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Blog 00001 – March 25, 2008 – 2:15 PM 
I need to contact DJ Russ Einbinder to see if we can bundle Dan Epstein's Wedding Cocktail Hour combo with Russ's services as DJ at main receptions.

Blog 00002 - March 30, 2008 - 10:21 PM -
What a great jam session today.  So much playing,  So much GOOD playing.  And even BETTER networking.  Ken Lipman with Steve Ryden and Aaron Moment.  Ken, good luck with your band.  I hope you can get trombonist Steve Johnson in the fold. 

Bassist Aaron Moment was formidable this afternoon, switching back and forth on string bass and electric bass.  His inventiveness and enthusiam to explore musically adds a special dimension to any jam session or gig.

It was great to have bassists Andrew Lohse and Tom Mullaney show up.  Andrew's playing, has, if anything, gotten more solid over the year I've known him.  Tom, like Aaron, has that special flair with making an electric bass work well in a jazz setting.  A special thanks is owed to Tom for reminding me to call the assemblage to play "Little Sunflower".  We kicked into action and made this tune special.  It marks a first that I played 'electric' piano.  It felt so right to give a Fusion feel to this tune.

Another surprise was the first PJ's appearance of master drummer Bill Noren, and another unexpected drop-in was another master drummer, Lou Petto.  Guys, you are welcome anytime!
Rich Schultz, normally a country-western drummer, more than held his own in a jazz setting on the numbers he sat in on today.

And now for the reeds.  Vincent Troyani, whose solo work improves noticeably and markedly week by week.  At school, he's participating in an ensemble led by noted Latin Jazz vibraphonist Chico Mendoza.  Vinnie, thanks for introducing Bobby Timmons' "Dat Dere" today.  It was our first reading of that tune as an ensemble and your lead playing and soloing was extraordinary!

Steve Ryden, long-time tenor sax participant with our Wednesday jam sessions at Rhythms made a rare foray today to PJ's.  Steve's playing was robust and assured, as always.

We also welcome new jazz student, saxist Linda Persuance.  Linda is just beginning her journey from being a jazz listener to a jazz performer.  Here's hoping that the information we gave you will unlock the knowledge you're seeking about mastering America's Classical Music, Jazz.  

Ken Lipman, on tenor sax and flute, kicks the the PJ's jam sessions up to new levels with his remarkable melodic phrasings.  Ken's flute playing adds such class to the proceedings!  I only wish that trumpeter Stan Harrison had made it to PJ's today to do some 'flute and mute' blending like he did with you several weeks back.

Our young alto sax mayven, David Kolchmeyer, set the pace with his strong bebop and hard bop flavored playing.  There is a lot of Charlie Parker in Dave's playing.  And that's only where things begin with him. 

It's a wondrous thing to hear sax players of different generations blending together and trading ideas, keeping pace with each other.  Jazz is being passed down and up generation to generation here at PJ's.

Bob Balogh, our house guitarist was up to his usual impeccable high level.  I personally enjoy embedding the special listening and interplay between Bob I, born of our duo gigs, within the larger ensemble stting.

Kurt Disney, along with Aaron Moment is what I call my 'Second Generation' band.  It has only been two months since they both came aboard for the Monday and Tuesday evening gigs at Home Town Buffet.  Today we all hear Kurt's chops stretch and grow bigger and more formidable.  Keep up the good work, Kurt.

And a nod to our vocalists today, Brad Hammond, Debbie Santucci and Ed Glospie.  Debbie disinguished herself particularly, giving a "Billie Holliday" treatment to "Lover, Come Back To Me."

Guys, you need to stand up and take a bow to each other.  The interplay, listening, tasteful comping and ensemble cohesion, along with constant expansion of our repertoire is turning the heads of more and more audiences and creating jazz fans out of people who didn't give the music a second thought, and all right here in Central New Jersey!  

Blog 03 - May 18, 2008 - 9:30 AM -
It's good to have Tom Pylant recovering and getting back to the Wednesday night jam sessions.
We also have to thank bassists Aaron Moment, Andrew Lohse, Max Jacob and Ed Aponte for helping 'plug the leaks' caused by Toms absence.  We will continue to rotate duties but take some of the pressure off the guys who have been doing the substitutions.

We had a great gig with James Stowe at Gustos on Friday.  We were making up arrangements on the spot and meshed well as an ensemble.  Kudoes to our new drummer, Rich Tyler!

I have a few other things to share - one is humorous.  We've all met these types at the jam sessions.  I'm happy to say that I feel that the regulars have grown well beyond them.

This was E-mailed to me by two people simultaneously this weekend, Don Robertson and Fred Jesselsohn.  It's to laugh,

Jazz Performer Stereotypes

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the members of tonight's band.(Anybody we know?)

( Actually, in this jam session, Noooooooooo! )

On piano____________. But first a few words about pianists in general, they are intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and composition in college. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually bald. They should have big hands, but often don't. They were social rejects as adolescents. They go home after the gig and play with toy soldiers. Pianists have a special love-hate relationship with singers. If you talk to the piano player during a break, he will condescend.

On bass we have _____________. Bassists are not terribly smart. The best bassists come to terms with their limitations by playing simple lines and rarely soloing. During the better musical moments, a bassist will pull his strings hard and grunt like an animal. Bass players are built big, with paws for hands, and they are always bent over awkwardly. If you talk to the bassist during a break, you will not be able to tell whether or not he's listening.

On drums____________. Drummers are radical. Specific personalities vary, but are always extreme. A drummer might be the funniest person in the world, or the most psychotic, or the smelliest. Drummers are uneasy because of the many jokes about them, most of which stem from the fact that they aren't really musicians. Pianists are particularly successful at making drummers feel bad. Most drummers are highly excitable; when excited, they play louder. If you decide to talk to the drummer during a break, always be careful not to sneak up on him.

On saxophone______________. Saxophonists think they are the most important players on stage. Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They know all the Coltrane and Bird licks but have their own sound, a mixture of Coltrane and Bird. They take exceptionally long solos, which reach a peak half way through and then just don't stop. They practice quietly but audibly while other people are trying to play. They are obsessed. Saxophonists sleep with their instruments, forget to shower, and are mangy. If you talk to a saxophonist during a break, you will hear a lot of excuses about his reeds.

On trumpet_______________. Trumpet players are image-conscious and walk with a swagger. They are often former college linebackers. Trumpet players are very attractive to women, despite the strange indentation on their lips. Many of them sing; misguided critics then compare them to either Louis Armstrong or Chet Baker depending whether they're black or white. Arrive at the session early, and you may get to witness the special trumpet game. The rules are: play as loud and as high as possible. The winner is the one who plays loudest and highest. If you talk to a trumpet player during a break, he might confess that his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, the merciless god of loud-high trumpeting.

On guitar_________________. Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep inside they want to be rock stars, but they're old and overweight. In protest, they wear their hair long, prowl for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud. Guitarists hate piano players because they can hit ten notes at once, but guitarists make up for it by playing as fast as they can. The more a guitarist drinks, the higher he turns his amp. Then the drummer starts to play harder, and the trumpeter dips into his loud/high arsenal. Suddenly, the saxophonist's universe crumbles, because he is no longer the most important player on stage. He packs up his horn, nicks his best reed in haste, and storms out of the room. The pianist struggles to suppress a laugh. If you talk to a guitarist during the break he'll ask intimate questions about your 14-year-old sister.

Our feature vocalist is the lovely _____________. Vocalists are whimsical creations of the all-powerful jazz gods. They are placed in sessions to test musicians' capacity for suffering. They are not of the jazz world, but enter it surreptitiously. Example: A young woman is playing minor roles in college musical theater. One day, a misguided campus newspaper critic describes her singing as '...jazzy.'Voila! A star is born! Quickly she learns 'My Funny Valentine,' 'Summertime,' and 'Route 66.' Her training complete, she embarks on a campaign of musical terrorism. Musicians flee from the bandstand as she approaches. Those who must remain feel the full fury of the jazz universe. The vocalist will try to seduce you--and the rest of the audience--by making eye contact, acknowledging your presence, even talking to you between tunes. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! Look away, make your distaste obvious. Otherwise the musicians will avoid you during their breaks. Incidentally, if you talk to a vocalist during a bre ak, she will introduce you to her 'manager.'

On trombone___________________. The trombone is known for its pleading, voice-like quality. 'Listen,' it seems to say in the male tenor range, 'Why won't anybody hire me for a gig?' Trombonists like to play fast, because their notes become indistinguishable and thus immune to criticism. Most trombonists played trumpet in their early years, then decided they didn't want to walk around with a strange indentation on their lips. Now they hate trumpet players, who somehow get all the women despite this disfigurement. Trombonists are usually tall and lean, with forlorn faces. They don't eat much. They have to be very friendly, because nobody really needs a trombonist. Talk to a trombonist during a break and he'll ask you for a gig, try to sell you insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.


Now the serious side - I found 3 remarkable YouTube clips by Earl Hines and his Trio, circa 1965, demonstrating the evolution of Hine's style of playing, but more importantly, showing the evolution of the classica Piano/Bass/Drums Jazz Trio concept.  I already E-mailed this to the guys who have or will be playing in my classic trio at Tapastre.  Now, I'd like to share it with the rest of you.

Earl "Fatha" Hines Explains His Influences And Technique

A good overview of how the piano trio in general, evolved.

Part 1
( About 9 minutes )
Part 2 ( About 9 minutes )
Part 3 ( About 3 minutes )

Well worth the 20 or so minutes of viewing.  For an example of a good groove, check out Hine's demonstration of a blues with bebop features and the final number from Part 3, "Love Is Just Around The Corner".  ~~ Elegant Jazz ~~

From a 1965 TV Interview - With Earl Watkins on Drums and Johnny Green on Bass.


Blog 04 - May 19, 2008 - 

My thoughts on Jazz and its popularity, or lack thereof, are not original,
here voiced by one of my main influences in this music.
Click Here

And here is that same individual and his aggregation, as seen on 
television on November 26, 1966
Click Here

I'm not telling you who this guy is, you tell me.