Judy On Christmas Eve!

Greetings Fine Folks! I know it’s a busy time for all of us, a wonderful busy time!

Here’s a last minute blip letting you know that the free Christmas Eve concert is in positive motion and will be happening tomorrow at 1pm in Del Mar. Look below for the details.

ChristmasConcertGraphicWe had a rehearsal and the group and the guests sound fantastic. It’ll be a hoot and a half!

Hope to see you there and we’d love you to sing along on the end section of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”! I think once you hear it it’ll come back to you…

adios, Peter

This is the setup and it's looking like the weather is going to be perfect. Break away if you can and we'll celebrate the moment with some music!

This is the setup and it’s looking like the weather is going to be perfect. Break away if you can and we’ll celebrate the moment with some music!

Playing It As Beautifully As You Can!

Greetings Good People, I’m writing from the spacious office quarters here at SpragueLand and Eric Dolphy is going wild on the speakers, setting the sonic atmosphere and tone for the day. It’s Freddie Hubbard’s “Clarence’s Place” and it’s a classic track from his The Body & The Soul Impulse recording. Freddie’s rippin’ it up and it’s a nice way to start things off.

Sad news arrived this week with the passing of jazz guitar great Jim Hall. I loved his music and he’s been a major source of inspiration to me in playing jazz and in playing the guitar too. I first heard him on records with Sonny Rollins and what hit me was his mature sense of restraint, of leaving space, his swing factor was infectious, and he had a wonderful sense of time. When he was comping behind Sonny’s solos his choice of chords, octaves and rhythms were so unique they too became like solos that I could sing along with. Ultra memorable and compositionally brilliant—songs unto themselves.I got to hear Jim live a couple of times and those were special evenings. I loved his connection with the audience too — funny and humble, down to earth, a really solid citizen.

The great Larry Goldings, who I think played on and off with Jim, shared these beautiful thoughts with the world upon hearing of Jim’s passing. I’m moved by these ideas and to me they really capture what was so unique about Jim’s contribution to music.

Jim Hall: humility, patience, beauty, silence, sound, wisdom, commitment, kindness, humor, courage, respect, friendship, inspiration.
Thank you, Jim Hall.
 
And for those of us performing tonight, including myself…let’s play fewer notes. Let’s play something meaningful, not something stale and preconceived. Let’s take chances. Let’s be willing to fail. Let’s listen to our bandmates, give them space. When we play a melody, let’s play it as beautifully as we can. Let’s play softer, and think about our sound. Let’s leave space. Let’s be creative. Let’s think about giving, not taking. Let’s make music.
Let’s be more like Jim Hall.
 
Larry Goldings, 2013
Jim came and played the Neuroscience Athenaeum series and I got to talk with him a little. That's Jim in the middle and Joey Carano is on the right. photo by Mark Keller

Jim came and played the Neuroscience Athenaeum series and I got to talk with him a little. That’s Jim in the middle and Joey Carano is on the right.
photo by Mark Keller

The big YouTube news this week is the release of young Kate Sprague’s new song “Carry On”. My brother Tripp helped with the production and the sound is great along with the cool black and white video images. Bravisimo!

Check it out here:

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The surf has been fantastic and the sunsets have been off the Richter! Here’s a left that I slid down on Monday afternoon that the surf cam on the cliff captured. Click it to see it come alive!

PSBeacons3and here is a recent sunset:

Cali magic! photo by Paul Gallegos

Cali magic!
photo by Paul Gallegos

Tomorrow night, Thursday, I’m making my solo guitar return to the Roxy Restaurant in Encinitas. It’s been a month at least since I’ve been there and I’m thrilled to make a scoot through some solo material. Hope to see you there!

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And coming up on Christmas Eve during the day is our annual free concert at the amphitheater in front of the L`Auberge Del Mar. It’s a long lasting tradition of ours to present this show which is a mix of great music, super cool friends, family, and new acquaintances. Together we rally the lofty life of California Christmas with the temp barreling down to an edgy 72 degrees in the shade. I’m hoping that’s what’ll be!

Here’s the band lineup for the concert:

Leonard Patton, Kevyn Lettau, Coral MacFarland Thuet, Tripp Sprague, Gunnar Biggs, Fred Benedetti, Duncan Moore, Riley Fleck, John Leftwich, Kate Sprague, Julia and Regina Benedetti, Kekoa Trent, Eliza Kiy, James Romeo, and me. Others too I’m hoping!

For some history on the event, click here to read a story by Nancy Fisher about the early days when we first played our Christmas concert. This article is from last year’s Del Mar Sandpiper Newspaper.

You can bring the whole gang, bring the relatives, meet strangers that are friendly and meet musicians that are strange. This is how we do Christmas in Cali! See you there!

That’s it folks and thanks for reading.

all best, Peter

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“Just One of Those Things”
This is a track from my Musica Del Mar recording and I was thinking about Jim Hall when I played it. Not that I can play like him but I loved his relaxed vibe on a more uptempo song. Check out the ending of the tune too and you’ll hear more Jim Hall-isms. Bebop! Check it out!

Islas Canarias

Greetings Good Folks! These frozen fingers, writing to you from the upstairs perch at SpragueLand. I’m glad to be home after a wonderful Euro run with jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. Gorgeous music, the easeful warmth of the Islas Canarias, the narrow streets leading into the castle in Beja, the divine Indian food in France, the coldest railroad station on planet earth outside of Amiens, and the magnetic concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. All of it, fantastic and too, it’s always great to be home!

Here are some visuals:

This is a performing arts building in Tenerif, Islas Canarias. It's gorgeous and it's HUGE. It's a huge wave coming right at you!

This is a performing arts building in Tenerif, Islas Canarias. It’s gorgeous and it’s HUGE. It’s a Wiamea Bay wave coming right at you!

On our last day in Tenerif I went swimming in what we called BP Oil Beach. Not the cleanest water but I was out of time and without a car. Still, super warm water and the good vibes of the Canaries seeping through.

On our last day in Tenerif I went swimming in what we called BP Oil Beach. Not the cleanest water but I was out of time and without a car. Still, super warm water and the good vibes of the Canaries seeping through.

From the Canaries we went to Beja, Portugal. I loved this little town square with the sails above to provide shade.

From the Canaries we went to Beja, Portugal. I loved this little town square with the sails above to provide shade.

Also in Beja I discovered a castle and climbed to the top. Here's the view down the spiraling stairs.

Also in Beja I discovered a castle and climbed to the top. Here’s the view down the spiraling stairs.

From Beja we travelled to France and one of the places we played was in Amions. Our hotel was a block from  the Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens. Medieval cathedral builders were trying to maximize the internal dimensions in order to reach for the heavens and bring in more light. In that regard, the Amiens cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France.

From Beja we travelled to France and one of the places we played was in Amiens. Our hotel was a block from the Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens. Medieval cathedral builders were trying to maximize the internal dimensions in order to reach for the heavens and bring in more light. In that regard, the Amiens cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France.

On the train from France to London. I'm bundled up and even though the train is warm I'm still defrosting from the "coldest train station in the world".

On the train from France to London. I’m bundled up and even though the train is warm I’m still defrosting from the “coldest train station in the world”.

Playing in London with Dianne Reeves. photo by  Nadja von Massow

Playing in London with Dianne Reeves.
photo by Nadja von Massow

Taking a bow in London! Left to right, Terryon Gulley, Reginal Veal, Dianne Reeves, Peter, Peter Martin. photo by  Nadja von Massow

Taking a bow in London!
Left to right, Terryon Gulley, Reginal Veal, Dianne Reeves, Peter, Peter Martin.
photo by Nadja von Massow

I’ve been really busy in the studio lately working on a bunch of different projects. Yesterday I finished a guitar track for some musos from Santa Fe, New Mexico and embracing the magic of this digital age, they just FTP’d the files over to me and from there I added guitar and sent the results back the very same way they came. The music and the money flow and the wild thing is that I’ve never met them in person. Jump in, it’s 2013!

I was starting to wonder about this but luckily a friend of mine reminded me that:

“Not everything on the internet is true.”
- Abraham Lincoln -

My friend Irving Flores has just released his latest CD American Influence. This is a project that we mixed over here at SpragueLand and I added some guitar on it too. Irving is from Mexico and now lives here in San Diego. He plays piano and plays up a storm. This is a collection of his compositions and arrangements and they are all in the Latin style. Go here to hear some samples of the music and if so inspired, maybe even buy the CD. Congratulations Irving on a wonderful project!

IrvingAlbumCover

Coming up this week, we’ve got a concert at Dizzy’s on Sunday evening with vocalist Allison Adams Tucker, Monette Marino on percussion, Justin Grinnell on bass and me on guitar. The concert is billed as “Unplugged: From Brazilian to the Beatles and Beyond!” and indeed it’s a joyous collection of great tunes and spirited musos anxious to spin them into the wind. We rehearsed a few days back and it’s sounding GOOD! Allison’s voice is magic and yep, we’re sort of unplugged, paired down, gentle and letting the songs do their thing. We’re including a new tune I wrote called “Islas Canarias” plus we’re debuting a brand new arrangement of The Beatles’ “Here, There, and Everywhere”. I hope you can make it out and share the moment with us. If the weather is still running cold, be sure to bring warm clothes to the gig. Baby it’s cold in there!

Allison Adams Tucker

Allison Adams Tucker

Next week I’m planning a Roxy solo guitar night and it’s been a while since we all met up and had one of these cool nights. Bring your ears, bring your empty stomachs and we’ll have a night of music, friendship, and great food. Hope to see you there!

Happiness is playing the guitar! photo by TJ Best

Happiness is playing the guitar!
photo by TJ Best

that’s it friends and it’s good to be in touch again, Peter

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“Modinha”
I love Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music and this week’s song is a little off the radar from his more popular tunes. But it’s one of the great tunes! Vocalist Andy Villas-Lobos first introduced me to this piece and I was floored and stumped as to how it how it had previously passed me by. It’s haunting and beautiful. I brought it into our Road Work Ahead project On The Road Again and we came up with a fresh new approach to what is usually done as a bossa nova. Instead, we invoke the slow lilting swing of John Coltrane and head that way with it. It’s a cool take and I like the CD too. Check it out!