DECEMBER 24th, 2004  6:02

  i'd like to wish everyone a merry Christmas & happy holidays! i hope everyone has joy in their lives and remembers to focus on all that we have to be grateful for, no matter what the circumstances.
  i've had an amazing year and it's been very exciting as i experienced the ups & downs of putting out my own CD . i thank God for all my success and for the great & wonderful people in my life who helped me achieve it. and i thank all of  you all for your support- i really, really appreciate it! i look forward to 2005 as i continue my quest, venturing into even  more uncharted (at least, for me) waters, like europe & asia. actually, those are continents, not "waters", but i'll work that out when i get there.

DECEMBER 14th, 2004  6:47pm

  so i had a nice talk with jack zucker the other night. he is the author of the incredible guitar book, sheets of sound for guitar. you  can check it out at . it was interesting. he shared his own trials and tribulations that he experiences in the promotion of his publication and it paralleled my own story of promoting a CD. as it turns out, there are advantages to being independent in the book world as well as the CD world. the conversation also got me more interested in producing my own instructional material. i have long since thought that the world doesn't really need another guitar book but i might take a different tack and focus and material that addresses subjects such as the deeper depths of how to practice and how to develop a personal, goal oriented, curriculum.
  i've been studying out of jack's book (300 pages) fro a few months now. i'm on my third time through it. i've been dong a major redo on my right hand picking technique and am slowly but surely switching over to a more "economy", or "sweep picking" as they call it, approach. this is what his book is all about for the most part. after 30 years of being a strict alternate picker, it is a pretty serious overhaul for me. but i have been able to put a lot of time in on it and with consistent effort, i am now seeing results. i first mentioned all this back in my JUlY 3rd blog entry. it's just now starting to show up in my live playing.pretty soon i should sound just like michael brecker.            kidding.
  on a slightly different but equally significant note, i'm also considering doing a major change-up in my gear and i might get into using a boutique tube amp and pedal board. this is a rather large can of worms to open at this point, but you know me, the more plates i've got spinning in the air, the better. i have to do some research but we'll see.        okay, i'm now off to claremont to get ready for my radio show manana. i've got to be there early so i'm staying out there to avoid the gnarly traffic in the morning. getting up at 7:00 for me is the equivalent of you getting up at 3am when you usually sleep 'till 7.

DECEMBER 11th, 2004  2:35am

  okay- now i can tell this story...
  i found out three weeks ago that my CD was in the top 35 to be chosen for a GRAMMY for best packaging. from those 35 would the five nominees be picked.
  when i went to my gig at mon on 11/14, phil collin, the manager, tells me that his partner back in chicago is on one of the N.A.R.A.S. committees that judges this category, best packaging. phil's buddy recognized my CD because phil sent him one since that's is what they did, design website and CD covers and he thought he would dig it, which he did.
  well now, i didn't get it now, did i?. but you can imagine how intense that would  be to get a GRAMMY nomination for my first record ! albeit, it's a funny category for a jazz musician, but i'd take it! the only weirder category is best liner notes (now, that would be harder to milk for all its worth). but it would've certainly drawn attention to my record and given me a huge boost in marketing. and also, it wasn't for best jazz packaging, it was overall, as in every music style.
  i think i know why i didn't get the nomination, too. when i submitted the record (of which i also submitted for best jazz record, best instrumental solo, best engineering and best producer), i had to send in, like, 10 to 13 CD's per category. now i think that means that the first round of committees that voted for my CD for packaging actually had it in their hands. now those of you that have seen my CD, the charm is in the embossing, the die-cut & the "spot UV coating" (the shiny stuff on it). but when it went to these final groups of committees throughout the US, they were probably just sent photos of it. so that took out most of the bitchin'' design impact, if not all the impact.
  oh well. it still feels good to know i got that close. and, of course, the main kudos go out to edward martinez & dave amason, who designed the thing. they rock.
i have to admit, i practiced a few versions of acceptance speeches in my head and they all ended with "and the music inside is nice too."

DECEMBER 4th, 2004  4:05am

  last night i spoke at my friend's, chuck hughes, music business class at golden west college. it went well. i've taught my whole life but always private students so it was a trip to address a large class. i was there to give insight to the Do It Yourself approach to releasing a record. i am no expert, of course, but i am in the trenches so to speak.  and just the little bit of time i listened to chuck teach was quite informative. i most definitely ought to take his class myself. i found it interesting that, after i asked for a show of hands, most of the kids were not chasing "the big record deal in the sky." it seems to be becoming more clear to them that, in this current music business climate, independent is the way to go.
  i finally got around to ordering these couple of CD's i've wanted by jonathon kriesberg. man! he is the shit for sure! i highly recommend you check it out. great chops & great melodic ideas. i haven't transcribed any guitar stuff for a while but i think it's time to get into some of this.

DECEMBER 3, 2004  3:47am

  last night i went to see this cool show with terence love, the owner of steamers jazz club. it was this genesis tribute band that recreated the lamb lies down on broadway tour from '74. it was pretty amazing how much they nailed it- musically as well as the stage production. the band is called the musical box and you can check out their stuff at they have a cool page of pics (click on menu bar: the musical box, then the lamb, then genesis/TMB) that compares the original genesis tour to TMB's version.
  it kills me how there's such a huge market for tribute bands. i guess it's a cool thing if you're into it. there just now getting more popular here on the west coast  and i understand they've been huge in europe for a while. there's even jazz/fusion tribute bands. i know there's a cool band called the mahavishnu project that cops john mclaughlin's stuff and i'm sure there's a weather report version somewhere on the planet.
  and i suppose there's a kid out there with a striped t-shirt and frizzy hair doing a cop on phase dance.
  no...i won't make an obvious joke about an MVD trio tribute band. but hey, you guys can- send me what you think one would have to do to recreate the MVD3 experience. and remember, the name of a tribute band has to be some kind of reference to the artist, like, my friend's aerosmith band is called pump and there' a pink floyd band called bricks in the wall. since i have no lyrics, it'll be a challenge. go ahead, have some fun at my expense.

NOVEMBER 29, 2004  3:40am

  so i'm getting some great players for these upcoming gigs. at steamers jazz club i'll have darek oles on bass, bob sheppard on sax and mark ferber on drums. at la ve lee on 1/13/04 i'll have the same but it's looking like jimmy haslip will be playing bass. hopefully these names will draw people out to the gigs. ya know, hopefully, someday my name will draw people out to the gig.

NOVEMBER 22, 2004 9:40pm

  i did the tower records in-store performance last night and it  was a success, as far as those things go. i got a decent crowd so i didn't have to kick artie fufkin's ass (spinal tap reference- if you haven't seen that movie, please leave my website immediately). i find it interesting that i get a better turnout at an in-store than i do at a club. i guess 4:00 on a sunday afternoon is an easy time for people. i must say, it has been especially challenging lately to get people out these days. everyone i talk to is experiencing the same difficulties. so i'd like to ask my readers/listeners if they could make a special effort towards supporting live music. and specifically, my live music. i've got some gigs coming up (see calendar) that i really, really need to get a good crowd to. i'm exploring everything i can think of (and some things i can't) to promote my shows. i am very determined not to buy into the negative village thinking of jazz artists and the "nobody loves us or cares" mentality . i mean, how hard can it be to get 20 people to a gig?
  so i'm asking you all out there to do your part. and if you yourself can't make it, maybe you could send a sub?

NOVEMBER 16, 2004  2:53am

  there's this great documentary on the life of tom dowd, called tom dowd & the language of music, that i caught on the sundance channel the other night. what a fantastic life that man had, producing all those incredible artists. a definite must-see.
  my gig sunday with darek oles and stevie distanislau went well except for the turnout. i have a tough time getting people out to shows at that club. actually, everybody is having a tough time these days getting people out to their gigs. it just fires me up even more to see just how far i can go with promoting a gig. there still are some areas i can tap into for finding people that are will go out and see live music.
  the next few months are definitely filling up with good things. i scored a date at la ve lee in studio city. i even got the exact date i wanted- the thursday after IAJE. it should work out well, being able to promote it for four days at a jazz conference. plus, i think i'll use jimmy haslip and bob sheppard to boost my drawing power. i also will be doing a live radio show in december with the trio on KSPC 88.7 fm. it's tony palkovic's jazz/fusion show. i'm sure that will prove to be an interesting experience.

NOVEMBER 10, 2004  5:33am

  sandra & i went up to see the christian mcbride band along with the larry goldings/john scofield/jack dejohnette band at the cerritos performing arts center saturday night. holy moly what a rockin' band christian had! i can't name the guys because i can't find the program and i'd never heard of them before. but when he introduced them, he rattled off who they've played/toured with and they were definitely some happening yo-cats.
  the trio with larry, john & jack was a tribute to tony williams. they were cool but they came on after CMB and were such a different sonic vibe. i hate to say it, but they were kinda dull compared to the first set with CMB. and sco's tone was not that great. when did he start playing through vox amps?! i was surprised because his sound on his latest CD, en route, is very cool- lots of character. they were definitely some killer moments in their set though. i think it would've been a different experience had they not had an opening band.
  after the show i got to say hi to john and tell him i was the guy whose student gave him the CD in boston and whose drummer talked to him in seattle two days later (see blog entry OCTOBER 2nd, 2004). he said he'd listened to my CD and that he "enjoyed it". a simple compliment but i'll take it. i then told him he needs to check out line 6 amps. kidding. what was funny was how i got to talk to john. i managed to fail miserably at getting backstage after the show. i'd wanted to say hi to larry and to john as well as give a CD to jack. but those amazing elderly cerritos center security guards stonewalled me! bastards. i then found myself actually waiting outside in the dark coldness by the stage door hoping to catch them leaving. when i finally realized i was losing what little was left of my dignity (don't they know who i am, dammit?!) i went to find the car. as i was leaving the parking lot i swung by the building once more, just in time to find john walking by himself with his guitar case slung on his back. i pulled up and rolled down my window and very quickly explained i who i was. he probably thought for a second he was about to be robbed. he was very nice for someone who had to get on a plane to europe at 5am the next morning.
  i guess i'm still at the stage where i get jazzed about talking to famous players who i've grown up listening to. i know, they're just regular people.
they just happen to play really fucking good.

NOVEMBER 5, 2004  4:52pm (yes- that's right, PM, not AM. it's a first)

  i think this is the least anxious i've felt about my career since i released the CD. i now have a solid game plan for the next year and i feel very good about it. i think i was concerned about missing the window of opportunity in promoting my CD right after its release. i keep having to remind myself that i am the record label handling the marketing for the record and i can keep promoting it as long as i want. it is easy to get worried about that gap between records where one can lose the momentum achieved at the initial outset of the release. and that's why this deal i'm setting up with klew media is a good move. it will be a "2nd phase ad campaign," if you will, and will run february & march of 2005, right after the IAJE, NAMM & MIDEM conferences. so it will be a good follow-up to those schmooze fests, plus keep my name & my CD out there in the jazz world.
  the second part of the game plan is to tour. i am now pursuing shows in 5 or 6 major cities throughout the US and will continue to book things in as many different  major (& not so major) cities's as possible for the next year. i'm shootin' for one gig a month. they'll probably just be one- offs. at this point in my learning how to be a booking agent, i couldn't imagine how to put a string of shows together within a short period of time, let alone in any semblance of geographical order.
  then, after all these efforts, next fall i can approach booking agencies (and maybe even some labels) and present myself as an artist who already has been "developed" to a certain degree. this is clearly the approach any independent artist must take. again, as label owner, i'm not going to stop the promotion/marketing game after just a few months like a major label would do. many would agree that this is a significant problem with the industry these days, that very little time is spent establishing a presence for a new act before moving on to the next big thing. there are so many horror stories of acts signed to labels who get lost in the roster and just don't receive the support needed to break out a new act. that's why i keep saying it's actually an advantage these days to not being signed to a label.
and being the only artist on my label, i get all the attention. DIY rocks!

NOVEMBER 3, 2004  5:40am

  so jazz times magazine finally came out with the review of ITPM in it. the review's neither here nor there really. i guess it's good but it ends on kind of a low note with some comments about the production being  "too clean and smooth". i think i know what he means because the production is so clean it almost takes some aggressiveness out of the songs . it's not a bad review. but i don't think it's going to make anyone run out and buy the CD. anyways, i'm just grateful for getting in the magazine- more exposure for the record.
  speaking of more exposure, i had a meeting with klew media today and they have a very interesting proposal for a marketing campaign that will focus on, among other things, internet radio and newsgroups & bulletin boards. i think i'm going to have them do it in february/march of next year. i really like the idea of spreading out the promotion of the CD like this. it keeps it out there in the world. if i were signed to a real label, they would be so done with the marketing by now. let's hear it for artist development!
  and speaking of 4 more years & the end of our environment as we know it, did everyone vote? not enough of you, i guess.
i voted for president bartlet from west wing.

OCTOBER 31, 2004  2:06am

  so the record has been nominated for best album art in the independent music awards. how very cool. even if i don't win, as a finalist i show up in all their promotional stuff- website, press, magazines, etc. i don't know yet if they've picked the finalists in the other categories so i'm hoping i can get one for best jazz album. not to sound like an ungrateful bastard (too late!) but i can't really use an award in best album art to promote my music. it's funny that way- like the great review i got in modern's kinda odd to use a quote from that review and then I.D. it as modern drummer magazine. it's an album by a guitar player, you know what i mean?
  all right, so i'm an ungrateful bastard.
  i went last night up to the baked potato and saw a side project band of roger burn's- triple spec. it had jimmy haslip on bass, bob sheppard on sax, dave goldblatt on keys & walfredo reyes on drums. very cool. they did a bunch of jazz/fusion covers and it was inspiring. i need to get out more often and see live music. i bitch & moan all the time about how people don't support bands in clubs so i need to practice what i preach.
speaking of baked potato, they got robbed the monday night before i played there with shapes on the 25th. these guys came in with guns and made everyone get on the floor. they took people's wallets & jewelry and the money from the safe. they popped chuck, the doorman, in the face with their gun and broke his nose. my friend dave hill was playing there with his band and said it was pretty hairy. the audience was mostly students from the musician's institute and the LA music academy. why on earth anybody would rob a jazz club on a monday night is beyond me. not to make light of it, but dave said, "i didn't realize jazz could be so violent".

OCTOBER 21, 2004  2:30am

  i went up to steamers jazz cafe last saturday night to see anthony wilson play. it was terence love's 10 year anniversary of opening the club so it was packed. man, anthony was amazing! i truly enjoyed his playing, composing & arranging. he did this one tune that was at least an hour long and was kinda like a movie with many different sections blending into one another. he has a nonet and it inspired me to do some horn arranging for my next record. anthony has been touring with diana krall and one of his earlier records was nominated for a grammy so i suspect he's on his way to greatness. well, he's already great now, he should be famous in the jazz world.
  i'm playing with shapes this monday at the baked potato & the next night at spaghettini's. it's great music, very challenging and not my tunes for a change.

OCTOBER 15, 2004  5:03am

i actually got a ton of stuff done this week. man, i was getting a little discouraged as to the fact that i've spent the last 6 weeks going in circles. but i finally got through to people and am making good progress...

   - i scored a string endorsement with elixir strings. they even gave me top status- free strings!! whoo hooo!

   - i sent a package to jimmy mak of jimmy mak's jazz club in portland. i talked to him today and it looks good. the only thing is he doesn't have an opening until march! that's okay- that gives me more time to set up something in seattle, and maybe even other cities. hey! it's gonna be a real tour!

   - i hooked up with a guy, fred freidman, in san luis obispo who has a jazz show on their radio station KCBX, works at boo boo records    (where i can do an in-store performance), used to teach at cuesta college (where i can do a clinic), and, he runs the SLO jazz society! (he's promoted quite a few jazz concerts in the area). that's like, all the contacts you need in one person! SLO will be my first "road trip". kind of a practice run.

   - i had an excellent talk today with my new mentor, shele sonheim, and he gave me all the connections i need to make my trip to MIDEM in france totally happening. he's proving to be very generous with his advice and he's already making connections for me over in europe.

- i finally talked with this guy from tower records about doing an in-store performance at the store in my neighborhood. i've had to go-ahead from the store manager for weeks now but i had to run it through the regional guy. looks like that show will now happen within the next few weeks.

   - tim godwin at LINE 6 is working on getting me some help in financing an ad i'm going to run in the jazz education journal that comes out in january during the IAJE conference.

   - i talked to karina at la ve lee jazz club and will send her a package. a new room in LA for MVD3!

thank you, God!   progress feels good.

OCTOBER 10th, 2004  1:19am

  so we went on our last camping/hiking/fishing trip of the summer up to mineral king in the sequoia national forest. what an amazing place. this time we had our new digital camcorder so we got some fantastic footage of our hike over this ridge at 10,000 feet. when i get really good at editing this web site, i'll start putting footage up on it. another thing to learn. i'll just put that project on my list of things to do. let's call it item # 237.
  i've got so many irons in the fire at the moment i'm a tad overwhelmed. but as usual, i'll say "just the way i like it!". i'm working on setting up shows in portland, seattle, san luis obispo, & raleigh, north carolina. it's not a tour, they're just one-off gigs in locations that i have some kind of connection with. those are on top of the usual gig-chasing i do in town. i'm branching up into LA and down to san diego. i'm also chasing a clinic/concert at the musician's institute (GIT) in hollywood and i'm going to use jimmy haslip, terri lyne carrington & roger burn. and if i can swing it, i want to do some shows in LA with the same band, as well as use this line-up for the shows i do at the NAMM show in january.
  on top of all that, i've got to set up my trip to cannes, france, also in january. did i mention that the IAJE conference is in january as well? that month will be intense for sure.
  i really do love all this stuff but there are times where i just want to go watch west wing reruns and pretend i have a staff of many who are taking care of all of this.

OCTOBER 2, 2004  8:38pm

  there's this cool site for this guitarist, rob levit. he is an incredibly artistic & spiritual guy. check out his rob's writings and his art & photos pages. i really enjoy discussing the spiritual aspect of things and rob seems to be very in touch with that side of himself. great stuff.

OCTOBER 2, 2004  1:15am

  so the other night, my student/buddy john sosin, the one who's at berklee now, he calls me & tells me he went to see john scofield play. before the show he gets to talk to him and he gives him one of my CD's ( i gave sosin a bunch before he left so he could do just that when he goes to all the bitchin' shows he'll be seeing as a student there). well, when scofield takes the stage and plays his first set, he's got the thing in his back pocket so that whenever he turns around, i'm peeking out his butt. you can't buy publicity like that! granted, it's on a small scale but you can bet the sco-freaks in the front seats are thinking this is what scofield's been listening to lately, and he must really dig it, 'cause he's gotta take it everywhere. good work, sosin!
  now check this out...
  my drummer, dave owens, who's on the road with fernando ortega, he calls me tonite from seattle and he's at the john scofield show at jazz alley! i can hear sco playing in the background. so i tell dave he's got to go up after the show and ask john if he's listened to the CD. two hours later, dave calls me back to tell me how his life has been changed by listening to sco's drummer, bill stewart, and i ask him if he's talked to john. dave says "no, he's not out yet and, besides, i hate doing that kind of thing". i proceed to try & talk dave into approaching john, all the while he's gushing on & on about bill to me and then, john comes out and stands by dave at the bar. dave decides to go for it and tells me to "hang on". i can hear the whole conversation while he explains to john about boston , the CD, and the fact dave plays in my band. i couldn't hear all of it but john was polite and remembered the CD, because of all the ringers on it, most of whom he's played with. he hadn't listened to it yet, but that stands a better chance of happening, now that i've come up twice in one week. good work, dave!
  i guess i just think it's cool that sco hears about me in boston, and then 2 nights later he hears about me again in seattle. the more i can get my name out there, the better. it's all smoke and mirrors, ya know.
  did i mention that one of my other drummers,david derge, his college sweetheart was susan scofield, now john's wife & manager?              no connection is too small.
and ultimately, what does this all mean?

nothing. i just thought it was a cool story.

SEPTEMBER 29th, 2004  2:50am

  if i ever have a typical day, i guess today would be it- phone calls, follow-ups, web site research, practice, gym, emails,etc. not much to report but i seem to be all fired up to move forward now that i have these packages. i also put together my EPK (that's electronic press kit for you non-music business majors). it's a service by where you basically build your own web page that they host. it has your bio, pix, music samples, set list, stage rider, etc. it won't be replacing a real hold-in-your-hands kinda press kit but i think it'll be a good thing to email out to certain potentials. and tonight i made my first attempt at putting up pix myself on my website's gallery. i was taught by my webmaster, glen hall of the most very cool ad agency, the brainyard, and when he showed me the steps i took copious notes. but when i tried to do it just now, i didn't get past the login step with my FTP. oh well. tomorrow i shall try again. glen's been wonderful helping me out with the tweekings of the site since it's been up. he's definitely been a crucial behind-the-scenes-guy for my operation. i wish i were totally self-sufficient but there's so many facets to this whole project. i have no choice but to outscource.
  i like to say "outsource" because it makes me feel like a real business person.

SEPTEMBER 26th, 2004  2:55am

  i finished over 20 press kits today. man, what an ordeal that project became. but it was important that they be as bitchin' as they can be because, just like the CD cover, they're the person's first impression. "person" being a club owner, festival promoter, label owner, etc.( wait a minute, i'm a label owner. but i still am open to being bought out by sony). now i can seriously start chasing things because i have these packages to send out. it also looks like this MIDEM conference in france is going to happen for me since now my manager is all hot to go. we know that this is a necessary step in order to take this thing to the next level. everyone i talked to who's gone to it says it's a must. i'm starting to realize just how important europe is for a jazz career. i feel like i'm playing that board game, is it "risk"?, the one where you try to take over the world.
  i have a new motto: "until everyone on the planet has heard my CD, i'm not done promoting it".

SEPTEMBER 22nd, 2004  2:45am

  quite the day ...

  i had a near-death experience at the beach 'cause i got the cool idea that i actually had room in my life for a new hobby which led me to compulsively buying a boogie-board last week and after a gruelingly frustrating day today trying to, after two months of facing one obstacle after another, finally put press kits together while my inkjet printer ate the pages it finished, unless i watched it, and my laser printer was printing crooked, as well as intermittently printing some pages blurry (did i mention they were both printing agonizingly s l o w ?), i somehow managed to almost put together one whole kit, which was really aggravating since my goal was to get two of them over to fed-ex by 4pm and then finish 15 or so more packages by 6pm so i could hit the waves, but, after failing miserably in reaching any of my goals this day, i decided to go anyways even though i should've stayed home and worked, but that makes going surfing even more fun, so, when i got there the waves seemed a tad big but then it calmed down a little so i decided to go in and then proceeded to spend most of the time just trying to get out to the break when that huge set i saw 45 minutes earlier reappeared at a very inopportune time and i got so nailed by this ten foot wave that i didn't surface for at least 2 minutes (okay- it was, like, 40 seconds, but it was a long 40 seconds) and then 3 more came right after that and i honestly had a moment, and i'm not kidding,  where i didn't think i was going to make it.
but i did.
and if i hadn't, at least my CD's sales would improve.

SEPTEMBER 18th, 2004  11:01pm

  i had this very interesting conversation with shele sondheim yesterday. he's a bigtime producer/songwriter who i met at the GEMS music conference a few months ago and i've been meaning to call him. i'd given him a CD because he used to be heavy in the fusion scene and he seemed like a cool guy when he spoke on this panel i saw him on. he sent me an email a while back saying he enjoyed the CD. so i finally call him just to network and he not only remembers me but he starts going off about how much he loves my music and how he wants to help me by hooking me up with his contacts. he's very dialed into the european scene and that is part of why i wanted to talk to him. i didn't hardly have to say anything as he proceeded to explain all the ways he could help me out. one of the things we discussed was the idea of me going to MIDEM, the giant music conference in cannes, france. how cool would that be?! how expensive would that be?! i'm sending him a promo package and a couple of more CD's and i guess we'll see what happens. i definitely need to focus on europe because that's the best market for jazz. it's sad that the USA sucks in supporting it's indigenous music style.
  speaking of packages, my folders i designed for the press kits came out fantastic! i used the design elements of the CD package and had them embossed and then coated with a black foil on the black linen paper folder. it was supposed to be a quick project to get them made and, as usual, it turned into a scene as i ran into various snags. i'll spare us the gory details but suffice it to say that i now introduce myself as a promoter/marketing guy who used to play guitar.
but at least i have these bitchin' promo kits so there's no stopping me now, baby! i can pursue gigs and clinics galore. i don't know if people will be impressed by the material inside the folders but at least they'll sure like the cover.
  actually, i have been consistently practicing- still out of that sheets of sound for guitar book. it's starting to come along as i'm going back through the book for a second time (from back to front- i just went in reverse when i finished it). the new picking technique is not quite showing up yet in my playing at gigs but i'm definitely making progress as i do an extreme makeover in my right hand picking technique. i'm going to call jack zucker, the author, tomorrow to discuss some details of the book and to just network with another guitarist who's got a presence in the jazz instruction scene.

SEPTEMBER 13th, 2004 8:45pm

  due to server changes, i've been unable to blog for the last few days. so sorry.
  so, anyways, this movie, what the #@%!* are we thinking? is a very interesting take on a lot of the material i've been studying in the last few years- quantum physics, time & other spiritual/metaphysical realms. i saw it last monday, and then was checking out the website for it and found that one of the scientists in the movie, dr. masaru emoto, was speaking up in LA. so we went to hear him in person. it was cool, mostly for the people watching. in the movie, they showed where he did these studies where he wrote certain words on water bottles, froze the water, then photographed the ice crystals under a microscope. very interesting results. you know what? i'm realizing as i type this that it sounds dumb - you just gotta check it out on the site, there's a link to dr. emoto's site (water crystals). or better yet, see the movie. it's 1/2 documentary-1/2 scripted. i'd be curious about people's feedback.
  this pat metheny article in jazz improv magazine was very enlightening for me. i'm, of course, a huge  fan of his music. i also like how he communicates in interviews- i respect his perspectives and enjoy when he goes into depth on all aspects of music. this particular article was long and it covered a lot of different topics. but i especially connected when he shared about the challenges he faces, even at his level of proficiency. it was very encouraging for me. i gotta say, that after reading the article over the course of last week, i played better than i've ever played in my trio. those 2 gigs last weekend went great. stevie d & bill berg played their asses off. and so did larry. and even,so did i. 'cause for me, now, it's all about just letting go and playing in a state of detachment ...accepting what ever comes out. now that's creative freedom.

SEPTEMBER 8th, 2004  4:06am

  it's not a good idea to put off blogging until the end of my day (which is the beginning of most other peoples. i'll just do a short one and check in later today. i've got to get up in 4 hours for a radio interview & i don't want to be a babbling idiot on air.
  the two shows this last weekend were great! it was fun to play with 2 new drummers & larry was his usual excellent self. i was very pleased with my performance as well. it's nice to finally have these tunes down and the extra confidence brings out my higher self. i've spent the last 5 years weeding out my issues & crap. after spending most of my life convincing myself & others that i suck, i have released most of that negative thinking bullshit. it's amazing i got this far, being so neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive, and perfectionistic as i was. did i mention ADD? any ways, i'm at the best place i've ever been, spiritually, mentally, physically & musically and it just keeps getting better. i am truly blessed. thank you God,
okay, that little outburst is all i have in me for now. upcoming subjects:

  - an enlightening pat metheny interview in jazz improv magazine
  - the movie, what the @*#% are we thinking?!
  - further down the road of sheets of sound for guitar

SEPTEMBER 2nd , 2004  5:05am

  so i'm back safe from another sierra adventure. what a great trip. we hiked our butts off up above big pine (7 lakes) & independence (onion valley). great fishing & great views. i had been getting a little antsy lately since we haven't gone on but one trip this summer. these excursions are a necessary treatment for the soul. it helps me remember to just be.
  i've found yet another thing to occupy my promotional activities- songwriting competitions. i submitted a few tunes to the international songwriting competition, one of the better ones i understand. i haven't explored these things much but i have a feeling there's a ton of 'em. i also want to check out design awards for the CD. dave amason & edward martinez did such an excellent job on the package- it's got a career of its own. in submitting to ISC, i got a 6 month subscription to sonic bids- the electronic presskit people. that's another cool thing to set up.
  i'm sitting here listening to the new david crosby & graham nash CD- crosby/nash. nice. i have this idea for the next record to do this older david crosby tune off of that CSN album in 1977. i'd like to have david sing on it and use a horn section for the background harmonies. we'll see. steve distanislau plays in CPR, david's band he has with his son, james Randall, & jeff Pevar, so there's my connection. what a story that is, about james finding out in his 30's that he's david crosby's son. can you imagine not knowing who your dad is & then finding out it's someone like that? how cool. hey, maybe i'm really adopted and my dad is john maclaughlin. except that he would've been, like, 15 when he had me. and so, then, who was my mom?....i dunno, carol kaye?
it could happen.

AUGUST 28th, 2004  11:00pm

  i'm excited about the gigs coming up with steve distanislau & bill berg on drums. they're both great and it should be interesting how the tunes will sound with their input. i've known stevie d for a million years and bill i just met in january at the NAMM show when he played with wayne johnson. i've been a huge wayne johnson trio fan since 1978 when i first heard his arrowhead album. wayne & i got to be buddies on the phone when i called him to take a lesson a few years back. he's the nicest guy and we're both are avid trout fisherman. we spend hours on the phone chattin' & i've still never gotten around to taking a lesson with him. bill is also a really nice guy and i can't believe that lately i'm actually getting to hang/play with all these musicians that i've grown up listening to.
  well, speaking of fishing, i'm off to the sierra's for a few days to hike/camp/fish. i'm not sure i deserve a vacation. i wasn't exactly productive this week. well, i was attempting to get stuff done but ran into snags. like making folders for my press/promo kit. i'm going to have these cool embossed pocket folders made but first i had to find the right paper. who'da thunk that black was going to be a challenge to find? have you ever explored all the paper options in this world? geez, it's overwhelming. the one time i strive to keep things simple, it got totally out of hand.
  come to think of it, i did get a few cool things started this week. like, i submitted my CD to the GRAMMY's. i'm pretty sure a nomination in one or more categories would help my career somewhat. i could be the norah jones of fusion. except my dad isn't a famous indian sitar player. he used to play trombone in high school though. i also scored another radio interview with tony palkovic of KSPC fm.
dammit. you know what? i totally deserve a few days off. no guilt here. no siree.
  but i will put a couple of my CD's in my backpack just in case i run into any music industry types on the trail.

AUGUST 26, 2004  3:26am

  i've got to get up in 4 hours to go up & do some filming for roger burn's promo DVD. it'll be a cool hang with his band shapes, of which i play with here & there. also cool is that jimmy halsip and russel ferrante will be there. they played with us on the roger's record in april and so we're going to recreate the session for filming's sake.
  this staying up till 5 or 6 am is killer when i've got an early day. i wish i only had to sleep, like, 4 hours a week. i read somewhere that chick corea said he stays up till 7. he said "it's great for writing but it's hell for meetings."

inside joke: trent, trent, trent, trent.

AUGUST 22, 2004  2:08am

  i been listening to the complete jack johnson sessions by miles davis. what a great record! simply brilliant. it's the perfect thing to put on while you clean your house.
  these days i listen to most of my music on real player rhapsody. what a great deal! for ten bucks a month i basically have tower records in my office. and it's like 79 cents to burn a tune. which i never do. but i don't have an portable MP3 player of any kind. first of all, i'm PC (God forbid! all my music friends are devout Mac users & tend to spurn me. i'm just not a computer guy like that) and second, i don't need to be able to bring my 10,000 tunes anywhere i go. i spend the majority of my daily life working at home and when i'm in the car i'm usually on the phone. so it's the perfect set up for me. i also have emusic (same thing- $10/month) which is great for obscure stuff. they used to be really cool 'cause you had unlimited downloads, which you then actually owned and had on your hard drive. but then some nimrod was downloading, like, 20,000 tunes a month which the emusic people deemed "beyond the scope of personal listening habits" so now it's limited to 40 downloads a month. damn! that guy ruined it for everybody. i hate cheaters .

AUGUST 19, 2004,  4:38am

  man! it's official! i have had my ass kicked this week. i swear, every single project i went after turned into 4 or 5 more projects. it was like tribbles. whoever has the mid-august slot in the "when matthew goes crazy" pool must be getting excited 'cause it's looking like they're gonna win.
  on a different note, i have never gotten so into the olympics before like i have this time. those that know me know i'm not into sports, that is to say except for fencing- the only competition sport i do. but watching these events has been a pleasant diversion from my usual busy-ness. there have been some amazing competitions in all the events. and i don't think i've ever seen female shot-putters before.
  and you know, i kinda wish i hadn't.

AUGUST 15, 2004  4:50am

  i managed to get some decent practicing in tonight, about 4 hours. it felt great. i'm all the way through that sheets of sound book (by jack zucker) & now i'm going through it again a little deeper. it's totally changing my right hand picking technique. you should start seeing it show up in my playing at gigs around 2007. i also watched this joe lovano DVD i ordered. that was very underwhelming. he didn't really have a lot to say except that you should play through tunes rubato when you learn them. not the most informative hour of my life.
  i actually have two gigs in a row this labor day weekend- a saturday night at this new club, original mike's & then sunday at kikuya. i'm thinking of having tour t-shirts made up! man, if i played with the same line-up for a few weeks on the road, we'd get so burning. it'll happen soon enough. i'm trying to get hooked up with jimmy haslip & jing chi and open for them at some shows. i don't know if that'll happen- not too many jazz acts have opening acts these days. it's worth a try. my buddy steve distanislau will be drumming on the 4th. he's totally burning! he plays with david crosby, carl verheyen, and chris robinson. larry steen (also very burning) will be on bass. my first night of all subs. and it's at this club's second night of being open. should be interesting.

AUGUST 14, 2004  5:00am

so anyways...
they screwed up our room at mandalay bay & to make up for it, they gave us a penthouse suite on the 60th floor overlooking the strip. riotous!. we originally had a great room on the "house of blues" floor, with all the cool voodoo decor. but it seems the clerk at the front desk who checked us in forgot that they were installing safes in every room on that said floor the very next morning. that, coupled with a few other things that would take to long to write up, resulted in the bitchin' suite (& a free buffet!). however, the next day we tried to hang at the pool and it was a big fat drag with all the kids and their parents (most of whom you wouldn't want to see in a bathing suit). last time we were there, it was this cool, mellow hang. i thought it would be even more mellow during off-season. wrong! oh well. we made the most of it and reminded ourselves how truly fortunate we are to be able to get to go on a vacation at all. thank you, God!
but you know, the robes they had for us in the penthouse were kind of tattered and it kinda upset  us...
  i got this cool DVD in the mail from the national academy of recording arts & sciences ( as in the GRAMMY's- which i joined last month). it had all these panels on music marketing on the internet. it was extremely packed with lots of great info and, of course, another slew of web sites and stuff for me to research. but one of the things was a marketing firm that i might be able to hire to establish more of a web presence for my CD. but judging by their clientele (i.e. real record labels), it could be a little out of my league. but it would be great if i can swing it & have a ton of marketing work outsourced like that. that would free up some time for me to do other things like practice the guitar & write more songs for a second record.

AUGUST 12, 2004   5:54am

  well, i did a poor job of being in bed by 6:00am. unless i can write this entry in 6 minutes. but i had to blog something right now or it'd be too long between writings.
  i had a great trip in las vegas. my KNUV fm interview went well except that i always forget to plug my website and say where you can buy the CD. for some reason, i expect the DJ to do that. next time, i'll start every sentence with ", and...".
  visiting with mom was the usual story. but the stay at mandalay bay went good/bad/good/bad/great. it all started know what? i gotta go to bed! geez, it's light out for crying out loud! i've got students all day today and i'm fried after recording a "get out & vote" radio spot that i had been procrastinating on. it took forever.
  so i'm going to finish the vegas story tomorrow. ZZZZZZZZ.......

AUGUST 6, 2004  4:20am

  it feels good - i've had a productive couple of days.
i set up an interview with KUNV fm in las vegas with this cool dude, gig brown (is that a great jazz radio guy's name or what?! gig). i met gig in rochester in june when i went to the jazzweek radio conference. so i called him up after i decided to go to vegas this weekend to visit my mom & brother. i'll stay at manadaly bay and chill out (in 105 degree heat) & then i'll do the interview on tuesday. and the best part is...
business + pleasure = write off!!
  i'm getting closer to actually doing a show out of state. i talked to my buddy, craig snazelle, up in portland (he's a great bass player) and he'll find us a drummer and then i can go up there and play at a club-probably jimmy mak's- and then do an in-store at this huge record store, broadway millennium, and maybe a radio interview. it won't cost a lot because i won't have to fly my band up there. this might be the way to go until i figure out how to tour on a bigger level.
  and on a local note, i've got 2, count 'em, 2 in-store shows in the works for the tower records and the virgen megastore that are 3 blocks away from my house. think globally, act locally! first i take over my neighborhood, then vegas & portland, then the world!
  so, i'm still trying to figure out this google ad thing. the idea is that my sponsored link ad comes up when you do a google search on words i tell it to hook up with (like jazz guitar or jimmy haslip). it 's rather complex process of setting it up and it keeps telling me that my keywords aren't getting enough click throughs or something like that, so it slows my ad rate.  
  you know, i just realized that that last paragraph probably means nothing to you. does anybody out there know the story on this thing? it's yet another learning curve for me as i figure out how to run a record label & all the stuff that goes with it. sometimes i feel like i'm working towards my masters in business & marketing but i never took any of the BA classes and i'm trying to learn the basics as i'm in the middle of the advanced stuff.
did i mention that i love every minute of it?

AUGUST 2, 2004  8:50pm

  8 days between blog entries. bad form for bloggers as i understand it. sorry- been busy with lots cool stuff...
  the interview at KPFK went swimmingly. i thought i'd be nervous knowing that people i know would be listening but i was quite comfy. sergio mielniczenko was a very cool dude and we plugged the shit out of the potato gig. we were the first interview in the new control room and he was getting used to the new board, i guess, because he accidently cut off one of my tunes before it was over. let me tell you- 4 seconds of dead air seems like 4 hours. glad it wasn't my fault. ("hey, what's this button do?")
  the gig at the baked potato in hollywood also went swimmingly. it was a good crowd, especially for a 10:30 show on a wednesday. it meant a lot to me to play there with my own band, given its historic significance as a jazz club in LA. the band played well. andy suzuki was burning on sax. i like that line-up, having it a quartet. and now i chase my next date for there.
  friday night sandra & i went up to see the yellowjackets play at catalina's in hollywood. what great hang those guys are. it still blows my mind that they were all on my record. it was a good show and a swell time with roger burn and friends. marcus baylor hadn't seen the final CD package so he was tripped out by that. i'm gonna explore the net for CD packaging awards. you know, they give out a grammy for best package. we'll see. any ways, jimmy was his usual cool self, as well as his wife nancy. great people. he still continues to be a huge help in promoting the CD.
  sunday night i had a rocking show at kikuya. thanks to my buddy/student john sosin, it was a good crowd. john brought in about 15 of his friends and a lot of other people showed up as well. john is going off to the berklee school of music in a few weeks. he's been a huge help in supporting my gigs & i'm lucky to have him as a friend. it's fun to watch a young person explore the world of jazz. all these classic records he's getting into came out when i was his age. (geez, i sounded old just now). edmund velasco, local sax master, sat in for a few tunes and david derge was filling in for dave owens on drums. we totally killed.
  one last note- my manager, steve belkin, has made the observation that, when i blog, he has never been acknowledged for his significant role in my successful career. i agree- he certainly deserves recognition. so here it goes.."i would like to say that steve is the greatest manager i've ever had!"
now i'm off to see m. night shyamalan's the village. review to follow...

JULY 24, 2004  2:45am

  i just came from seeing this great trio, ohm, with chris poland from megadeth, kofi baker (ginger baker's son) & this cool bass player, robertino pagliari. what was a trip is that they were playing right around the corner from my house at this restaurant/bar called la cave. total 1970's. i mean, this place looks right out of a barnaby jones episode ( the one where barnaby goes to the bar to investigate the suspected murderer's girlfriend whose has too much blue eye-shadow on). it's got the red leather booths and the bartenders with the white shirts & black vests on. about 4 years ago it became a happening place to hang & they started having entertainment- some local jazz combos.
  anyways, i'm out with my wife celebrating my one year anniversary and we stop by on the way home just because we were dressed nice and we hardly ever go out. i usually hear the music there from upstairs because la cave is actually in a basement under the blockbuster video store where i rent my videos (you can totally hear the bands while you decide whether to rent tremors 3 or 4).
  so to my surprise, i'm getting to hear some hardcore fusion music in the most unlikely of places.
  i introduce myself to the guys and give them a CD. chris gives me one of theirs and it turns out to be recorded live at KPFK fm where i just did my first live LA radio interview on friday. plus, they're playing at the baked potato the night after i am next week. small world. so it was easy to introduce myself & hang with them without being too dweeby.
  i've been trying to get a gig at la cave myself so i go up to say hi to this bartender, joe, who i gave a CD to last time i was there. turns out, he's leaving (after 27 years!) & going to work at this other new club in santa ana & he tells me he wants to hire my band for there. funny how things work out. had i not gone in tonite, i would've missed talking too him & he'd be gone forever.
did i mention i was out with my wife for our anniversary? and i'm networking & schmoozing gigs!!! before you judge me too harshly, let just tell you that i have the coolest wife in the world and she understands that when opportunities come up, one must jump on them.
besides, she won't be crying when megadeth calls me to sub for chris on their big tour.
or not.
i'll write about my KPFK experience tomorrow.

JULY 21, 2004  11:40pm

  today i did my first "phoner" interview. it was with WSHA FM in raleigh, north carolina. i had met john bouille, the music director of the radio station, at the jazzweek conference in rochester last month and he & i hit it off. so we set up this interview for the "drive time" jazz show. he's a very cool guy & it went well. we talked for, like, an hour and then he played a few of my tunes off the record. at the end he gave away a couple of CD to callers. it was cool. and easy. i guess i didn't really expect to be challenged by the task of talking about myself for any length of time.  the Von Doran's- we are talkers. but john did cut me off when i started telling him about my 3rd grade teacher and the time i...
  the audience was captive due to rush hour traffic. although i suppose they could just change the channel. i taped the whole thing so i listened to it later. what's the deal with hating the sound of your own voice? i sound like rodney bingenheimer from KROQ. my poor wife, she has to listen to that all day? that does it! i'm not singing on anymore of my records. i'm gonna get sting to do it. or, as my dad calls him, string.
  anyways, i enjoyed it and i hope i can get out to raleigh and do some shows. john said the phones lit up for the giveaway when we were done.  that feels good.

JULY 15, 2004 4:20am

rented movie reviews:

the station agent- a superb indie flick! after it was over, i watched it again with the director's commentary. i learned alot about lighting, cinematography, blocking & how to get your acting friends to work for free. i think after i nail this jazz artist/record label owner thing, i'm gonna try producing/directing movies. can't be that much more work or more expensive...
can it?

the butterfly effect- it meant well but was very uneven. i think the director was trying to do an impression of M. Night Shyamalan, but failed right at the start by hiring demi moore's way too young boyfirend. besides, the butterfly effect is a reference to the consequences of changing small events. he was going back & redoing huge life-altering events. it's, like, the difference between turning one street too early going home late one night and the dumping of tens of thousands of dollars into making a jazz CD.

bad santa- what was i thinking? i just rented it 'cause i like billy bob thornton. i feel badly for him. what do you do when you're 6 months into filming a movie and you realize it's going to turn out to be a piece of shit? maybe i can fix my poor decision in renting this movie by renting elf.

JULY 10, 2004 4:45am 

  blogus interuptus! i was having trouble with contribute, my website editting program, & the server this week, so no report from moi.
so what went on this week?
ups. downs. mostly ups.
  tuesday i talked with a new friend of mine at skyline entertainment who is going to try and hook me up with the ted kurland agency. they book, like, pat metheny & the yellowjackets and a gazillion other jazz greats. maybe they'll want to take on little ol' me- 'cause i think it's time for me to make the leap from sushi bars to stadiums & amphitheaters.
  wednesday i met with an old friend of mine, steven mcClintock, who is a publisher. he can hook me up with licensing my music for film, TV, & ads. now that would be nice. i then met with some other producer/friends about filming a promotional DVD for myself. then i checked out some amps with my buddy, corey, at a cool boutique amp shop and then, i met with terence, the owner of steamers jazz club, who hooked me up with some pictures he's taken of my band & some info about some newssgroups that i can promote the CD on. now didn't i feel like the real record label owner that i am with all these meetings?
the best thing about my label, B cat records, is that i'm the only artist on the roster so i get the attention. i just wish i had verve's money & clout.

Darek sounded great at the mon gig on the 4th. he's the best. it was a great crowd- i was surprised, it being a holiday.

next big project: more LA gigs, college gigs & some touring.

JULY 3, 2004 5:39am

  i got a good day of practicing in. i've been working out of this book i just got- jack zucker's sheets of sound ( ). it's like 270 pages of exercises and stuff that incorporates different kinds of right hand picking technique. the idea is to blow saxophone-like lines on guitar. you know, john coltrane's "sheets of sound". at this stage, i think i'm blowing more like "shits of sound". it's a great book though. i'm always looking to get my chops up to the next level.
lately, i'm just happy to be practicing a few hours a day. i could spend all of it just dinkin' around on the computer pursuing promotional opportunities for the CD. it's all about striking a balance between work/play/life. a friend of mine once told me i reminded him of that guy on the ed sullivan show who spun the plates on top of those poles.
i think i'm up to 37 plates now.

JUNE 29, 20004 6:40pm

  so last night i played at the baked potato in north hollywood for the first time. not a huge deal but it was cool to me 'cause i've seen so many of my favorite musicians play there over the years. i saw larry carlton play there in 1979. whoops, dating myself. ah, who cares?- being a jazz artist, age is now irrelevant, thank God. unless you're jamie cullum.
and, on an even cooler note, justin, who books the BP called me and gave me a date there for my trio- JULY 28th. i'll be sharing the evening with another band but i get to play from 10:30 to 12:30, which is cool enough- it's sort of an audition. the things ya gotta go through to get gigs. i've been calling/emailing this guy for 2 months. he finally calls me back because jimmy haslip played there saturday night and put a bug in his ear about giving me a shot. thank you jimmy! he's incredibly helpful with this kind of stuff.
so here i go- making my fusion crusade up into LA. now i just have to pack the place on a wednesday night at 10:30.

did i mention that wednesdays are free beer night?

JUNE 27, 2004 2:50pm

  i went and saw jimmy haslip play with sandro albert friday night at spaghetinni's in seal beach. sandro's a great guitarist from brazil. gary novak was on drums & my long-time buddy quinn johnson was on piano. it was totally burning. i rarely get out to catch sets- looks like this is the month i get to see some great music. plus, it's cool that these guys played on my record. what a trip! i've been asking them if they'd be willing to sub in my band and they're all into it. once i get 4 or 5 deep on subs, it'll be easier to book gigs. i'm still at the point where it blows me away that these musicians i grew up listening to on all my favorite records are now into playing in my band. thank you God!
jimmy haslip is perhaps the most coolest human being on the planet. he is very centered & very generous. i am so priveledged to get to hang with him. i could never have made a CD like this without him. he continues to be a huge help with the promotion of it. he's always turning me on to contacts for radio, labels and whatnot.
alrighty then- i've got to go work on tunes for monday night. i'm subbing in my buddy roger burn's band shapes. we're playing at the baked potato in north hollywood. roger played vibes on my CD and he's responsible for hooking me up with jimmy. jimmy produced roger's 1st record and the one he just finished. it will be out next january. i played a bunch on it (roger actually covered one of my tunes- measure once) and shapes main guitarist, mike higgins, is on it, of course. plus, robben ford is on 2 tunes. it'll be cool.

JUNE 24, 2004 4:15am

  what a crazy busy day.
it's incredible how much there is to do when you make a CD and start a record label. it's overwhelming. but i love every minute of it. i've been a sideman all my life and now all my efforts are going towards a project with my name on it. this is incredibly satisfying.
phone calls, emails, websites, practicing guitar, gym, quality time with my wife, eating, teaching myself typing so i can do emails quicker, practicing speed reading so i can research quicker, post office, did i mention phone calls?, & writing tunes for the second CD (geesh, i just released this one 6 weeks ago).
this is my life now.
so far, so good. i am truly blessed. i'm on the jazz charts and climbing. i've gotten incredible reviews. this is all tripping me out. but at this point in my life, i've gotten pretty good at staying balanced. it's just been a while since i did the workaholic thing.
i'm listening to darek oles'  debut CD "like a dream" while i type. he's such the great bass player. i went and saw him play last week with larry goldings, peter erskine, & bob sheppard at the vic in santa monica. it was a great set and it blows my mind that all those guys played on my record. did i mention that i was blessed?
okay- off to bed....tomorrow- repeat

JUNE 18, 2004-

  Okay- so, here’s my site. I thought it would be cool to keep a journal as I go through this process of launching my career as a jazz artist. Lately, as I checked out various websites, I found myself drawn to the ones that were more kinetic- blogs, updated news & calendars, current picture galleries and so forth. With the release of my CD, lots of things are starting to happen. I thought I could share my musings as I go along. I’m just taking the leap into this and I don’t know how it will turn out. That’s the fun of it. Please feel free to respond and connect. JANUARY 1st, 2008







2008 Entries
2007 Entries
2006 Entries
2005 Entries