Loads of guitar activity playing out here at SpragueLand this week. Jumping right in, on Wednesday we’re playing a noontime Encinitas Library concert. Then at the end of the week we’re playing the very same program but this time on our Live(ish) at SpragueLand streaming YouTube channel. On Thursday night we’ll be at the San Diego Botanic Garden but sorry to say this gig is already sold out.
Your best bet might be the Sunday livestream hit and let me fill you in on the back story to this show.
Live(ish) at SpragueLand Episode 21
Peter Sprague Plays Rendezvous In Realtime
Sunday, August 1 at 7:30pm
It’s a dream for some of us composers to have built in bucks and an open calendar to create a new extended work. It doesn’t happen that often but that very magic scenario landed into my world back in 2018. I applied for the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant and apparently they liked my musical samples and the next thing I knew was I clearing up my calendar and making way for some concentrated composing exploration.
A little before I wrote the grant proposal, our recording “Samba Andaluza” was nominated for Best Jazz Recording in the 2018 San Diego Music Awards. It’s a unique group featuring Bridget Dolkas on violin, Lars Hoefs on cello, Duncan Moore on percussion, and me on the twin neck guitar. The sound is jazz chamber music with leanings towards the samba, flamenco, swing, and Celtic. It was for this ensemble that I fashioned the new work.
What emerged after a month of isolation was a three movement piece called “Rendezvous In Realtime.”
Back in the early 1960’s Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary we’re psychology professors at Harvard University. They both conducted research on the therapeutic effects of psychedelic drugs. While not illegal at the time, their research was controversial and led to Leary’s and Alpert’s dismissal from Harvard in 1963.
Alpert said that LSD can get you high but there must be a more natural solution to freeing your mind.
In 1967, Alpert traveled to India and became a disciple of Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba who gave him the name Baba Ram Dass. Ram Dass then set out on a wild life journey and documented his findings in his book first book, Be Here Now (1971) which has been described as “seminal” and helped popularize Eastern spirituality and yoga with the baby boomer generation in the West.
Be Here Now made a big impression on me when I was a young fellow and it still resonates even today. I heard him speak live in concert and the way he weaved stories and insights with the backdrop of the drone of the tambura and tabla drums was pure magic.
Be Here Now, what’s it’s modern day equivalent?
Living your life in the now, in realtime. It might be Rendezvous in Realtime…
The first movement of my suite is called Everything is Music.
Typing this note has music in it — the rhythm of the pushed keys, the pitch of the keys being pressed. The door shutting, the harmony of the train horn, the wind rustle through the trees. Everything is music.
The composition begins it’s journey in the world of classical harmony and color. From there it’s all about a bebop violin excursion with a rapid tempo and weaving arpeggios. Then the cello takes over and shares the sweet and low sound of nostalgia. Next an interlude where the vibraphone leads the way to a Brazilian samba groove with the guitar taking the lead. Improvisation leads to a 1990’s era pop figure that gets us back to the samba, and then finally back to the original classical harmony landing spot that reflects where the song first began.
A tour through sound — Everything is Music.
Movement two of the suite is called Coded By Culture.
It’s a dark and mysterious sonic setup that acknowledges that we all have certain behavioral traits that are influenced by the culture and one’s predisposed DNA strands. Can we navigate through this stuff and live freely in the now? Listen to this song and see if there’s a path through.
The final movement of the suite is a piece called Dancing Tom O’Shea.
Every year at our annual Del Mar Christmas Eve concert you might have noticed this fellow dancing all by himself to our music. Even if we’re playing bebop this dude dances and has a beautiful sense of freedom to his moves. That’s Tom O’Shea!
Where he really amps it up is dancing to Celtic music and one year we had an Irish reel up our sleeve and it turned into an epic moment with Tom O’Shea gliding through the crowd, showcasing his effortless traditional Celtic Dance form.
I named the third movement after him and as far as I can tell he’s perfected the art of rendezvousing in realtime.
In addition to the previous mentioned three movements we’ll also add in a few songs from our “Samba Andaluza” recording.
“Rendezvous In Realtime” is commissioned by Chamber Music of America’s 2018 New Jazz Works grant in association with the Doris Duke Foundation.
Peter Sprague — guitar
Bridget Dolkas — violin
Lars Hoefs — cello
Duncan Moore — percussion and vibes
Fred Benedetti — guitar
Price of admission? Actually the concert is free but we will have a “virtual tip jar” complete with PayPal, Zelle and Venmo info for you to donate whatever you feel good about. Also, old reliable snail mailing checks works too. You folks have been super generous with this and it makes us happy.
(It’ll show up as Satyam Music, that’s my music company)
Zelle: Peter Sprague firstname.lastname@example.org
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024
A few notes:
You don’t have to watch the show live. The same YouTube link will bring up the recording for you to view anytime.
If you do watch it live (and we recommend this), you can participate in the live chat during the concert as long as you have a YouTube account.
Click here https://youtu.be/MEaCbZ-DlqQ to watch a vid, leading you through the easy process of creating a YouTube account. Maybe do this before the concert begins.
If you do have an account and you’re logged in, you can type something fun into the chat box and that’s how we create modern day jazz community in this era of the pandemic. Maybe start with something simple like “Hi, this is Lisa from Wyoming” or “Hi, I’m Reggie from Portland.” By doing this we’ve got an app that will magically take your name and location and drop a pin on a spinning globe. During the show we’ll visit all of the listeners and say hi and marvel at your exotic places of residence. No worries about privacy…How many Lisa’s are in the entire state of Wyoming? Or “Reggie’s in Portland, Maine?
See you in the great algorithm of the sky!
Here’s the Botanic Garden flyer but again, sorry that it’s already sold out:
thanks for reading and see you soon, best, Peter