Skunks, Disney, and the Surf Mag!

Hey Friends, in Encinitas this is the time for skunks!

Every early evening in our yard, a parade of the little cuties slowly moves by, looking for tidbits.

Skunks at SpragueLand!

And then last week I had a neat gig with Dianne Reeves and the band at the amazing Walt Disney Hall. Great music and killer vibe!

Last week at Disney Hall with Dianne Reeves!
photo by Stefanie Sprague

Super surf stoke, just out, the latest edition of The Surfer’s Journal has a seven page article (pics too) on “The Schooled Chaos of Jazz: Peter Sprague finds the harmony between pursuits—one selfish, one giving”. This astute and creative writer/surfer named Kimball Taylor took it upon himself to grill me about how surfing and music work in tandem. We surfed, went out to breakfast, he even came by an outdoor gig with his little baby, and after all that, we may have come to some profound universal truth.  

Sound wave + ocean wave = fun!

Maybe, maybe not, but one thing I know, this magazine is one of the prettiest of periodicals ever and to be included in an issue is a life long dream. 

Check it out:

On the weekly gig front it starts out on Thursday night at the Mission Brewery near Petco Park. Leonard procured this gig and he say’s it’s a cool place and we’ll have fun. I believe him and hope you can launch out and join in.

I’ve got some funny chord going on and Leonard’s trying to memorize the fingering.
Photo by Steve Wood

On Friday night we’re bringing together the whole jazz community to Celebrate Butch Lacy. It’ll be at Dizzy’s and Gunnar’s leading things off along with Barnaby Finch on piano, Mark Lessman on sax, Kevyn Lettau singing, Duncan drumming, and me strumming.

Back in the early 1980’s Butch was our man of music. Swinging like Wynton Kelly, composing up a storm, a jazz orator and spokesperson of the highest order. A bunch of the young musicians of our era studied with Butch, performed with Butch and for certain laughed the night away with Butch. Funny cat! 

I learned a lot of my reharmonization tricks from Butch. He could take “Amazing Grace” and transform the already gem of a song and make it sparkle in a new fresh way, never jazz damaging the natural feel of the original tune.

When you played a concert with Butch, he’d stand up from the piano between songs and talk with the audience about where the next song was heading. He had stories to share and this was new back then — the idea (the folksters have always been good at this) of including the audience into what makes the music work and what we, the musos are thinking about. This had a profound impact on the folks that listened to Butch. They loved him! Of course they loved his music but through his words and vibe they also made a human connection. 

It’ll be a night of Butch’s music, songs that he wrote and standards that he loved. Hope to see you there!

Here’s Butch playing in the studio on our first record ever! It was 1975 and the recording was called “You Make Me Want To Sing”.
photo by Hall Sprague

George Varga’s article about the gig.

I have strong ties to Del Mar! I grew up there and know the magic of the backstreets and the trails leading off into incredible kid imagination universes. That’s where we learned to surf and our first band, The Minor Jazz Quintet (we were all minors) had a steady Sunday gig at the Golden Rolling Belly on 15th St. and Coast Highway.

So it is with great pleasure that the higher ups in Del Mar have included my brother Tripp and I in the opening celebration of the new Del Mar Civic Center on Saturday afternoon. They built this incredible new world right there at 11th Street and we’ll fill the air with music as folks get their first chance of seeing where it’s at. Me too, I want a tour! Where the building sits now, back in my day, was a Catholic School and me and the gang used to zip through the grounds on our bikes. I remember cool jumps (helmets weren’t invented yet) and living the dream of Del Mar. 

On Saturday we’re returning to the dream and hope you will too!

The Sprague Brothers riding again with Peter in the front and Tripp the captive passenger.

Friends, that’s the story for this week and it’ll be good to see you. 

all the best, Peter