Photo by Andrew Fish. With Josh Hoag on bass, Wayne Duncan on drums.
I’ll be playing at Perry’s Steakhouse tonight from 6-10 with Brad Taylor on bass. Downtown Austin, 7th & Colorado. Valet parking is available.
One thing I enjoy about my work is the variety. I often go to new places and play for different types of situations. On a recent Saturday morning, I played for a graduation ceremony for Sanford-Brown College. I played some opening music, and of course played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the proud graduates filed in. I didn’t expect a big reaction from the audience, and I wasn’t disappointed. They were there, after all, to watch their children and grandchildren graduate, not to hear me play. At the end of the ceremony, rather than continue with live music, I played a recording of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” through the PA. THAT got a reaction—the parents started dancing in their seats!
Later that same day, I drove out to the Reserve at Lake Travis to play for a wedding reception. I was sitting in with Jimmy Fenno’s Original Recipe Band, playing everything from jazz standards to rock and roll. We played in the open air in a large pavilion. It was a beautiful setting, right next to Lake Travis—or what’s left of it. The effects of the long Texas drought were apparent in the low lake level.
A few nights ago, I accompanied a poetry reading at a senior living facility. I played a couple of songs, as well as “walk on” music. It was really fun to hear stories and poems written by some older members of our community. One gentleman, who I figured to be in his early 90s, told a fascinating tale of his experiences in WWII.
Last Friday, I was invited to accompany a dance class at a local Presbyterian church. I have been playing for dance classes for many years, so I was comfortable with the task, but this was a bit different. All the students taking the class were suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Evidently, they get together regularly for dance and movement classes. I was asked to come to this one because it was taught by three guest teachers who were members of the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. We probably had forty or so dancers. It was quite an experience. If anyone wants more information about this group, you can check out their website, which is powerforparkinsons.org.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of playing with some fine musicians in Dripping Springs at their “Dripping with Taste” wine tasting event. Guitarist Lonnie Atkinson put together a jazz quintet with Terry Hale (from George Strait’s band) on bass, Kevin Hall on drums, and Dr. Mark Kazanoff on saxophone. We jammed on some jazz tunes for a couple of hours in a giant, open-air arena. Lots of fun.
Last night, I joined the Austin Symphony Orchestra big band, under the direction of Anthony Corroa. We played a free concert in Wooldridge Square Park, commemorating its reopening after several months of landscaping and improvements. It was quite pleasant–we played on the gazebo as the sun set. If you missed it, the ASO big band will be doing a couple more shows there, one in October, and another in November. I’m scheduled to play on the Oct. 26 concert. We will play from 6-8 pm. Come check it out. The numerous free concerts that are put on around town are part of what makes Austin a special place.