Dodging the Cheese and Scoring High!

Friends, got an old side spinning now that my Dad played frequently back in the day — Quincy Jones’ The Quintessence. Check the Freddie Hubbard solo on “Robot Portrait” and you’ll hear some killer minor chord trumpet lines weaving impeccably through the changes, dodging the cheesy notes and scoring high on this listeners ears. It’s a good way to kick off the day.

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Last week we had two great concerts with Camarada and it was a total splurge to play two nights in a row. Man, that used to happen a lot in the years back but not as much these days. Having a couple of concerts to work out the details and lay into the music makes the music better and it’s less operating on survival mode and more reaching forth to new ground.

The Mingei hit was filled with enthusiastic folks and we had a great spin through the music. Columnist Ken Herman wrote a wonderful review of the show and seamed to dig the band and my new tune “Saltwater.” He writes:

“The quiet, edgy ballad with its deftly interwoven themes is one of the best pieces I’ve heard from this composer.”

And then he wrapped up his review with this rap:

“It was hard to tell if Sunday’s audience was the same audience that attends Camarada’s classical offerings or primarily jazz fans who came to hear Peter Sprague, but it really doesn’t matter much when you fill every seat in the house, as Camarada did that evening in Balboa Park.”

Cool beans and click here if you want to read the whole review. Thanks Ken for kind words!

Camarada Saltwater Jazz with (left to right) Peter, Duncan, Beth, Fred, and Gunnar. photo by Rick Sokol

Camarada Saltwater Jazz with (left to right) Peter, Duncan, Beth, Fred, and Gunnar.
photo by Rick Sokol

Dialing it in for this week, we had an inspired string group rehearsal last night at SpragueLand including our long lost cello player Lars Hoefs. What a muso! He’s been living in Brasil after landing a great teaching gig at a college near Sao Paulo. It’s South America and they’re on summer break so he’s back in Cali for a couple of months playing a bunch of concerts. We’ve got him in the loop with us for this weeks show at the University of California in Riverside plus another hit down the way at the Museum of Making Music. He’s the real deal—reads like a madman, plays with passion, has impeccable intonation and sound—heavens Lars where have you been? Also in the loop is the young Mack Leighton on bass playing the ten pager charts with ease and confidence. Wild cat, him!

Come and hear the band if you can. Look below for the details. And also know we’ll be playing in February closer to home in Carlsbad. See ya’ there!

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Here’s a gig that I’m not on but that I can highly recommend. Vocalist Rebecca Jade is big time beautiful in so many ways—her sound, her vibe, her jazz singing, her soul. She’s been an integral member of our ensemble when we play the Stevie Wonder shows and most recently she’s been over at SpragueLand laying down tracks for a few projects. This Sunday she’s playing a concert at the Encinitas Public Library with the Danny Weller group. The direction of the show is the music of Ella Fitzgerald. I know it’s going to cook and if I can make some scheduling magic happen I’ll be there to listen. Here’s the poster and get there if you can.

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There you have if fine folks and thanks for reading into the revolution.

all best, Peter

Thai With Ky…

Greetings Good Folks, I’m just drying off from the salt water mini surf, blend in some super clean air and blue skies surf session. Today was a good day! Up early, minimal email duties, mixing, rehearsing, water tai chi (surfers walk on water did you know?) and now off to a dad and daughter hit at the Thai Society. It’ll be Thai food with Ky. Good world spinning!

Peter and Kylie photo by Stef Sprague

Peter and Kylie
photo by Stef Sprague

Last week’s hurricane gig schedule leads into a much easier paced current week. Highlight’s previous were the True North Singers singing full blast involved harmonies at Mira Costa College and then the Jen Convention in downtown SD. The convention was a wild collection of young and old jazz heads searching for the truth in sound. I’m not sure if everyone found it but it seemed like they were at least digging the journey. On from there it was a stellar Dizzy’s gig with vocalist Sinne Eeg leading the way. Oh my, super gorgeous music and we’re talking about doing it again down the road. She’ll be living in LA on and off for the next 6 months. I’ll let you know…

True North with vocalists Katie, Matt, Sharmala, and Fletcher.

True North with vocalists Katie, Matt, Sharmala, and Fletcher.

Up for this week, tomorrow night my trio plays a show at the fantastic Fallbrook Library. We hit at 7pm and it’s free to get in. The library has killer sound and folks really listen there. Inland music reigns!

The highlight this week will be our 2 concerts with Camarada playing “Salt Water Jazz”. We’ve culled through my original songs and put together a program of pieces that are inspired by my salt water surfing adventures. Songs like “Uluwatu”, “Na Pali Coast”, “Musica Del Mar”, a brand new one called “Saltwater”, and we even have our wicked version of the Beach Boys hit “Good Vibrations” in there to bring it on home. The band is Beth Ross-Buckley on flute, Fred Benedetti on guitar, Gunnar Biggs on bass, Duncan Moore on drums and me on guitar. Look below for the details and the concerts take place on Saturday and Sunday night. Hang ten!

Camarada with Fred Benedetti, Gunnar Biggs, Beth Ross-Buckley, and Peter.

Camarada with Fred Benedetti, Gunnar Biggs, Beth Ross-Buckley, and Peter.

Last up for this week will be a free duo concert on Sunday afternoon at the Scripps Ranch Library. It’ll be vocalist Leonard Patton and I jumping in and mixing up the Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Hoagy Carmichael, Nat King Cole influences into a sonic whirlwind. See you there!

Leonard Patton and Peter photo by Kevin Kinnear

Leonard Patton and Peter
photo by Kevin Kinnear

That’s the rap for now folks and thanks for reading along…all best, Peter

Carmen’s Swinging Donte’s!

Greetings Music Friends, I woke up today and was thinking about great jazz vocalists and this lead me to a record that my Dad loved called The Great American Songbook (Live) by Carmen McRae. My Dad played this disc to death and us kids soaked it up even though the main attraction for us at that time were The Beatles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Jimi Hendrix. This collection of classic tunes was recorded live at Donte’s in Los Angeles in 1972 and includes Joe Pass on guitar and Jimmy Rowles on piano. Carmen’s a sassy handful and sings up a storm. I went to iTunes and with true digital magic, Jimmy Rowles’ quirky intro on “At Long Last Love” is coming to life in realtime and the morning is off to a swinging start.

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Last evening we played a show at Mira Costa College with Matt Falker and his True North singers and it was a hoot. The vocalists are incredible singing really complex arrangements and pulling it off effortlessly. We’re doing it again on Friday afternoon at the JEN Convention in San Diego and I think the general public can attend. JEN stands for Jazz Education Network and click here if you want more info.

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I’m tuning up my single neck nylon string guitar and readying the atmosphere for a solo guitar night at the Roxy Restaurant in downtown Encinitas. It’s all going on tomorrow (Thursday) night and it’s one of my favorite weekly moments. Hope to see you there.

Tuning it up and getting ready for the Roxy.  photo by Hiro Ikezi

Tuning it up and getting ready for the Roxy.
photo by Hiro Ikezi

The big news for this week, and right in line with incredible jazz singers, vocalist Sinne Eeg is joining us for a night of music at Dizzy’s on Friday night. She lives in Copenhagen and tours extensively all over Europe and it’s a real treat when she ventures to L.A. and from there makes her way south to share her sound with us. We’ve played Dizzy’s two times in the years prior and both have been super well attended and truly magical nights of music. She has a new recording out called Face the Music and it won the Danish Music Award for vocal jazz album of year 2014. For our Dizzy’s hit it’ll be me on guitar, Gunnar Biggs on bass, and Duncan Moore on drums backing up Sinne. Big fun ahead for this one! See you there…

Sinne Eeg

Sinne Eeg

As promised, the mixing and video editing are complete and if you want to see how the Christmas Eve 2014 Del Mar concert went down, click below and check ‘er out. It was once again a warm day and the sun was cooking the instruments, the mixing board was a frying pan, Peter and Duncan had weird looking hats going on, the band navigated some tricky charts with true professional valor, and the happy people of San Diego turned out in droves. What a great life it is delivering sound for a living!

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There it is good people and I’ll see you out in the world, Peter