The Tribute Rebels!

Greetings Good Folks, I just heard the incredible Pat Metheny in concert last night in Temecula. Oh my, that fellow can play! I’m filled with inspiration and that’s perfect because this week we’ve got some new music brewing. Keep reading!

Pat Metheny, Alex, and Peter in Temecula.

Pat Metheny, Alex, and Peter in Temecula.

The Tribute Rebels

Currently there exists a movement all over the country for bands to put on “themed” concerts focusing on the music of some famous artist. Many wonderful things come from this—you learn the fine details of the artist’s music at a level that’s much deeper than you would from just listening to it, plus it’s a cool ride playing a tune you’ve only heard on record and then taking it live. For the audience there’s an added attraction and interest, “how are they going to pull off bringing Stevie Wonder’s songs into the jazz realm?” A lot of us do it for both the musical enrichment and the hope of getting a good turnout at the box office.

The downsides of this movement is that it’s a lot of work getting the program together to be played for one show. Think Chick Corea complicated music, multiple rehearsals for all of the musos plus loads of personal prep time, get to the gig and play that badass phrase one time. You only get one chance and then it’s over. The next day you’re on to another rehearsal prepping for another tribute concert.

For us composers, what about furthering our own songwriting abilities and shaping our band’s creative direction?

To address this current state of affairs we’re bringing together the Tribute Rebels for a night of music that has its own “themed framework” at play. The idea is for the composers within the band to write new music for the concert. Guiding the direction of those compositions for this episode will be the phrase:

Things That I Love That I Used To Hate

Last week I pushed away a bunch of commitments and made space for three days of composing. I came up with one song a day and wrote about things that I love that I used to hate. I used to hate onions as a kid and now I love them. “Onions” is my new jazz funk tune, hot off the press, strutting its world premier with hopefully you in the audience! Here’s another—I used to hate country music and along came Pat Metheny who influenced me into digging certain aspects of keeping it diatonic and keeping it simple. Song number two is called “Lee’s Summit” and it moves to the beauty of the almighty G major chord, telling the story of Metheny’s home town. Things that I love that I used to hate. The other band members have their own songs and stories too.

It’ll be an inspired night of music. We’re having multiple rehearsals leading up to it to work in the new songs. We’ll go at it just as hard, probably harder, to come up with something new and creative. We’ll share it with you along with the story of why we wrote it and you’ll learn something new about each of us. And in the end, the concert will be over and each of us composers will have zapped into the creative process, carrying with us a few new tunes in our back pocket to take along for the rest of our lives. Our sonic “babies” will continue on!

Fill the world with new music!
Every gig is a world premier!
The Tribute Rebels!

The Tribute Rebels: Episode One
Dizzy’s on July 25, 2014
Peter Sprague — guitar
Danny Green — piano
Tripp Sprague — sax and flute
Justin Grinnell — bass
Julien Canthelm — drums

Here's the first rhythmic sketch of my 3rd Tribute Rebels tune. I was at the beach and came up with the idea. I went to the lifeguard and borrowed a pen and this brown paper and sat at the waters edge navigating tricky 5/4 rhythmic variations.

Here’s the first rhythmic sketch of my 3rd Tribute Rebels tune. I was at the beach and came up with the idea. I went to the lifeguard and borrowed a pen and this weird brown paper and sat at the waters edge imagining tricky 5/4 rhythmic variations.

This article was in today's U-T San Diego newspaper.

This article was in today’s U-T San Diego newspaper.


Also up for this week, on Monday night Tripp, Leonard and I play a free outdoor concert in Point Loma at the Westminster Presbyterian Church. It’s a great setting and folks full on listen. See you there!

Tripp, Leonard, and Peter

Tripp, Leonard, and Peter

The Roxy Revolution continues on Thursday night with me and my six strings dialing in some solo music. Take in the classic downtown Encinitas vibe with good food, good friends and jazz music.

That’s it folks for this week. Thanks for reading along and see you OUT THERE!

best, Peter

Spinning Sonic Ditties

Friends, I’m just spinning off of a songwriting spree with three new sonic ditties ready to take flight. That’ll be next week but the news of NOW is:

Thursday night with vocalist Nina Francis at 98 Bottles! Nina and three of her fellow USC music cohorts mix it up with us old guys (Peter, Tripp, and Gunnar) for a night of jazz, folk, and originals. She’s got it going on and we’re geared for a great night!


I’m stoked to have Lisa Hightower and Gunnar join me at Ki’s on Friday night for a mix of music and supreme food. It’s been a while since this trio did our thing and it’ll be fun to bring that sound back. See you there!

Lisa Hightower and Peter. photo by Michael Oletta

Lisa Hightower and Peter.
photo by Michael Oletta

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back early next week for some cool news….all best, Peter

Ornette’s Infiltration Into a High School Choir!

Greetings Good Folks, Ornette Coleman, free jazz, wicked warping melodic lines melting from a plastic saxophone, forging their way uprooted from the chord changes, what chord changes, beyond chord changes! Not the kind of mom and pop high school vocal choir song of choice for this modern age. Yet, it’s happened and it’s a hoot! Check it out…

A few years back I penned a lyric to Ornette’s 11 bar (blues are usually 12 bars in length) song called “Blues Connotation.” It feels like a blues but it takes a few swerves in the road. My lyric talks about the potential hazards of taking a guitar out into the world and plugging in, about shunning the old tradition, bucking the dead horse. “Free jazz, and play the blues the way you want.” I’m laughing!

Next, Lehua Pischke, a super cool vocal choir director from the Juanita High School in Kirkland, Washington contacted me (not sure where she heard our version of the tune) and asked if her choir could sing it. Heck yes, bring it on, spread the good twisted news of Ornette into high schools throughout this wide nation.

A few months passed (they were rehearsing I’m guessing) and along comes this vid of the girls singing Ornette’s blues line. Life is amazing isn’t it?

YouTube vid of the girls singing "Blues Connotation"

YouTube vid of the girls singing “Blues Connotation”

Thanks Lehua and the kids, you’re amazing and you made my day!

For this week in live gigs, I’ll be hanging out at the Roxy two times and this makes me happy. First up, it’s a Thursday night solo excursion with me and the six strings leading the way. Come and enjoy the music and the great food.

Soloing in silhouette. photo by Thomas Westerlin

Soloing in silhouette.
photo by Thomas Westerlin

On Saturday night we’re getting my brother Tripp and his daughter Kate into the loop for a night of jazz and young Kate’s angle on music. She’s a gem and she’s got some new tunes lined up. Word on the street is it that our sister Terry might fall by with her cajon and add some percussive elements into the mix. Sprague Revolution meets downtown Encinitas all coming together at the Roxy. See you there!


That’s it and I’m flying in the saltwater as we speak, Peter