After All The Jacks Are in Their Boxes

 

Greetings Good People!

I hope I’m finding you in a good place. If you watch the news, things are a mess all over. Indeed but some good things are happening too and I’m all about highlighting those. 

For instance the sonic wizard Jacob Collier recently came out with a Tiny Desk concert video with him playing all of the instruments at once. How he produced this video I’d love to know. Outstanding!

A little time back I had a neat phone hang with Dave Drexler who has his “Inside Art” show on KSDS Radio. He’s an absolute pro asking good questions and leading the interview into cool places. The focus of the interview hovers around our new music reality of livestreaming concerts.

Check it out:

Dave Drexler

As you know our main focus these days is our every other Thursday Live(ish) From SpragueLand concert series. The whole pulse over here starts heating up as the concert day approaches. We’re testing new gear, I’m arranging charts and practicing my parts, Stef is working on the lighting and look, Barbara is tweaking the posters, all of the musos are sharpening their skills, Brian is brainstorming sound solutions, and Steve is practicing his vid switching moves. It’s like Twenty Century Fox only instead of L.A. it’s little old Encinitas. We’re digging it!

After last week’s Music of Stevie Wonder show Stef and I were worn out from it all. It wasn’t until 2 nights ago that we sat down in front of the T.V. and watched the program from beginning to end. Wow! There were some great moments — Leonard tearing it up on “Gotta Have You”, Rebecca absolutely bringing it home on “Do I Do”, Tripp on keyboards adding yet another instrument to his long list of instruments that he’s mastered, Mack on the deck killing the electric bass, and Duncan funkifying Leucadia down to it’s core. Great sound, the visuals we’re happening, and the band banter had me laughing. 

What a fun ride and on top of it all, you good listeners and supporters went on an inspired generous spree and we’re happy to report that we’ve raised $1500 for the Black Lives Matter organization. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And if you haven’t seen the show click the photo below and you’ll be transported to Wonderland!

For this week on Thursday night we have another Live(ish) From SpragueLand concert planned and the pulse is starting to come alive.

LINK to CONCERT

George Gershwin and Jimi Hendrix meet again, this time in cyberspace!

We’re sonically traversing the worlds of clever lyric twists of the 1920’s with Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic spins that I’m not sure if anyone fully understands what he’s talking about. The place that these two meet is the holy land of GREAT MUSIC!

After all the jacks are in their boxes
And the clowns have all gone to bed
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street
Footprints dressed in red
And the wind whispers Mary
—“Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix

We’re featuring our longtime friend and music collaborator, wonderful vocalist Lisa Hightower. She grew up in a rock band — she knows Jimi’s music inside and out. Then she morphed over to jazz while working a waitress gig at the Rancho Sante Fe Inn. Ella became her hero and now years later we’re illuminating both of these great composers for a night of inspired music. 

The band includes some of the best with Tripp Sprague on sax and flute, Gunnar Biggs on bass, Duncan Moore on drums, Lisa Hightower on vocals, and Peter Sprague on guitar.

And as we do for some of our shows, we like the idea of including a favorite muso from another part of the globe into our concert. For this week’s gig I’ve reached out to stellar vocalist Sinne Eeg (she’s the gal that I do all of the European touring with in the last few years) and she sent an audio and video recording of her singing one of her songs. We’ll bring that into our program and it’ll be like we’re all playing together in realtime. Total tech magic and this is why we call it Live(ish). Super fun!

Price of admission? Actually the concert is free but we will have a “virtual tip jar” complete with PayPal, Zelle and Venmo info for you to donate whatever you feel good about. Also good old snail mailing checks works too. We’d love for this to work out too.

Paypal: tripp@trippsprague.com
Venmo: @Tripp-Sprague
Zelle: peter@petersprague.com
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024

OK good people, that’s the story up until now and sure looking forward to seeing you on Thursday night.

namaste, Peter

Friends of Funk, Friends of Jazz!

 

Dear Friends of Funk and Jazz, 

Stevie Wonder’s Jungle Fever is spinning on the turntable and it’s working magic over here — stirring up the imagination, upping the vibe, accompanying the sounds of summer outside the window. On the tune “Fun Day,” the last chorus leads to the vamp out and Stevie has one final thing to say, “let me solo, let me solo, let me solo” and then the background vocals answer “SOLO!” What a classic moment and yeah, Stevie by all means start your solo!

Stevie’s been one of my main musical inspirations since I was young and it’s his groove, his jazz sense of harmony infused into pop, that touches me so deeply. His tunes are bulletproof and can take on many different interpretations and still retain the vibe. We like taking his music and filtering it through our jazz and Brazilian sensibilities.

This week on Thursday evening we’re gearing up for Episode 7 — Live(ish) From SpragueLand playing the music of Stevie Wonder. We’ve got Rebecca Jade and Leonard Patton on vocals, Tripp Sprague on sax and flute, Mack Leighton on bass, Duncan Moore on drums, and me on guitar. We’re playing Stevie classics that I’ve arranged and for this show the ink is barely dry on 2 new ones that I’m looking forward to hearing the musos bring to life.

50% of the proceeds from this livestream concert will be donated to Black Lives Matter.

Price of admission? Actually the concert is free but we will have a “virtual tip jar” complete with Tripp’s PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle info for you to donate whatever you feel good about. Snail mail works good too. We’d love for this to work.

Paypal: tripp@trippsprague.com
Venmo: @Tripp-Sprague
Zelle: peter@petersprague.com
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Here’s the link for the concert: https://youtu.be/9ACqddBJLkI

We’re looking forward to spinning in the sound of Wonder!

best, Peter

Silence and Slowness

 

Top ‘O the Summer To You!

I’m promo-ing it up this afternoon and Chick Corea’s supplying the soundtrack. What a great blend of fusion, samba, harmonic wizardry, and mini moog solos from the 7th galaxy no less. Supreme music!

This livestream wave is taking up a fair amount of bandwidth in musicians minds lately — how to do it? Should I do it? Where to do it? Who to do it with?

Robert Bush, a music writer over at The Reader, documented my adventure in getting to where I am now presenting Live (ish) From SpragueLand. It’s a tale of cactus cuts and questionable upload speeds and it thankfully has a happy ending.

Read all about it!

We’re coming into a week of multiple livestream hits complete with upgraded tech features and always dedicated musos. We’ve set out tackling some challenging tunes and to keep the sonic balance and the heart rate nice and steady we’re using silence and slowness as key contrast elements. I like the blendo factor of fast, loud, slow, and quiet and this can really work in the soundproof confines of SpragueLand.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Blurring the Edges — Songs From the Width of the World

Guitarists Peter Sprague and Fred Benedetti join up with saxophonist Tripp Sprague and bassist Mack Leighton to rekindle their musical collaboration called Blurring the Edges. The music combines elements of jazz, classical, flamenco, samba and the blues. They start improvising and that’s when the blurring begins. 

The group recorded two CD’s back in the day (Blurring the Edges and Sombra) and won Best Jazz Group in the 1994 San Diego Music Awards. 

Peter Sprague – guitar
Fred Benedetti – guitar
Tripp Sprague – sax, flute and percussion
Mack Leighton – bass
with special guest Steve Kujala on flute

Next I’m be hanging out with guitarist Romero Lubambo for a Saturday afternoon livestream show. Romero is from Brazil but now lives in NYC and he’s one of the supreme guitarists walking the planet. Nicest human too! He’ll play a song, I’ll play a song, we’ll hang out and talk, it should be fun. See you there!

Peter Sprague and Rebecca Jade — Day Tripper

We’re thrilled to be back together again and this week we’re playing a version of Day Tripper that takes a rollercoaster ride through the funk outback and then eventually circling home to the realm of jazz harmony nuts and bolts. It’s a ride you don’t want to miss!

The Merc in Temecula can’t present live shows now because of the covid reality but they’re carrying on sponsoring some live hits and with their request to us, of course we said “yay, we love to play!”

The band includes some of the best with Rebecca Jade on vocals, Tripp Sprague on sax and flute, Mack Leighton on bass, Duncan Moore on drums, and me on guitar. 

Peter Sprague and Rebecca Jade were awarded the 2018 Best Jazz Album by the San Diego Music Awards for their stellar “Planet Cole Porter” release. 

Other songs planned for this outing include modern reworking of Cole Porter classics, a new reading of CSN’s amazing “Guinevere.” a gentle Leonard Cohen moment, and some gutbucket blues added in for good measure. It’ll be a fun moment of music and we hope to see you there in the big algorithm of the sky.

thanks good people and see you soon, Peter