Master Guitar News 2014
2014 Retrospective - Part 2
December 31: First of all, rotating drummers for the BB's gig instead of immediately replacing Don has been a great way to play with all kinds of wonderful drummers. I've tried to document them all with photos and I apologize if I've left anyone out. I can honestly say there has not been a single dud. They've all been very enjoyable to work with. I could write paragraphs about each one but the photos will have to suffice. As far as who will ultimately replace Don...that will be up to Mama Ray. After all, the jam is a MATRIARCHY! I think it will be a while before any decision is made - we keep thinking of drummers we haven't booked yet!
As I've gotten older it has become a goal of mine to work with some of the younger players around town. I now want to be the oldest guy in the band. Because if I'm the youngest guy in the band...
So to that end I'm excited to work as much as I am with the aforementioned Bree Plaster.
Also Jeramy Johnston - a great young bass player.
Thru my friend Terry Hancock I met and played a gig with a wonderful young guitarist, Tim Braun.
Did some duo work with singer Ron Gutierrez. We will be doing an acoustic duo every 3rd Friday at Cascone's North thru March
Played a real fun gig with Forrest Stuart on bass and Kevin Johnson on drums. I played acoustic guitar and did some looping. Not everyone can play comfortably with loops created on the fly. Forrest did a great job. Kevin's an old hand at it. Would like to do more!
The acoustic trio, Valentine & the Ticklers just keeps working. As I write this we have been booked 2 Fridays a month at Jazz Legends through December of 2015. Long live the Ticklers!
Sometimes the Ticklers will add a drummer. That was Thomas Walker for this gig. Watch Mark Valentine put his particular stank on this song!
Again thru Terry Hancock I played a gig with Terry and Rick Yord on bass. Now that's a strong Trio!
So here I am telling Rick what to play and then totally screwing up the first chord.
Got to play a Sticks of Thunder gig - the accompanying band is called Full Disclosure. It included myself, Tony Rustici on Keys, Terry Hancock on drums, James Albright on bass and Lupe Munoz upfront on congas and vocals. Check out this cell phone video of a quickie Sticks of Thunder rehearsal in the Green Room before the show. From left to right around the table is: Bryon Alford, Kelsey Cook, Lupe Munoz, James Albright, Ray DiMarchi, Tony Rustici and Terry Hancock (who is reading his part!)
It was good to see one of my former students who has hit the big-time, Dan Weller. Dan plays with Florida-Georgia Line. I would like to say that I taught him everything he knows but it's not true! He knows plenty I didn't teach him, not the least of which is how to be in one of the biggest bands in the world right now!
This is Leon Brady. He gave me my first music store teaching position back in the early 80's. But more importantly, he's a drummer who has toured and recorded with Ray Charles. That's Ray M-F-in' Charles people! He's played with Max Roach, Clark Terry, George Salisbury, Marilyn Maye, Grover Washington, Carmel Jones, George Duke, John Park and many others. That's some serious resume there dudes! And this year I got to play with him!
Steve Barrett put together a Southwest High School Class of '74 Reunion Jam at BB's. I was in that class although I moved and actually graduated from a different school. But I spent some formative years learning how to play, and how to be in a band, with some people from that school. So I was delighted to be in the host band for the event. I saw and played with guys I have not played with in decades. Old friends who took differrent roads than the one I took. But many of them still play, and still gig. It was a fun and nostalgic gig for me.
Bill King (bass,vocals) and Jack Dougherty (guitar, vocals)
Jay EuDaly Chris Symmonds Bill King
Jay EuDaly Steve Barrett Jackie Barrett
Jay EuDaly Brian Scott (drums) Steve Barrett
I got to do a couple of real fun radio shows this year. Usually radio shows are kind of high pressure - you're under the gun time-wise. You only have a few minutes and, I for one, have a difficult time giving quick, succinct answers. I think too much about what I should say and what I can leave out and struggle not to go "Uuuuhmm" and "Well....uhm...." Both these shows were 2 hours long and I got the whole two hours!
The first was the Local Artist Showcase on KKFI - a community radio station here in Kansas City. The show was hosted by Rick Chael, who is one of those Southwest alumni I spoke of above. Plus, it's community radio - that means very few commercial breaks. Rick was very interested in my CD, "My Ship". He had done his homework and we spent the whole first hour on it. It was very relaxed and enjoyable. I took the first hour and put a slide-show to it. Check it out if you have an hour to kill! After the show we went out for drinks and listened to some buddies play some kick-ass music. Good times!
Rick Chael and myself after the show
First hour with slide-show
The other radio show involved a trip to Los Angeles - Laguna Beach to be specific. While I was out there I had lunch with an old friend, Mike Harvey. Mike and I roomed together on the road back in the early 80's. Long story, not gonna go there. Anyway, part of the reason I was in California was to do a radio show on KX 93.5 FM called "Jazz Quest Radio". There are two guitarists that host the show, Brett Ecklund and Tommy Benson. It just so happens Brett is a former student. I taught him when he was a 19-year-old 80's hair-band rocker. He showed me the first ink on his arm. Now he has a torso. I also saw his first nipple ring. So later he moves to LA, chasing the dream, and now he's a 40-something jazzer who wears a suit covering his tatoos with his own jazz oriented radio show. Funny how things work out. Brett and Tommy gave me the whole two hours. We talked, played cuts from my various CDs and played together live on-air. It was a lot of fun. What is even better is the GoPro footage I got of the off-air banter.
What would make the radio show more fun?
You can listen to the entire show (the on-air version) from MasterGuitar.coms' Publicity page.
Me and Mike Harvey
Show prep with Tommy Benson
With Brett Ecklund before the show
I've just started to make some major changes to my teaching activities. It involves focusing my energies towards an online teaching presence. It includes online lessons, some free and some for sale, to site members of MasterGuitarSchool.com. So if you're a player that would be interested in accessing some of my online lessons, go to MasterGuitarSchool.com and sign up. Becoming a site member is free, and there are already several free lessons posted. The sign-up form is here. I've got big plans for this aspect of my activities in the coming year!
Well, that's just some of the high (and low) points of 2014. There are many more players and gigs I could mention but this is enough. All the photos here (and more) can be found on the MasterGuitar.com 2014 Photos page. Looking forward to 2015!
2014 Retrospective - Part 1
December 27: My year-end retrospective for this year will occur in two installments.
I started thinking about all the cool things that happened this last year and all the wonderful musicians I was able to work with. I want to talk about all that, but it seems a shadow was cast by the number of people the KC musical community lost during this year. So I want to talk about that first. There were many, but these are the ones that affected me most, personally. It all happened in the spring, one after the other.
First, sometime during the night of February 18/19, the long-time drummer for Mama Ray's jam, Don Glaza, unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. I will never forget Mama Ray's tearful telephone call to me the morning of the 19th to inform me of Don's death. I'd known Don since the 80's when I hired him for one of the bands I led, the Regular Guys. After Don's death, instead of immediately replacing him, we decided to rotate drummers for a while. I will talk about that in my next installment when I talk about all the wonderful drummers I've played with this year, but suffice to say, I've missed Don every single Saturday since the last one he played. You can read the MasterGuitar NEWS entry concerning Don's passing here.
This is the last photo I have of Don, taken February 1st, 2014. Two weeks later, February 15, would be the last gig I would play with Don, at least in this life.
Then, on March 27, Dionne Jeroue left us. I didn't know her as well as others, but I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I have ever known, a strong woman, with a personality to match, and a wonderful voice. Every time I was on stage with her I thought, “This woman has it all.” Looks, talent, drive. This applied to her life in general, not just her music career. She was a high achiever, and had overcome horrible obstacles. She apparently took her own life, and frankly, I can't really process that to this day. That is the main reason there's nothing in MasterGuitar NEWS about it - I just couldn't process it. It was a horrible shock that I can't resolve. You just have to live with it. You just never know what a person is, or has, gone through. But everyone has their battles and demons to fight – everyone.
On May 15, CJ Monroe passed away from complications due to a stroke. That's Allen Monroe's wife. Alan is the keyboard player for Mama Ray's jam. I can talk about Allen here without embarrassing him because he doesn't even own a computer, much less interact with anybody on FaceBook or email! CJ died on Wednesday morning. As things turned out, the following Saturday (3 days later) was Don Glaza's memorial jam at BB's (sometimes the music business just sucks!). Mama Ray told Allen that we'd find somebody else to play the gig and Allen was like, “I'll be there.” Allen showed up and played Don's memorial 3 days after his wife died with not a single word about it – it was Don's day. That's Old School y'all. Several weeks later, Allen was playing the piano at CJ's memorial and when Ron Gutierrez sang “A House is not a Home” Alan fell apart behind his keyboard weeping – and didn't miss a single note. That's really Old School. Several years ago Allen had a cancer fight that involved several months of chemo. He didn't miss a single gig. That's REALLY Old School. I can't say enough about Allen Monroe. He is a gentle and humble spirit – and is tough as nails.
Someone should write a book about how a woman from England wound up married to a black American musician
from Kansas City - until death do us part.
Then on May 21, 6 days after CJ passed, my friend Rick Hendricks died after a long, on-again off-again battle with cancer. Rick was a wonderful blues guitarist who I'd known since the late 70's. He had studied with John Elliott who was also my teacher and mentor. John was a piece of work and anyone who studied with John was very affected by him and shared a special bond, and Rick and I spent much time talking about John and what we had gained by studying under him. At Rick's memorial his widow, Denise, told me she had a bunch of Rick's music books in the trunk of her car, and if I didn't want them she was going to throw them away. I said I would take them, and amidst the pile was all of Rick's lessons with John. It was an invaluable gift to me. I posted the story here.
This is the last picture I have of Rick, taken on January 25th, 2014. He died 4 months later.
Sorry about all this, but that's life, you know? Larry van Loon has said that the thing that sucks the most about getting older is saying goodbye to the people that go on before you do. The older I get, the more that happens, and the luckier I am.
Stay tuned for the next, more upbeat, installment. The show must go on.
December 14: New free lesson posted: Concepts for Basic Improvising (Part 2).
September 22: A few months ago I bought a digital mixer that will integrate with my MacBook Pro and have begun the process of transferring some old cassette gig tapes to digital files. Tonight I'm doing 3 tapes of the 2nd version of Mahogany, circa 1991. I've always thought of that band as being one of the best, if not the best, that I've ever been in - but I had forgotten just what a monstrous band that was. Myself, Bob Blount on bass, Chip Lewis on drums, Phil Brenner on sax, Jack Mulligan on keyboards, and of course Kevin Mahogany up front. There was really no weak link in that band. Kevin is a singer that I thought that, from a musical standpoint, was on the same level as the band - something that is not all that common. His voice was truly an instrument. I can remember comping behind his scatting and jacking around with alterations, sharp and flat 9's and 5's, and he would instantly react and adjust what he was singing like a good sax player does who is listening to what is going on behind him while he solos. He gave the band all kinds of room to do instrumentals, including quite a few originals - the writers were me and Bob Blount. Bob's tunes were always freakin' hard, man!
It was in that band that I first met Phil Brenner - a relationship which continues to this day over 30 years later. I still play with Phil almost weekly.
As for the others: Bob has dropped off the face of the earth. What I've heard has not been good and I don't feel comfortable saying any more about it. There may still be hope. But he was without doubt one of the most monstrous electric bass players I've ever worked with, and I've worked with quite a few. Jack has some kind of coporate gig where he does audio-visual stuff. A few weeks ago I did a session at Chapman's studio and Chuck (the owner) told me that Jack uses their post production facilities almost daily. He's not employed there but has a key and comes and goes as he pleases. Several years ago I was playing on an outdoor stage at a street festival and Jack walked up. I hadn't seen or talked to him in years. He had an absolutely gorgeous wife on his arm and he seemed very happy and settled - good for him. Chip still gigs around town. After a decade or two of losing touch we just recently hooked back up. I refferred him to Mama Ray and he's in the drummer rotation for the Saturday jam at BB's. As for Kevin, well...he's become somewhat world-famous: http://www.kevinmahogany.com/
September 9: Added the 2-hour podcast from the Jazz Quest Radio show I did in California on August 30th. See the Publicity page.
July 27:I will be doing a live radio show on Wednesday the 30th. It's called “Jazz Quest Radio” and I will get 2 hours. As I understand it, the first hour they will play one of my CD's in its entirety and interview me between songs. The second hour will be devoted to the subject of my method book and I will also be performing live in the studio. The show is from 9pm to 11pm Pacific Time. That would be 11pm to 1am KC time. You can stream it live from here.
July 12: So in light of the fact that my gig (Pat's Pub) was cancelled tonight on very short notice, instead of bar-hopping, scrounging for gigs and networking with other musicians (which is probably what I should have done on a weekend night off), I went home and produced another teaching video for my website: Concepts for Basic Improvising.
July 10: Solo gig this Friday at a new place (new for me): Pat's Pub - 1315 Swift, NKC.
July 2: I put a slideshow acompaniment to the first hour of the KKFI interview I did on May 15 - check it out.
June 26: This Saturday at Mama Diane Ray's jam at BB's will be a memorial jam dedicated to CJ Monroe, Allen's wife, who passed away May 15. CJ passed on Wednesday and Alan was on the gig as usual on Saturday. That's Old-School y'all.
The drummer on this special day will be Russell Lane. Russell has played with Blue River Ordnance, Leon Estell, and numerous other bands in the KC area for over 50 years.
Come on out and remember CJ with us, and show your support and love for Allen Monroe.
June 20: The drummer on Mama Ray's jam this week is John Hobbs. John and I played in a band together in the early eighties – Debbie Brown and Good Times. We also had a working jazz trio going at the same time that was fairly significant to my development as a jazz musician. Since we played in the same dance band our schedules were synced. We decided to get together, John, myself, and bassist Gary Helm, at John's house every Friday afternoon and work on jazz tunes. After a few months we started getting gigs as a jazz trio on our off nights. We played The Point, Nabil's Courtyard, and other venues as a jazz trio. An instrumental guitar/bass/drums trio is a lot of pressure on the guitarist - I remember when we actually started gigging it was a little intimidating to have to come up with four hours worth of chordal arrangements of the heads and be the main soloist as well. No substitute for jumping in the deep end! We recorded a four-song demo of original tunes, two of mine and two written by the bass player, Gary Helm, who now plays percussion for Sons of Brazil. I am currently figuring out how to get those, and many others, digitized from literally hundreds of cassette tapes. I am looking forward to playing this Saturday with an old friend and a wonderful drummer!
So here's a couple of pics. Good Times - probably 1983. John Hobbes, Brian Tracy on keys and sax, Debbie Brown, myself, and Gary Helm on bass. The pic on the right is the trio (I can't remember what we called ourselves) playing a lunch gig in NKC.
June 5: I will be appearing as the special guest on the Jazz Quest Radio show in Laguna Beach, CA on July 30th. I will be live in the studio with hosts Brett Eklund (a former student) and Tommy Benson. I'll post more details later, when it gets closer.
May 21: My friend Rick Hendricks died this morning. I heard Tuesday that he had 1-3 months. Yesterday I heard it was days. I planned to call him today. He obviously decided to go rather than drag it out. I'm sorry I didn't make the call yesterday.
Rick subbed for me many times over the years on Mama Ray's jam. Sometimes he would come and sit in. We would sit at the bar after the gig and he'd say, "Well, there's another Saturday afternoon out of your life you can never get back."
His forte was as a straight-ahead blues guitarist. He had a very pure, sweet tone and a wicked finger vibrato every bit as good as BB King's. Here are a couple of cuts of Rick with the KC Blues Band:
Years ago, Rick gave me some very cogent advice and direction when I was at a particularly vulnerable place - I won't go into details, it doesn't reflect well on me - but Rick was in the right place at the right time and had the exact right words to say. Words that came out of hard experience for him. I will never forget it. I thank God for the life of Rick Hendricks.
May 19: The Steely Dan gig is not happening. Apparently Starlight double-booked the opening act and Funk Syndicate is the one taking the fall. Showbiz.
May 16: Tomorrows jam at BB's will be a memorial to Don Glaza. My understanding is that his mother and sister will be there. Steve Barrett will be on drums. Come on out and remember Don with us. 2-5:30.
May 11: I will be appearing on the KKFI (90.1FM) Local Showcase program this Thursday from 8-10pm. You can stream it from the index page - upper right, "Listen Now".
May 2: Opening for Steely Dan at Starlight Theater on July 19 with Funk Syndicate.
May 1: Steve Barrett is on drums for Mama Ray's jam this week.
April 24: Le batteur ce Samedi au concert de Mama Diane Ray est notre français du coin, Zac Méjean.
April 18: The drummer on the jam tomorrow will be Bob Jolley
April 12: Played a pretty fun gig last night with Forest Stuart on bass. I haven't played with Forest since I did a short stint with Ida McBeth in the early '90's - maybe the late '80's. I've got 3 videos from the gig last night: John Mayer's Waiting on the World to Change, James Taylor's Copperline, and Hotel California.
April 10: This week the drummer at Mama Ray's jam will be Ron Still. Ron is, among other things, the drummer for the Eric Clapton tribute band, Journeyman. If my memory serves me, we've never played together before. He's been around forever, and so have I, we just never wound up on the same stage at the same time. This Saturday will rectify that situation! I'm looking forward to it.
March 30: The drummer this Saturday at Mama Ray's Jam will be Thomas Walker. I worked with Thomas in one of Kevin Mahogany's groups back in 1990 or thereabouts. Thomas was also the drummer for the Jam when we were at Harlings for awhile. He has also put in a stint as Kelly Hunt's drummer. I am very much looking forward to playing with him again. He's a wonderful drummer. The last time I crossed paths with Thomas he was on the road drumming for Glenn Patrick and they played the KCK Street Blues Festival in the slot immediatly before us. That was in 2009. Check out the June 28th Entry.
March 26: Zack Mejean will be the drummer this Saturday at BB's. Zack is from France but can still shuffle off to Buffalo.
The Ticklers will be on the Fox 4 Morning Show this Friday, the 28th.
March 17: Steve Barrett will be on drums at the jam at BB's this Saturday.
March 13: Bree Plaster will be on drums this Saturday afternoon at Mama Diane Ray's jam at BB's. Check out Bree's playing with the Ruskin Quartet.
March 5: The drummer on the gig at BB's this week will be Kevin Johnson.
Feb 29: The Sunday Sessions are cancelled. It just wasn't working. My opinion is that the location was working against us.
Feb 28: In the wake of Don Glaza's death we have decided to rotate drummers for a while. Tomorrow will be Bob Jolly.
Feb 19: My friend and musical compadre of many years - most lately as the drummer for Mama Ray at the weekly Saturday Jam at BB's unexpectedly passed away in his sleep last night. I can't count how many years I've played with Don every Saturday - first at Harling's, then at the Embassy Bistro, and the last few years at BB's. But we go farther back than all that even. I hired Don to play in a band I had in the '80's called the Regular Guys. Back in those days I suffered several migraine headaches a year. Playing a gig with a migraine is just an excruciating thing to have to do. I was on this gig with a migraine one night, puking between sets, sharp needles stabbing into my eyes from the stage lights, and Don said, "You know, there's something metaphysical you can do about that; when you breathe in, visualize green, and when you breathe out, vizualize brown. In with the green, out with the brown." I thought at the time that it was something irrelevant that wasn't capable of dealing with the pain I was in and just said, "Yeah, thanks." Now I know better. I'm glad that I recently told Don about that incident and that I had gained much more respect for what he'd said in the intervening 30 years since then. Of course he didn't remember the incident. Don was a wonderful drummer, especially when using brushes - something that has become somewhat of a lost art, especially among pop, rock, and blues drummers. And he was a gentle soul. I will miss him. Rest in Peace Don Glaza.
Feb 9: Tonight at All Star Grill and Bar cancelled due to weather - we'll start next week.
Feb 9: Check out the promotional poster for the Sunday Sessions.
February 5, 2014: Ok - I think the domain name has transferred and the new MasterGuitar.com is online. That was a big pain-in-the-ass! It took a month AFTER I paid for the upgrade. Hopefully the process is complete.
January 17th, 2014: As I'm writing this I am 2 days into trying to get the domain name transferred from the old masterguitar.com to this, the new masterguitar.com. It's been fairly frustrating.
On a happier note, I booked 1 Sunday a month solo at Jazz Legends through August. Keith (the assistant manager and the guy that does the booking) also offerred me 2 Tuesdays a month (or 1 Tuesday a month) if I want them. I need to talk to my Tuesday students first. I don't have that many and if I can get even a couple of them to move their lesson time/day it would be worth it.
The exception to the Sunday gig at Jazz will be February. Valentine booked me and him as a duo at the All Star Grill & Bar every Sunday starting in February with a six-week guarrantee. It's an interesting place. It's got a nice stage with a green screen and cameras so shooting video is a possibility. At this point, the plan is that we do this duo and we emphasize original music. We have a special guest every week. One of the requirements for being a special guest is that you can do some original music. Step number one is to make the gig successful enough that it goes beyond six weeks - indefinite would be good. Like the Saturday gig at BB's or Mark's Brewjam that lasted for 15 years. We are going to record every show; Mark's already purchased the recording gear. IF we can get the gig to last for a while (like several years), we will release a live CD every year featuring Mark, myself, and special guests. All original music. We'll get some publishing action going and see where it leads. Needless to say if this actually happens, I will be massively double-booked on Sundays. That's a better problem to have than to turn down Sundays at Jazz and then have the deal with Mark not go beyond 6 weeks. I'll deall with the potential double-booking if and when it happens.
January 7th, 2014: [This is the last entry on the old masterguitar.com.] The new teaching website is online at MasterGuitarSchool.com. The redesigned masterguitar.com is getting close to being done. This may be one of the last entries on this version of MasterGuitar. I've got to get with my web guy - I think I need him to transfer the domain name over to the new site. The main thing the new site will not have is the scam pages. Those were fun and entertaining - and informative - but to recreate them on the new site was going to be a daunting task. I decided it wasn't worth it, ultimately. I'm toying with the idea of building a site just for my reverse-scam stuff - just for fun. Yesterday I figured out how to copy MasterGuitar (built and maintained with MS FrontPage) onto a flash drive. I figured whatever computer was accessing the drive would have to have Microsoft FrontPage installed in order to be able to read it. I was wrong and I'm very happy about that. My Mac will open it up. So MasterGuitar is now backed up on a flash drive, my Mac laptop, and my home studio PC. I will still be able to access it at any time, even though it will not be online.
Yesterday was the day I switched to generating my teaching records on a new MacBook Pro that I bought a month and a half ago. I decided to just start fresh in January. I have decades of teaching records on MS Works spreadsheets. After going through several scenarios of how to convert those thousands of files into something my Mac can open up I just went, "Screw it, I'll just start over." I'm using Open Office spreadsheets; both the Mac and the PC can read those. I'll keep the PC's that I have in the 2 music store locations for several months but will be doing everything on the Mac. After a few months I shouldn't need to access the old files and will take all the old PC's home.
My main issue at the moment is downloading something so the Mac can open .max files. These were created by Paper Port scans. I have tons of charts that I give to students and I really need to be able to access them. Last night I downloaded Genieo - it said it would open .max files. Big mistake. Not only would it not open my .max files, it basically hijacked my browser (Safari). It changed everything. It opened on startup and couldn't be deleted - it was like a Trojan. It had an RSS news feed that popped up every time I opened the browser. It installed a toolbar that opened every website on my "recent" page - so instantly upon opening the browser there were like, 30 tabs open to different websites. I spent a couple of hours today dealing with it and cussing. I think I got it uninstalled and I've reconfigured my browser back to the way it was. Whew! So...I still need something that will read .max files.
There will be no new pictures on this site - I'm already adding new pics to the redesigned site. I'll keep the Gig Schedule current as long as this site is online. Other than that and maybe another entry or two here, I'm done with this version of Master Guitar. Onward!