Bop Moderno Week of Jazz

Dear Friends, coming to you with icy fingers, navigating the fretboard, chasing the muse as it plays hide and seek with winter. I performed outside on the street corner at night in Little Italy last week. Try as I might to croon the theme to “Key Largo”, my fingers kept leading me back to endless looped versions of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. This is how we roll in Cali in the winter.This is the week of Bop Moderno. A while back I was inspired to start a group that would embrace a sound that I’ve always loved—that of trumpet and sax playing cool bebop themes over a percolating rhythm section. Think Miles and Wayne Shorter, Blue Mitchell with Junior Cook, Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan and many others. With this idea in play, I also took the opportunity to include the brilliant trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos into our sphere of influence. I’ve always loved his playing, his spirit for music, and his enthusiasm for sharing jazz with the community. This group foil would be a perfect setup to include Gilbert into our exploration of some new sonic territory.

I set out to do some composing and arranging for the group and this led to a few rehearsals and then last week we played our first hit at The Merc in Temecula. We had a stellar time! The new music and great players made for an exciting night of music. Check out the recent UTSanDiego piece.

And lucky for us as we have 3 more opportunities this week to get inside the new repertoire. Tonight we’re driving up to Pasadena to play a concert at the Los Angeles Music Academy. I doubt that you’d be able to make that one. And then on Thursday, during the day, we’re playing a daytime concert at a school in Oceanside. Unfortunately this one is just for the students.

But,,,,,,,, TAH DAH,,,,, the concert that you can and should try to attend happens on Saturday night at the Museum of Making Music. This is a great listening spot with good sound and a spirited audience. You’ll get the best version of our group to date—the kinks will be worked out and the vibe of playing in our hometown is paramount. Ready for lift off and hope to see you there! Gig deets here.

Immersed in the cobalt blue of the Merc, presenting Bop Moderno for the first time. Peter on the left, Gilbert, Gunnar, Duncan, and Tripp.  photo by Gordon Johnson.

Immersed in the cobalt blue of the Merc, presenting Bop Moderno for the first time. Peter on the left, Gunnar, Gilbert, Duncan, and Tripp.
photo by Gordon Johnson.

This is a heavy driving week for me. Today it’ll be Tripp and me carpooling to LA and back. Tomorrow it’ll be Geoffrey Keezer and I manning the Element out to Rancho Mirage to play a concert with vocalist Denise Donatelli. Long drive, lots of stories, questionable views through the endless burbs of L.A., killer music, more miles, more music and gorgeous views to the backside of Idyllwild. Out of neutral and beyond!

All of this car time leads me to maintain BALANCE through ocean time. So folks, as soon as I finish this gig email I’m hightailing it for a chilled surf sesh. See you out there in an hour!

Putting the last little tweaks on the mix and then heading out to catch some ocean beauties.

Putting the last little tweaks on the mix and then heading out to catch some ocean beauties.

signing off, Peter


“Moot Point” This week I’m immersed in the song list for our BopMod gigs and at the top of the set is “Moot Point”. I wrote this a couple of years back for the Mill Creek Road album. We needed a semi-modal swinger and I included those elements along with some time meter shifting into the nuts and bolts of the composition. Listen to Geoffrey Keezer’s amazing piano solo! He devours C minor 7 and dances on the 5/4 time shift as if it’s nothing special. Along with Keezer and myself, Duncan and Hamilton Price hold down the rhythm section with rock solid intent. It’s a hard-hitting beauty and we’re still exploring this tune today. Check it out here