The Bleu Note

Wednesday  

Good morning! It's 8:36 and 68 degrees from where I'm sitting. Not exactly the lap of luxury here, but at least it's quiet. Some birds chirping and the distant sound of a train. Soon we'll have the sound of yapping as the dogs get out. Five miniature pooches. I never remember their names except for Weezy. She's my buddy-once she recognizes me.

You might be a redneck if the last words your wife said to you were "it's me or them dogs". 

The man, the music. I spent last night  on YouTube listening to a couple fantastic guitarists. Lage Lund and Mike Moreno. They're both part of the New York scene. Stoopid facility on the instrument, as well as a different approach to chording.

Both players do a lot with the fingers as well as the pick. Lund especially. The melody and harmony are going on at the same time. And they have some crazy voicings. Ben Monder is another guitarist who comes up with wildass stuff. Makes me think of Allan Holdsworth. Metal Fatigue in particular. 

And all these guys have pedalboards. A small, portable amp and an array of sounds via the pedals. That seems to be de rigueur on the scene. What everybody is doing...

I myself have gone back and forth with using them. Even had a pedalboard of sorts. I do have an array of sounds via a Line 6 Processor, but tend to just use it for recordings.

Guitarists often spend too much time fiddling with their effects in between songs. I played in an R  & B organ trio for some time, following a guitarist who was notorious for this stuff. Brought my effects processor to one gig, and I could tell their patience was already worn thin by my predecessor. Live and learn..

I like a nice, clear tone with reverb and just a touch of delay. It takes about two seconds to make these adjustments, all on the amp, and we're off to the races. 

Wow, it's all been shop talk in here. But that's the news I had for you. Still working away here in the Lab. Inspired and humbled by the people I've been listening to. More to come.

And that should do it for today. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Hump Day to you, however you choose to celebrate it. Later for now. 

PS today's pic goes back to 2008. Remy's was the club. David Hoffman on trumpet; Steve Jackson on bass; me on guitar; don't remember the drummer's name, but I've worked with him before. 

PPS today's tune is from the new album Big Hair, Big Dreams. Hope you like it. 

 

 

Sunday  

Good morning! 9:27 and 55 degrees are our current statistics, and we have the ever-familiar sun n' clouds combo going. Off to a rousing start. 

The man, the music. Still tearin' it up here in the Lab. I had something of a breakthrough on the guitar earlier in the month, and have stepped up the practicing. YouTube is a much busier place these days, with a new post almost every day. Up to a whopping 150 subscribers at this point. Only 850 more and YouTube can start paying me...

My new album is still the top story. Big Hair, Big Dreams. This is the YouTube link, so it's just streaming, but they're available on all the usual channels. Somebody actually bought one on Deezer not too long ago.

And I've got another one on the way, due to release a week from today. It's called Pianoramics, and is a collection of various pieces for piano- both solo and with an ensemble. A kind of virtual chamber orchestra. It'll be up on YouTube, as well as all the usual digital companies out there. 

 Plus more stuff in the making here in the Laboratory. More backlog. I have yet to settle into Studio Mode and get started on anything new, but it's coming. 

Next month, I'm due to get back together with my better two-thirds. The same guys who worked with me at Boone's. Hoping we can keep this going. We all get along, and enjoy playing together, so it augurs well. Eventually, we'll have another date I can share with you guys. 

I also leave the house on occasion to help Ocean State at their rehearsals. So that's coming up as well. And I've subbed with them when they need me. 

Well damn, that's everything I could think of at the moment as far as news. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Sunday to you! For now, ich bin outa this place. More later. PS Today's pic goes back to 2008. Remy's, a nice but short-lived establishment. My buddy David Hoffman on trumpet.  PPS today's tune is another one from Big Hair, Big Dreams. It's called Looking Ahead. Hope you like it.

Friday  

Good morning! Just shy of ten. I started to add that it's a rainy day on the way, but why be negative? Back in my working days, our manager used  to say ït's a beautiful day" when coming in on a dismal morning like this one. He told me later that he was trying to convince himself.  Whatever works..

Yep. Here comes the rain. It's a beautiful day...

Music news. Here is another album of mine you might like. It's called Indian Summer.  I wish I'd given it a more unique name, but there you go. Written back when COVID was at its worst. I guess it's my comfort music. Like my old boss and the weather, I think I was trying to provide it for myself as well.

My regular YouTube page is now up to a whopping 150 subscribers! I know that's still not very many, but still encouraging to me. Still working every day on the guitar and taping lots of stuff. Always more to come..

Nothing on the books just yet. But I am getting together with my better two-thirds early this next month--Rob and Dave, who played with me at Boone's, my semi-regular group--just to do some more playing. So we'll be back out eventually. 

Wow. Another skimpy post. I wrote one yesterday which similarly had more sizzle than steak, but didn't post it to Facebook. Anyway, all good here in Samland. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. And with that, ich bin outa here. Later for now. PS today's pic goes back several decades. Don't remember the name of the place, but it was on Carpenter Street. Steve Adleman, Gene Haas and me. My guitar at the time was an Ibanez Artstar. And a Polytone Bass amp with a delay pedal. Much better setup now.

PPS Today's tune is from my album Jazz Guitar, and is Giant Steps bossa. Big Steppin'. Operators are standing by to take your order...

Thursday  

Good morning! It's just shy of ten on this penultimate day of the work-week. Next year will mark a decade since I put in one of those. I still have a work-week of sorts in my head, but it starts on Wednesday. Too many Blue Mondays over the years at the unemployment office. Mondays in retirement are more like the Sabbath. What was an awful day is now a nice quiet one- if I can help it. 

Music news. I'm on a nice roll with the guitar. Making some progress on the blasted thing these days. This makes it more fun, more rewarding, which makes you want to spend more time at it. Something in life that feeds itself in a positive way, for a change!

So more YouTube videos. I have a couple all ready to go. And I'm sure there'll be more today. 

Nothing on the books at the moment as far as leaving the house. But my better two-thirds and I are getting together again early next month to do some more playing. Hoping to have some more trio gigs down the road.

For the time being, I'm still enjoying the peace and quiet of a slow period following a busy one. Starting to think about maybe getting over to the other side of this room to the recording stuff. As Jed Clampett would've put it, I'm commencin'  to do that..

A skimpy post today. But all is well here in Samland. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. I do appreciate it! For now, I'm outa here. More later. 

 

Hump Day  

Good morning and happy Hump Day! That's the greeting we'd get on our computers at work on this day. And a TGIF on Friday. Hey, Agencies are people. Yeah, right-- about as much as Corporations. So it's 9:08 and whatever degrees on this rainyass Wednesday. 

Sibling relationships are a bitch. There are a few folks out there who are delighted with their brother or sister, but more often than not, there's some degree of disharmony. My brother and I have bailed each other out on numerous occasions, and the basic brotherly love is still there. But it's always been a bumpy road.

I think as the years go by, you just  have less and less in common. Your parents and grandparents are gone, as well as many friends. All the glue that held you together. To borrow a line from the Sopranos, all you have left between you is DNA. And a lot of baggage, starting with who got the bigger room. My brother would appreciate the line from the Sopranos. Maybe I'll tell him--whenever..

Okay! Had to get that off my chest. Now we can move on to Music News. Still spending a lot of time on the guitar, and doing a lot of taping. I've had something of a breakthrough as far as technique, and am following the energy--so to speak--with a bit more work. My YouTube page is pretty well-stocked, with new posts on the way. 

This is a nice slow month. I had one gig on the 6th, and one Doctor's Appointment on the 16th, but otherwise you could shoot a cannon through the month of May. From our gig on the 6th, we all agreed to keep things going. So we'll be getting together again soon. 

Here, once again, is the link to my new album. It's YouTube, so it's just streaming, but the stuff is on all the usual digital platforms, as it were. Somebody actually bought this album on Deezer. Anyway, hope you'll stop in and check out some of the tunes. 

This is probably more than enough to read. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Hump Day to you! Time to move on here. More coffee to drink. Later for now.  PS today's pic goes back to 2015 or so. Charles Tobermann, me, David Hoffman, James Singleton. Old friends.  PPS today's tune is from an album of mine called Garden of Sonic Delights. 

 

 

Monday  

Good afternoon, whoever-reads-this! Finally getting around to putting up another post. Today was my annual Eye Exam. I've been going to the Prairie Eye Center since 2011, when I had cataract surgery. I was pretty sure my eyes were still okay, but it's nice to hear from them. It's one of the few things I don't worry about;..

Music news. Lots of work on the guitar these days, as in practicing. I've recently unlocked one of the secrets of the Universe. Well maybe not, but I had something of an epiphany with a change I made in my right hand. By angling the pick, I'm catching those notes I used to miss, and am also able to move around a lot better. It also gives you a better time-feel, right in the pocket. 

This is also making for more YouTube videos. Lots of work, but also lots of fun!

in other music news, I have a new album. It's called Big Hair, Big Dreams. You can hear the selections here. It's somewhere between Smooth Jazz and Fusion as far as style. Later this month, I've got another one set to release. It's called Pianoramics, and is more along the lines of modern classical music. Kind of a virtual chamber orchestra. 

Nothing on the books as yet. Enjoying a nice slow month after a busy one. I am getting together again next month with the bass player and drummer who worked with me at Boone's, just to get more playing in. So sooner or later, we'll be out someplace making trouble..

Well that's my news, such as it is. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Monday to you, if that's possible. For now, ich bin outa this place. More later. 

Wednesday  

Good morning! 9:46 and 80 degrees at the moment. This latter statistic begs the question: what the hell happened to Spring? But then wild fluctuations are the name of the game here in the Great Plains. At least it beats the Northern Plains..

The main Music News I have for you is my new album. It's called Big Hair, Big Dreams. One of the songs has a kind of 80s vibe to it, hence the title. It's not straight-ahead jazz, but more a jazzer's approach to Fusion/Smooth Jazz. More guitar and keyboard solos than you might find in your basic Smooth Jazz, but not the pyrotechnics associated with Fusion. Just what I hope are nice songs. 

I got a note here on the site that someone had purchased Big Hair, Big Dreams on Deezer. Not familiar with Deezer, but I've heard of it . Another digital company out there. Wherever they bought it, it certainly made my day!

Here is where you can go to listen to the different selections. Hope it's a pleasant listening experience. 

And I have yet more stuff brewing here in the Lab. Lots of backlog. Always more to come. 

More than anything, I've been working on my playing. Always trying to get better, even after 55 years of doing this. One thing I stumbled across recently has made a big difference. 

It all has to do with your right hand. For best results, your pick should hit the strings at a 45-degree angle, so you have to slant your hand a bit. And I favor a much looser grip on the pick. But hitting it at an angle like this, you get all the notes- not just most of ém. 

This has been a bit of a revelation. And a liberation. It was the missing piece of the puzzle. It was actually something I was told in a guitar lesson back in 1986. God knows why it took this long to finally sink in, but it did. You hear things when you're ready to hear them I guess. 

Well this is all I've got for you for now. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Hump Day to you! For now, ich bin outa this place. More later. 

PS Today's tune is called Looking Ahead. It's from the new album. Hope you like it. 

un-manic Monday  

Good morning! It's 9:44 and 67 degrees at the moment on this sun n' clouds Monday. I have three errands to run today, and all of them can wait until I'm ready. Trust me on this one- Mondays are a lot more fun(or maybe just a lot less irritating)when you don't have to work. Retirement is something I wish for everybody.

Music News. I have a new album which just released yesterday. It's called Big Hair, Big Dreams, and is sort of a fusion/Smooth Jazz mix with lots of guitar and keyboard work. You can stream it on YouTube, or download from any number of sites(like iTunes and Amazon).

Most of this stuff was conceived back in February and March of this year. In between a busy January and a very busy April. I am now in another of those in-between periods, so we'll see what gives. If anything. My Muse, I'm fond of saying, is a capricious chick who shows up when she's good and ready, but not before..

Now we're going to descend into Shop Talk, at least for a minute. I discovered something last night while practicing that seemed to liberate my right hand. There is no right or wrong as far as your picking hand, whether you rest a pinky on the guitar or whatever. Whatever gets the notes out. 

For me, it works best to have my hand balled up and out of the way. I used to be one of those pinky-resting folks, and then had a couple lessons with Rick Haydon at SIU Edwardsville. Took about a year to feel normal, but he changed my right hand. 

The only problem was that I'd still kinda  hover over the strings. More mobility than with the pinky resting, but still not quite there. Still some missed notes. But if you elevate your hand just a little bit, and position it right in the center, between the D and G strings. you're there! Found this almost by accident, but it works much better. 

Okay. Enough shop talk. Had to share that Secret of the Universe though. Maybe it'll help another struggling guitarist. It sure helped this one.. So thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Monday to you, if that's possible! For now, this one's outa here. More later.   PS today's pic was taken at Lime Street back in 2014 or so. Subbing for Manley Mallard with Juke House. 2 years in a row. Much fun! PPS today's tune is the title song of my new album. Has kind of an 80s vibe to it, hence Big Hair, Big Dreams. 

 

Sunday  

Good morning! It's nine o'clock and 58 breezy degrees at the moment. Happy Mother's Day. If mine were still here, we'd be having a dinner of some sort. She passed away back in 2007.  I've felt her presence on a number of occasions since then.. I don't have it in writing, but I'm pretty sure.  So wherever she is(maybe even sitting right here) , I'm sending a Happy Mother's Day to her. 

Music news. I have a new album that just released today! It's called Big Hair, Big Dreams, and is somewhere between Fusion and Smooth Jazz as far as style. I put it together back in February. February was a slow period following a busy one, just like I'm in now. 

Here is where you can listen to each cut. It's just streaming, but if you like what you hear, I'm sure it's available through the usual channels.  Nothing special I can say about this new album. They're just nice songs. At least that was my intention..

In other music news, I've been doing a fair amount of practicing these past couple days, and have a couple videos that aren't too shabby. More to come on my YouTube page. 

I'll probably get going on another recording project before too long. Still enjoying the peace and quiet. I'm sure I'll have some crazy new ideas before long. 

In yet more music news, I am getting together with the bassist and drummer who were with me last Friday, probably early next month. We're keeping it going. So we'll be back somewhere, at some future date. 

A sleepy post today. But then it's a nice sleepy day. But not sleep-deprived. Working on my usual 7.5 hours of shuteye. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Mother's Day and Happy Sunday to you! For the time being, i'm outa here. More later. 

 

 

 

Saturday  

Good morning! 9:07 and 54 degrees at the moment. It's a beautiful day. (Wasn't there a band with that name- back in the 70s?).Enjoying the aftermath of a busy patch. My 4-week tour of local Springfield spots. That line actually got laughs..

Last night's gig was fun, both in the playing and the socializing. I was glad to get to play with Rob and Dave again. It had been awhile. Years, even. Now that we've established a place to rehearse, it looks like we're keeping it going. So we'll be back at some point down the road.

It takes awhile for a group to really jell. This was true of my old trio, and the quartet before that. And like those other ensembles, we'll have a lot of fun getting there. But  I think we sounded good, and so did a few of the folks listening .One thing I liked in particular about last night was that the tempos all stayed where they started. So I look forward to our next session. 

For the time being, though, I'm back in Studio Mode. I have a new recording that's due to go live tomorrow. It's called Big Hair Big Dreams, and is somewhere between Fusion and Smooth Jazz. Much of the material on the album was created in February and March of this year.

I was back in Studio Mode then, after a busy January. So we'll see what this current period brings about. 

That's all I've got for you for now. Just kinda basking in the quiet today. Happiness is a slow period following a busy one. But you've got to have the  busy period to fully appreciate it. Thanks as ever for stopping in and reading. Happy Saturday to you!  Later for now. 

PS Today's pic goes back to 2015 or so. Subbing for Manley Mallard on a Juke House gig. Played 2 years in a row with them. Mike Lang is the other person in this picture. And yes, it was at Lime Street.