Heat, Tango, Argentina, Guitar and Trees!

Friends of the Muse, it’s hot, it’s time for some tango and this then led me to this amazing fellow Ureta who lives on the Pampas of Argentina with his kids. They’ve created a unique forest in tribute to his wife, Graciela, who died during childbirth in 1977. Ureta and his kids figured out how to make the view of the forest from a jet or from space look like a guitar. It’s wild and it probably took a long time for it to take shape. Heat, tango, Argentina, guitar, trees—all a classic mix!

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click the photo for the whole backstory of the guitar forest.

Last week was a blur of rehearsals and concerts and two highlights were the Allison hit at the Loft and the String show in Hemet. What a joy and it’s great to be back with the Consort whisking around harmonic twists and turns. Look for our return in August with some new music and a little concert run. Can’t wait!

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April in Paris CD Release at the Loft UCSD: (from left to right) Danny Green, Tripp Sprague, Lou Fanucchi, Claudia Lyra, Allison Adams Tucker, Julien Cantelm, Peter Sprague, and Evona Wascinski.

I’ve got two shows planned for this week and first up is a Friday gig at Ki’s in Cardiff. It’ll be Leonard Patton and I throwing down the Stevie, the Beatles, Nat King Cole, Sprague classics from Ocean In Your Eyes, heart tuggers of Americana, and other sonic gems. Hope to see you there for a cool mix of sound, a magic view, and supreme food.

Leonard Patton and Peter photo by Kevin Kinnear

Leonard Patton and Peter
photo by Kevin Kinnear

And last up for the week it’ll be maestro Fred Benedetti and I exploring the outer reaches of the six string society as we offer our contribution to the good folks of the San Diego Folk Heritage. The concert is on Saturday night and it’s at the San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas. We’ve worked out a few new additions to the set list so join in if you can.

Peter and Fred dancing on the double necks!

Peter and Fred dancing on the double necks!

There it is friends and thanks for being in the loop.

all best, Peter

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“Desamba”
Back in 1993 we released a CD called Blurring the Edges. The band was my brother Tripp, our dad Hall Sprague, guitarist Fred Benedetti and me. I knew Fred could tackle a barrage of tricky notes, set to a brisk tempo. With this inspiration I set out to write a 2 part counterpoint Bach goes to Brasil angled song. This style of Brazilian counterpoint  music is called choro. For us guitarists, the key of D is holy grail and that’s because it includes some open strings plus it sits beautifully on the guitar neck. I named my tune “Desamba” because it’s both a samba in the key of D, and there’s also something Cole Porter-ish about it. How about “it’s delovely, it’s delightlful, it’s desamba?” We’re still playing this song these days in fact Fred and I are readying it for this week’s Ki’s hit. Have a listen here.

Strato Vox Harm Kick Drum Existing in the Rear View Mirror!

Greetings and Good Wishes Friends of the Muse, I’m doing some spring day reporting and the reason Stan Getz’s Getz/Gilberto CD is on the box is because I’ve been reading about it in Gary Burton’s wonderful autobiography “Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton”. Vibraphonist Burton has been a hero of mine since I was a kid. One of my father’s favorite recording was Getz Au Go Go and it continually spun in our house, prominently highlighting Gary’s vibes with Getz’s delicious sax sound. It’s great music and it’s fun to learn the backstory of what it was like touring with Stan. I guess he was a wild fellow. Maybe it’s better to read about it than being in the middle of it but I’m still crazy for how he pulled it off…

The vocal harmonies were launching towards the stratosphere last weekend at the Museum of Making Music with a sold out house and a spirited kick drum punctuating the accents. The band was on fire and it was a wonderful romp through the music of Ocean In Your Eyes. The only bummer is that after all that prep work, the gig is in the rearview mirror. Good news though on the horizon, we’ll stir it up once again in June at KSDS’s Jazz Live in San Diego. Can’t wait!

Lisa and Leonard at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Lisa and Leonard at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Kevyn at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Kevyn at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Matt at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Matt at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Duncan at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Duncan at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Gunnar at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Gunnar at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Trio-ing it at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Trio-ing it at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

Wall of vocalists at the MOMM concert. photo by Barbara Rix

Wall of vocalists at the MOMM concert.
photo by Barbara Rix

The gigs for this week start up on Friday where I’ll be joining the masterful trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos and bassist Antar Martin for a night of jazz at the Westgate Hotel in downtown San Diego. Gilbert is really something and it’s always an inspired moment to be in his loop. Look below for the fine print.

Peter and Gilbert Castellanos.

Peter and Gilbert Castellanos.

Vocalist Allison Adams Tucker sings up a storm and she’s throwing a concert on Saturday night at UCSD’s Loft to celebrate the release of her latest CD April In Paris. She tracked the music in Paris a year back and we mixed it here at SpragueLand. It’s a wonderful collection of jazz and samba, both standards and a few originals. She’s got a great band lined up and we did a marathon rehearsal yesterday to tighten up the loose ends. Big fun ahead and I hope to see you there!

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After yesterday’s Allison rehearsal I then morphed into a marathon String Consort rehearsal with the gang to sharpen it up for a Sunday concert in Hemet. This group is one of my favorites and we’ve got compositions from our Wild Blue recording as well as our latest Dr. Einstein’s Spin plus a Bach hit and a Brubeck classic thrown in for balance. We’re playing on Sunday at 2pm at the First Southern Baptist Church in Hemet. I know it’s a bit of a drive from here but spread the word if you know folks living up north that might dig hearing classical and jazz woven together into a new mix. Maybe you can make it too! Look below for the deets.

Peter Sprague String Consort photo by Rick Sokol

Peter Sprague String Consort
photo by Rick Sokol

Getz just finished the coda on “Only Trust Your Heart” and so I as well will take these notes to the barn. Thanks for the read and hope to see you on the next loop…

all best, Peter

The Lord of Song Sings Hallelujah!

Greetings Good Folks, listening to Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” and it’s a divine ride indeed. My cousin Gabe told me about this tune a long time ago. It’s a gem written by Leonard Cohen and today we play it at a service for a good fellow who has left us. There is sadness and beauty and this song holds the truth close.
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen – “Hallelujah”

Last week Bop Mod terrorized the Rancho Bernardo Library with a great turnout and young Curtis Taylor on trumpet playing up a storm. What a joy to be inside the music with these folks and thanks to all that came out and to the good people (Don and Harvey) who run the show there.

Throwing down at the RB Library! Left to right, Peter, Duncan, Curtis Taylor, Gunnar and Tripp. photo by Mark Keller

Throwing down at the RB Library! Left to right, Peter, Duncan, Curtis Taylor, Gunnar and Tripp.
photo by Mark Keller

From the RB Library we left the next day and tangled with the traffic on the I-15 to make our way to the Rancho Mirage Library to share the music with the desert tribe. Great hit and I decided to stay on an extra day to soak up the heat. My friend Brian took me out to a magic oasis with palms swaying and water bubbling up from San Andrea’s curvy fault line. Mini mindblower!

A half a mile away from this oasis it's as dry and desolate as it comes.

A half a mile away from this oasis it’s as dry and desolate as it comes.

Relaxin' at Camel-rillo! Legend has it that Charlie Parker bathed in this spot once.

Relaxin’ at Camel-rillo!
Legend has it that Charlie Parker bathed in this spot once.

Next my brother Tripp and I got dressed up and played a gig overlooking the Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Other creative constituents joined in and even though it’s legally spring, it was chilly!

Desert – warm
Coast – chilly
Keep it varied, keep it coming!
Coat and ties with Tripp and Peter. photo by Beth Ross-Buckley

Coat and ties with Tripp and Peter.
photo by Beth Ross-Buckley

The big news of the week is on Friday night at the Museum of Making Music we’re celebrating and playing the music from my new CD release Ocean In Your Eyes. I’ve got most of the players from the recording in the loop plus two ultra gifted singers from Mira Costa College who will join in on a few tunes. In the band we have:

Leonard Patton, Kevyn Lettau, Matt Falker, Lisa Hightower, Gunnar Biggs, Duncan Moore, Mellisa and Nina from Mira Costa and me on guitar.

We’ve had some good times working up the music and each singer will be featured, plus a bunch of vocal ensemble excursions as well. All of the songs are certified Sprague compositions executed with humor and schooled discipline. They are well rounded ditties.

OceanEyesCDReleaseConcert

A week back I dished out a prompt as to why the CD is called Ocean In Your Eyes. A few folks came back with the correct answer and that is, when you listen to “Mudra” there’s a section before the bridge that goes:

“When I look into you, the ocean in your eyes.
We slide through the swirl of a thousand things, to the sweetness of a still mind”

“Mudra” – Peter Sprague / Randy Phillips

Every time I hear it, a righteous sense of well being comes over me. It’s a miniature bliss moment and I’m wondering if it happens to you too. Let me know…

I hope you can make it to the show, it’s going to be fun. Click here for more details.

If you want to hear the music we’re preparing for the concert, click here.

Rehearsing at SpragueLand with (left to right back row) Peter, Matt, (front row) Kevyn, Leonard and Lisa. photo by Stef Sprague

Rehearsing at SpragueLand with (left to right back row) Peter, Matt, (front row) Kevyn, Leonard and Lisa.
photo by Stef Sprague

there it is and thanks for reading along, Peter