Uncanny Cold Warms Up With the ColtraneFest

Greetings Good People, two things are happening right now and they are weirdly connected. Last week I did a bunch of gigs (deets and photos coming up) and it was also a super frigid week for SoCal. Uncanny cold zeroing in on a house built in the ‘30’s with no insulation. That’s us, wrapped up in blankets, shuffling across the living room in search of warmth, the fireplace doing it’s best effort even though the heat is easily escaping through the walls.

So right now, the temperature is rising and I’m feeling happy about it —summer’s around the corner! Hah! And second, after last week’s concert with the titan of the tenor sax Brian Levy, I’ve felt compelled to have a non-stop ColtraneFest on iTunes. The Complete 1961 Village Vanguard Recordings is spinning now and “Chasing Another Trane” is just what the doc ordered.

There it is, two simultaneously good things at SpragueLand.Last week was a whirlwind of rehearsals and gigs. First up was the Sinne Eeg concert at Dizzy’s and many thanks to all of you for the enormous turnout. It was a fantastic evening and Sinne is an extraordinary vocalist. Her tone and pitch are perfection and her interpretation of the songs was focused and creative. And topping it off, she had some big league scat solos weaving effortlessly through the chord changes. I loved it!

So did the reviewer Robert Bush and click here to read his take on the evening.

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Sinne on vocals with Gunnar on bass and Peter on guitar.
Photo by Bob Snell.

From there the week unfolded to a hard hitting deep frost blowing session at Dizzy’s with Brian Levy, Rob Thorsen, Duncan Moore and myself. The survival mission was to keep the tempo up to battle the cold. It worked and Brian’s a new friend and collaborator.

We gathered the tribe for a cool fundraising concert at SDA in Cardiff. I loved folding some of the student musos into the loop with us. It was a big success and we’ll do it again next year!

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Yeah it’s weird on the eyes, the bushes backdrop, but the music was cooking and I was even standing up for the set.
Photo by Barbara Rix.

The ever-traveling super young supreme songstress Emily Elbert bopped into SpragueLand yesterday to record a duo version of “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” for her upcoming Duets album. We had a hoot and she sounded amazing! Look for the CD in a couple of months.

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That’s me with Emily and little Rocky boy (our dog) is along for the ride too.

And hey, did you get my “New Releases” email last night? Yup, got the 2 new discs out there and I’m really stoked with how they turned out. The online store is buzzing with activity and wouldn’t it be cool if this is how it always was? I’d be the king of “horizontal funds” — making money while sleeping. Urrr, dreaming on…

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Up for this week, I only have one public gig and it’s going to be a good one. On Thursday night I’m heading up to the beautiful Fallbrook Library to play a concert with Tripp on sax and Leonard on vocals. Mix the cool setting with the fine musos and it’s looking like it’ll be a good evening out. See you there!

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“Mundaka” When I first heard Pat Metheny’s composition “First Circle”, the earth tilted in a way that it had never tilted before. I was at Humphrey’s and they had just written the tune and it absolutely levitated with it’s hypnotic rhythmic sequence. It started there and kept building until the insanity peaked near the end. It still rings true as one of my favorite moments of music. It’s “First Circle” that I drew the inspiration for my “Mundaka” composition. I knew that we (the Peter Sprague String Consort) needed an opening number that was uplifting and would take the listener on a similar sonic journey. I spent a week working on the arrangement and at the first rehearsal with the group, I knew we had something special. The piece is set in an odd meter (11/4) and this combined with it’s regal major chord progression carries it through it’s first phase. From there it has a slow middle movement with just the cello and contrabass conversing back and forth. And last up, it’s a wild cello solo over a Spanish tapestry taking us to the main theme recap and a triumphant finale. The group played beautifully on this track and even though I just finished mixing it and have heard it ten thousand times, I’m still digging the sound after all of these listens. Check it out here

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