummer and member of our local, landing his helicopter in the park next to our shelter. The chopper kicked up a lot of dust and resulted in many of us having to secure and cover our plates. That year we were also treated to live music by local jazz legend Duke Madison. I remember hearing him play a burning rendition of "On Green Dolphin Street" on his alto sax that day.

For the past twenty five years or so the annual event has been held at the Shrine Temple in Lexington. Yesterday's gathering was as good as ever. It was great talking with Joel Lovan, Ellis Harkleroad, Dad, Harold Sherman, Angie Ortega, Andrew McGrannahan, Joe McGrannahan, Drew McGrannahan, Reid Harrod, Ronnie Salmons, Merilee Elliot, David Elliot, Bill McGinnis, Ken Schubert, Dave Anderson, Freddy Moore, Forrest Dean, and many others. We enjoyed fish, roast beef, ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, and much more.

During conversation with Ellis, he mentioned gigs he had played with the late Dave Parry. Mr. Parry was a longtime performer on June Rawlings' local television show. I recall how much fun I had during my piano lessons with the local celebrity. I never became much of a piano player, but I sure enjoyed hearing him play at my lessons. When I would go into a lesson less than prepared, I would ask him if he knew a particular song. He would then spend half the lesson playing that song for me and then talking about it. I don't think I ever stumped him, as he must have known just about every song ever written!

I don't particularily enjoy paying the union dues each year, but it is certainly a lot of fun going to the fish fry each July. Perhaps I can put in a motion at the next union meeting that we add a barbeque event later in the year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo Showing A Daughter's Adoration For Her Mom

Last night at my gig at Giuseppe's Ristorante Italiano, I took this picture of Casey and Jessica. I love Casey's smile and the obvious adoration she shows for her mom in this photograph. It was great seeing them and Chuck. I'm looking forward to the next time they visit Giuseppe's.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Woody's Restaurant Closed

It saddened me to read that Woody's Restaurant has closed. Over the years Dad and I have played for several private parties at the establishment. We often played Christmas parties where they had us set up our bandstand next to the front door. We would feel the cold air as people opened that door and entered the restaurant. I am certain Dad and I will miss complaining about it this December.

From the 7/9/08 online edition of The Richmond Register:

Woody’s is closed

By Bill Robinson
Register News Writer

A downtown Richmond restaurant is closed, and the landlords have obtained a restraining order to prevent mortgaged property from being removed from the premises.

On Tuesday, “No Trespassing” and “For Rent” signs were attached to the front door of Woody’s restaurant in the Glyndon Hotel at the corner of Main and Third streets.

Landlords Anne S. Baker and Susan Martin filed suit July 2 in Madison Circuit Court against restaurateur Andrew Jones alleging he had defaulted on lease payments.

They also obtained a restraining order, issued by Judge Julia Hylton Adams, that prevents Jones, his agents employees or family members from coming within 500 feet of the plaintiffs or the restaurant.

According to the suit, the landlords have a lien against restaurant equipment and fixtures, and restaurant employees allegedly were observed removing items from the premises.

The suit claims Jones’ $3,500 check to pay the restaurant’s May rent was returned for insufficient funds. The June rent was paid with a cashier’s check on June 20, according to the suit, but on June 27, Jones requested that his July and August rent be deferred.

Court documents also include a letter to Jones refusing to defer the rent and giving him 10 days to “cure his default” under terms of the lease. This was “one of several notices” regarding violation of lease terms, according to the suit.

When called to the premises on July 1 regarding a “RIP Woody’s” and other signs painted on the restaurant’s front window, Jones appeared “intoxicated and belligerent, the suit claims.

An affidavit filed by Martin in support of the restraining order claims that Jones had “verbally assaulted” her in the past and in 2006 devalued the building by removing windows from the restaurant without “making it right” as promised.

An answering machine message left Tuesday afternoon for Martin, a Richmond attorney whose office is in the Glyndon Hotel, was not returned before press time.

Jones, who is not listed in the Richmond phone directory, could not be reached for comment.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday Afternoon At The Old Ball Orchard

For years I remember hearing Reds radio broadcaster Joe Nuxhall say "There's nothing like spending a Sunday afternoon at the old ball orchard". Since Sharon, Melody, and Michelle had plans to do other things, Matthew and I decided to go to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati to watch the Reds battle the Washington Nationals. The Reds were on a roll and had won three games in a row. We were excited to learn that all star righty Edinson Volquez was scheduled to pitch.

We stopped at the Skyline Chili drive thru on the Kentucky side of the river and ate while sitting on a park bench facing the river and stadium. At the game we saw Adam Dunn slam a monster home run into the Nationals' bullpen and then enjoyed the home run fireworks. The Reds held their lead in the ninth inning with closer Francisco Cordero firing up 97 mph fastballs to pick up another save and the Reds fourth win in a row.

On the way out of the stadium we walked past the "street musicians" that play their instruments hoping for tips to be tossed into their open instrument cases or hats. We attend a half dozen or so games each year and it seems that the same guys are playing for tips after every game. Unfortunately I don't think that they are improving or getting any better. I heard one Reds fan coming from the game say "Take this five dollars and quit making that racket for a minute or two until I get out of hearing range". That was probably what a lot of fans were thinking but wouldn't say.

On the way home Matthew and I stopped at LaRosa's Pizzeria in Florence for a Buddy's Favorite Topping pizza. It was great, so we boxed a small slice to bring home for the rest of the family to share.

Skyline Chili, Cincinnati Reds baseball, and LaRosa's Pizza with family. That makes for a pretty outstanding day. Joe Nuxhall was right!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Community Park Concerts

When I was sixteen years old Dad recommended that I join the American Federation of Musicians union so that I could work the Lexington park concerts and perform with professional musicians. The Lexington Concert Band would play at places such as Woodland Park, Jacobson Park, Southland Park, and Ecton Park during the summer. We also played on Independence Day each year at the downtown Lexington holiday festivities. Dad, Stanley Fizer, Joe Friedman, Richard Borchardt, and Pete Conley would take turns directing the band. More recently Kevin Dennison directed the group. Over the past four or five years the band has been directed by Shaun Owens.

Tuesday night the band played at Ecton Park for the annual Jazz & Big Band Series. Dad played trombone and I played clarinet. During the break Dad told me that he had played these concerts every summer since 1958. I have played the park concerts each summer since 1974.

These free concerts (funded by the American Federation of Musicians Trust Fund and local sponsors) are not only a good thing for the community, but also for the musicians. It is nice to see generations of families enjoying the concerts together. It is also great to hear Dad and some of the other veteran musicians reminisce about the history of the concerts and to catch up on current music happenings. Most of the musicians in this group also work in other professions as well. Making up the group are teachers, lawyers, business owners, college students, architects, engineers, and others.

Kevin Dennison & Clyde Fanuff Have A Laugh

Among the many fine musicians playing the concert last were Andrew McGrannahan, Drew McGrannahan, Angie Ortega, Big Bill McGinnis, Harold Sherman, David Webster, Ellis Harkleroad, Dwana Eberlein, Joel Lovan, Doyle "The Lip" Rambo, Dan Brock, and Ken Schubert. Tops In Lexington was there and put together a photo slide show of some of the audience and musicians.

I am certainly looking forward to playing our next gig. We will play patriotic songs at the Lexington Transit Center at 11:00 on Independence Day just before the big parade. Dad and I enjoy keeping that tradition.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Matthew Hall Named To Richmond All Star Team

Matthew was named a 2008 Richmond National Little League All Star. The baseball team competed in the District 3 Tournament in Harrodsburg.

Matthew With Grandma & Grandpa

Matthew played catcher and right field during the tournament. He was involved in one of the best plays of the weekend. While Matthew played catcher, the opposing team with runners on first and third sent the runner at first toward second base on a steal attempt. They figured that Matthew probably wouldn't try to throw the runner out at second because the runner at third base would score on the play. Instead of allowing the runner to take second base, Matthew threw a perfect strike to the charging shortstop, who then threw the ball back to Matthew as the runner on third tried to score. The runner from third tried to slide across home plate, but Matthew blocked the plate and tagged the runner out. It was a beautful play and the Richmond team was applauded by the entire crowd.