This week I was lucky enough to hang with Michael Kaeshammer and Don Francks twice. I spent a night with Don Francks and Tony Quarrington going over potential material for our new project together…happy songs from The Great Depression, among other classic trad jazz and folk material. Likely a few originals too!
I’ve promised myself that in 2013 I will work hard and ensure that Bonzai Suzuki, my pop band with Dave Howard and some of my very best friends, and a recording and a few gigs with Don Francks will both come out sometime this fall. A lot of work, a little luck…ta da!
Don Francks has inspired me in so many ways and I really enjoy singing with him. It’s the kind of music where character makes all the difference, so unlike “real jazz” (I’m no Kurt Elling) I feel it suits my voice. With Bonzai Suzuki, I’ll do some rap and a bit of singing, but Dave Howard has one of my favourite pop voices (and has since the eighties), so even if I sing a song on a demo, I can’t wait for the final version where I get to hear him sing my lyrics.
These two musical projects give me so much joy! It’s not about climbing the charts or living in mink and gin but I do believe good vibes and great music is contagious and I look forward to the reaction from live audiences and listeners later this year.
Tony Quarrington is our main man for the trad-jazz project. I’ve worked with Tony since the nineties and love his arranging and songwriting as well as his guitar playing. I’m also pleased that he seems to be singing more. He provides some great harmonies and a character voice, ala The Ink Spots. Don worked for years with Tony’s idol, the late, great Lenny Breau, and we take plenty of time between rehearsing to hear stories of Lenny. It’s other-worldly.
Michael Kaeshammer was in town and played at Massey Hall last Saturday night. I emceed the show and brought a few friends, none of whom knew anything about him and all of them loved it so much!
Kellylee Evans won over the crowd in nano seconds; a terrific opener for any act. Kaeshammer played almost two hours and the show was as entertaining as it was musical. He allowed all the musicians to shine, especially Marc Rogers, who performed some bass solos that were other-worldly.
The next day I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaeshammer at JAZZ.FM91. He brought his band along and they played a bunch of stuff from his new CD. http://www.kaeshammer.com
The audience were all smiles and after the outstanding “Live To Air” I took Michael back to my loft for scotch and a nice long hang with Don Francks. We talked music and philosophy, ate some Thai, and made it an early night.
I have decided that I’d focus this blog on a couple highlights. I am starting to tire of an on-line diary and feel some of my down-time should remain off-line. (Thanks to Barbie and Melissa for brilliant, camera free downtime.)
I had some wonderful dinner, meetings and did a ton of work last week, but seeing Michael Kaeshammer (Piano Man) and Iron Buffalo (Don Francks) meet for the first time was certainly a highlight of my week, if not my year.