The Free Air of June!

Hey Ho!

Currently embracing the out of doors this week with 2 cool concerts coming up. There are a bunch of wins to taking the music outside:

  • The acoustics in the open air are a plus —no parallel walls in play to muddy up the sound. 
  • The air is your friend and there’s volumes of free air to inhale. All around, everywhere you look.
  • Speaking of free, both of these concerts come with a zero price tag, that’s happy. 
  • Big doses of direct sun could be a problem but hey, June on the coast equals no sun whatsoever.
  • Outside concerts mostly take place in the day and how cool to include dancing little kids and doggies into the mix. Also, take in the music during the day, later in the eve catch up on Game of Thrones episodes. Full day, full life.

So with these convincing propaganda angles at play, consider joining us for these outdoor events this week.

First up, on Friday afternoon I’m playing solo guitar at Flower Hill Promenade. It’s a gig that I strum usually two times a month and it’s always a good free flowing time of samba, jazz, and The Beatles.

PS on the guitar with the cool look and doctoring up of the photo by Justin Grinnell

On Saturday at 3pm me and the boys are playing a set at the Leucadia Summer Fun on the 101 music festival. It’ll be Leonard singing, Duncan drumming, Mack bass-ing, Danny Green on the keys, and me guitar-ing. We’ve got Cream’s “Swlabr” in play along with Hoagy Charmichael, Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and a PS original. This event is north county bohemia cool in full regalia and I think you’ll dig it. Hope to see you there.

This was the scene at the Summer Fun on the 101 a few years back with me, Duncan, Leonard, Tripp, and Gunnar ripping it up in Leucadia. photo by Dan Audick

Sunday at 5pm will find us setup and launching into two sets of music at the little park at the corner of La Flecha and Avenida de Acacias in downtown Rancho Santa Fe. It’s sponsored by the Village Community Presbyterian Church and we’ve had the good fortune of playing this yearly gig for many years. It’s a ton of fun complete with good folks, beautiful surroundings, and of course a delicious palette of jazz music. The band is Lizzi Trumbore on vocals and trombone, Tripp on sax, Mack on bass, Duncan on drums, Danny on keys, and me on the guitar. Lizzi is in town just for a week or so and we’re thrilled to include her into our loop. Come on out if you can…

Here’s a pic from the RSF event a few years back. The band is jamming in the hour of magic light.
photo by Steve Grant

That’s the word folks and hope to see you out there in the free air of June.


Be Different, Be Nice

Happy People!

I hope I’m catching you at a good time. Fun times over here at SpragueLand with a bunch of cool concerts coming up, a little sun poking through, killer veggie soup that Stef whipped together, and a new T.V. show discovery that might be of interest to you. 

It’s called SongLand — have you seen it? Stef and I just watched the first two episodes the other night on Hulu. (I think you can also see it on regular NBC TV). It’s a reality show where three super successful pop music producers audition young up and coming singer/songwriters with hopes of finding a song that’ll work for the superstar guest pop artist of which said pop artist will record the tune and all of the folks involved in the process will make a ton of money and be artistically fulfilled. Hah, that’s a mouthful! 

John Legend is the first superstar to be on the show and we watch and listen as the up and comers audition and the pro producers give their critique and suggestions on how to improve the song. It’s all pop music but these are some smart folks that know their world. It’s not jazz but it’s modern day rocket science in how they add elements and details to the arrangements that sharpen the tunes and make them ready for pop radio. One song is picked, John Legend records it, it sounds good, and hopefully it does well in the big world. 

The second show highlights Black Eyed Peas lead person and this guy is a hoot and a half. I love the way he talks and his ideas are funny and cool. His song pick out of all of the possibles is this quirky little ditty called “Be Nice”. It goes like this:

Be different, be nice
Just smile, I promise it’ll change your life.

It’s so nice to hear this expressed in song all the while in our current world, from the top on down, so many folks think it’s cool to be mean. 

Fun stuff and let me know if you see it and how it resonates.

John Legend on the left with 3 high powered producers all armed and ready to take on the pop world.

Rad cool Beatles hit last week! We’ll do it again down the road…

BeatleJazz with Peter, Duncan, Tripp, and Justin.
photo by Justin Grinnell

I only have one concert this week and it all takes place Wednesday night at 6:45pm. That’s a funny start time but we’ll take it! It’s Leonard and I jamming at the Carmel Valley Library and you’re all invited. Free entrance, freedom music, in a freestanding building. I hope you’re free to come…

adios, Peter


Wes Elevation!

Fine Friends!

Coming to you on this infinite grayscape morning where the weatherman’s repeated mantra is “June gloom”. I get tired of hearing that one and yeah, I know it rhymes and all but it’s just like rubbing salt in the wound. The potential for lack of sunlight depression disorder is running wild over here on the coast. We did make it inland over the weekend for a friend’s wedding and the sun was doing it’s thing. Elevation —it made it summer over there!

So what do you do when the weather is weighing you down? I’m finding that listening to Wes Montgomery is one surefire solution. Right now filling the airwaves is Wes’ Movin’: The Complete Verve Recordings. It’s working —dark monotone morning dissolving into unreal chord stabs, octaves, beautiful single note melodies, gorgeous tone, superb time sense, big band Oliver Nelson and Don Sebesky arrangements, pop tunes of the day with a jazz delivery, all of it, no comparison to the dreary atmospheric circus going on outdoors. 

The Verve Record era is one of my favorite setups for Wes’ long storied career and on this album I’m discovering tunes that somehow got past me in earlier years. What a joy!

Also, recently I acquired a beautiful jazz arch top guitar built by the same fellow (Andy Powers) that created my double neck guitar and it’s inspired me to explore back in time to some of the great jazz guitarists that I grew up listening to. Kenny Burrell, Tal Farlow, Wes, George Benson, Pat Martino, and Barney Kesell to name a few. The fat toned six strings never sounded better!

This week is a busy live concert sprint for me and it all starts on Tuesday evening out in the East County. Will there be sun out there? More reason to drive east! It’ll be me and my guitar playing a free one hour concert at the Rancho San Diego Library. I’ve played this venue before and if the weather is good they hold the concerts outside in a pretty courtyard. Good sound and good listening folks in attendance, it should be a fun one!

On Thursday night me and the Planet Cole Porter gang are playing a show in Del Mar at the Powerhouse Community Center. Good for us but unfortunately bad for you, it’s already sold out. So for that reason I won’t go into the details but know we’ll be riding the wave of Cole and thinking about you…

On Saturday I’ve got two shows going on. First up is our annual involvement in the San Diego Festival of the Arts held at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego. Our time slot is for 12:30 – 2pm and it’ll be Leonard and me jamming samba, swing, Beatles, and Hendrix. Come on out if you can…

Leonard and Peter
photo by Thomas Westerlin

On Saturday eve we’re going full on Beatles for a show at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad. The San Diego Folk Heritage Society is putting the concert on and we’re calling it BeatleJazz. The angle is all Beatles music filtered through our jazz sensibilities. We’ve got Tripp on sax, Justin Grinnell on bass, Duncan on drums, and me on guitar. It’s always a good day in the sun to be immersed in the great songs of Paul and John. It’s a clean machine!

And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine
— Penny Lane

Ending up this week’s concert run, on Sunday afternoon I’m playing a solo show at the Mission Trails Church in San Diego at 3pm. For years I played solo hits at the Mission Trails visitor center and then the folks that organized that series moved it nearby to this church. This will be my first time there but I’m told it’s a good scene with good sound. I’m game and I hope you are too!

Heading up!
photo by Jeff Rose

That’s it for now and all this time Wes’ music has been spinning along. Now we’re at Bumpin’ on Sunset and even though the overcast isn’t lifting, the view from here is onwards and upwards, straight ahead and strive for good tone. 

yep, P