Xanadu 1979!

 

Top ‘o the morning to you!

I was four years out from high school and playing a lot of music. I had the good fortune to connect with the legendary saxophonist Charles McPherson and we were playing gigs around San Diego plus a little traveling too. When it came time for him to make a new record, he recruited me to play guitar. It was 1978 and I was thrilled!

We traveled up to L.A. and met up with Monte Budwig on bass and Lou Levy on piano. The record company was called Xanadu Records and it was run by Don Schlitten, who in earlier years produced recordings for Prestige Records that included artists such as Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, and Barry Harris.

The session went well and to my surprise, after we were done playing, Don, the producer asked me to submit some of my original music for consideration for my own record contract. Right when I got back to San Diego I booked some studio time and recorded some demos and whisked them off to NYC with my fingers crossed.

In a relatively short amount of time I got the good word that I was in —they offered me a four record deal and this was back when record companies not only paid the artist to make the record but also paid the sideman, paid the recording studio fees, the art and design costs, the actual record manufacturing, and finally the promo push to get the record heard. Wow, so much has changed since then.

So there I went with the Xanadu years, putting out 4 records within 4 years — Dance of the Universe, The Path, The Message Sent on the Wind, and Bird Raga. It was a splendid and creative time and how could it not of been being that Xanadu is a metaphor for an “idyllic place.” Picture this, New York City, a great recording studio, Kenny Barron on piano, bringing to life my new compositions — a Xanadu experience full bore!

For this livestream we revisit the songs that still reside on the ancient Xanadu vinyl — Samba Satchidananda, Bird Raga, Pablo, Roller Skatin’ With Sonny, and many more of the hits and misses.

The band includes some of the best with Tripp Sprague on sax and flute, John Opferkuch on piano, Mack Leighton on bass, Duncan Moore on drums, and me on guitar. Our guest remote artist for this show will be Kate Sprague singing “You Make Me Want to Sing.”

It’ll be fun and I sure hope you can tune in.

YouTube Link for the livestream

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.

Paypal: petersprague@sbcglobal.net
(It’ll show up as Satyam Music, that’s my music company)
Be sure when asked “Paying for an item or service” to hit the Change button and select the “family or friends” option to bypass the fees.
Venmo: @PeterSprague
Zelle: Peter Sprague peter@petersprague.com
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Also up for this week is a live gig at Ki’s in Cardiff on Friday night. It’ll be me along with Tripp and John Opferkuch on keyboards. Music along with great food and a springtime sunset thrown in!

Look for details below.

hope to see you there, best, Peter

Dizzy’s Tonight!

 

Greetings Sunday Friends!

We’re playing live tonight and the lean is towards Paul Simon.

Say hello to Cecila as she’s walking the 59th St. Bridge over Troubled Waters. Me and Julio are Still Crazy After All of These Years and we think we can hear The Sound of Silence. Maybe so but we can definitely hear the Train in the Distance. Tonight, if we bump into each other at the end of the gig, instead of saying “hi Peter,” better would be to just Call Me Al.

Band rehearsal! You Can Call Me (from left to right) Duncan, Mack, Allison, Peter, Tripp

Hope to see you there, best, Peter

Train in the Distance!

 

Hola Good People!

The SpragueLand Studio has been in high demand and lately it’s been all about pushing buttons and adjusting levels. Good life and it was pleasantly altered with the addition of a live Jacob Collier concert at the House of Blues. Unbelievable and he may very well be our modern day version of Mozart. Music in every direction — funk, Americana, jazz, EDM, vaudeville, samba. All of it great and appealing to the 20 to 30 year olds plus a few of us relics in attendance. The future of creative music is in good hands!

I’ve been a huge fan of Paul Simon’s music ever since I first heard the opening chord sequence of “Scarborough Fair” and the way the vocals start expanding into majestic counterpoint. All the way from there,  20 years later, we arrive at a situation where a man’s contemplating why he’s soft in the middle when the rest of his life is so hard. He sings “I can call you Betty and Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al.”

Paul Simon’s lyrics are something special to behold. I heard him talk about his process and one of the stages involved bouncing a ball against a wall and going over and over the words and phrases until they were just right—never settling for a cheap rhyme or solution. It shows, these are big league stories and big league lyrics.

Next you add the melody and the chord moves which are a steep step up from three chord justice. Yet when he was into the Graceland album and the African influence he embraced three chords as if that’s all that mattered. 

Versatile fellow and I think it’s time to celebrate his creations through our jazz lens.

For this concert we’ve got Allison Adams Tucker lined up to sing vocals along with Tripp Sprague on sax, flute, and piano; Mack Leighton on bass; Duncan Moore on drums; and me on guitar. 

Some of the songs that we’ll play include “Train in the Distance,” “Cecilia,” “Hearts and Bones,” “Sound of Silence,” and “You Can Call Me Al.” As we like to do, we’ll add our own jazz angle into the blend for a unique sonic experience.

The concert is at Dizzy’s on Sunday night at the respectable hour of 7pm. Good covid safety protocol in place, good sound over there, and splendid free parking for one and all.

Here’s to seeing angels in the architecture spinning into infinity!

that’s it, best, Peter