Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Orleans Blues and Jazz / Christmas 2015 NOLA

As I continue to travel to New Orleans to see my son, there is an ambiance to the air surrounding NOLA. The ora  to which I mean is the feeling you get once you step out of your vehicle and detect the vibrations of music playing around you. Images almost seem to settle in ones conscience when they hear the music playing in the background but whether or not music is playing at a bar around the corner or not, soon there will be some playing just within reach of your ears and heart.  I arrived Christmas morning and exchanged gifts with my son and drove downtown to NOLA Christmasfest 2015.  Everything was closed (that we could see but before arriving in NOLA) (I cheated and checked out some things that would be opened Christmas day and it so happened that the civic center was opened with Christmasfest 2015 in full operation.  We had a great time, it's a winter wonderland to say the least and music galore.  An ice-skating rink that I dare not try nor was David interested.  We made ourselves around to the far wall and Stephen Wagner (pictured below) was working on his mural of  beads.  He has a declaration from the Guinness World Records for placing the most beads on a mural,  see www.guinnessworldrecords.com.  I placed one bead just to say I helped with the project.  You can look below at the treble note, in which was my favorite part of the mural.  The whole evening was magical and yes it was Christmas, a new memory but a long lasting one.  Waffle House was opened Christmas night so that is where we ate dinner. 

Saturday Dec. 26 (up ate breakfast at Starbucks) and shopped a little.  (Crescent City Comics and Origami for lunch).   
We drove to the French Market for food and fun.  Heard some great music and met a few new people.  Stopped at the Balcony Music Club where I filed this report:

Lefty may be a drummer, but he’s still a blues bandleader, one who’s set up a residency of sorts on Decatur Street, usually holding it down for French Quarter blues at the Balcony Club. 
And if the live show is anything like this disc, it explains his steady gig, although these performances work better as a resume than as a portrait of where he’s at right now.

If you’ve heard Volume 1, you know that Keith sticks to the classics—that first batch contained solid if unremarkable versions of warhorses like “The Thrill Is Gone,” “The Things That I Used to Do,”
 “Everyday I Have the Blues” and “The Blues Is All Right.” Likewise, well-worn blues standards litter this volume, which was recorded live here, in Arkansas, and in Massachusetts between 1997–2011, 
but there are twists: the True Blues do “Lovey Dovey” like Roland Stone, not the Clovers, and their take on Muddy Waters’ “I’m Ready” is so Blasters-style uptempo it’s almost rockabilly.

Of the three eras, the best stuff happens in Jonesboro, during the band’s brief Burnside Records tenure, with Fred Sanders behind the mic. Their renditions of B. B. King’s “Outside Help,”
 Jimmy Reed’s “Baby, What You Want Me to Do” and T. Bone Walker’s deathless “Stormy Monday” sound the loosest, the most free-spirited, the most like a jam. Then again, lone original 
“You’re So Fine,” clichéd as it is, is so expressive in its Cape Cod performance it’s practically jazz.

Lefty can do shuffles, West Coast blues, Chicago electric, and New Orleans soul, but if you want to hear what he’s doing on Decatur—and what standards end up on Volume 3—you’re just 
gonna have to go down there.

Again, I heard them Saturday Dec. 26th, the day after Christmas when everything is supposed to be relaxed and The True Blues were in full sound.  I heard three songs, their SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) "Pride and Joy" was simply awesome. The Balcony Club has no smoking inside so it was wonderful inside the bar. The music was crisp and clear. Lefty and the True Blues are out of this world excellent.  The Balcony Music Club 1331 Decatur Street, houses some of the best blues bands of  New Orleans.

On Sunday Dec. 27, I met with Jamie Wight at Jazzology (1206 Decatur Street) NOLA. 70116 phone (504) 525-5000.  Jamie and I spoke about my novice approach to "the blues and jazz" and he helped me again with my ongoing research of learning about this unbelievable art form.  Jamie took time out of his Sunday to meet with me because the rest of my stay in NOLA was going to be limited because of spending the time with David so he didn't mind at all helping me and I appreciated him for doing so.  The feeling of complete warmth when you walk in this place (if you could understand what was happening), it would take over you (in gulf you) and you'd understand everything about blues and jazz.  So I walked up the stairs to my interview and Jamie (whom had just played at Preservation Hall (723 Saint Peter Street) just the night before, was receptive to every question that I had.  Again as I've said before he's forgot what I wished I'd learned about this art form. It'd take me all night to type everyone of the people he suggested me listen to in understanding whom was worthy of "keeping in mind about the blues"  Hundreds and even thousands of people that were instrumental in creating the art of "The Blues and Jazz."  Just to name a few of the artists that was from "old blues school" that I was taught about: Willie Brown, Teddy Darby, Ed Bell, Bobby Grant, George Thomas, Rube Lacy, George Carter, Dad Nelson, Freezone, Nehemeah Skip James, Jelly Roll Morton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ida Cox, Blind Blake, Buddy Boy Hawkins, Charlie Spand, Blind Roosevelt Graves, Belle Street Sheiks, Papa Charlie Jackson, Will Ezell,  Johnnie Head, Tampa Red, The Hokum Boys and Banjo Joe, Alice Moore, Viola Bartlette, Elzadie Robinson, Lucille Bogan   Ivy Smith, Madlyn Davis, Mary Johnson, Leola Wilson, Art Hodes and the list continues......George Lewis, Scott Hamilton, Santo Percora, Frank Wess, Paul Barbarin, Helen Humes, Arnett Cobb, Wendell Eugene, Dave "fat man" Williams, Browne & Wight Jazz Band, Harold Ashby, Wooden Joe Nicholas, Creole George Guesnon, Nick LaRocca, Sonny Stritt, Sammy Price and if I keep on (listing names) I'll never make my point but there are so many more wonderful singers, artists that made our lives better by their beautiful music.  Just in this class Jamie told and taught me so much, almost to much to consume in one day, it'd take you months even years to learn about this style, the people whom wrote and whom played the blues and jazz.  I feel as if I'll learn forever about this style of music, I should have started years ago.  It is interesting and so wonderful to learn about.  Sometimes about the people whom played and sang it just as much as the music itself.    There is a feeling of relaxation and excitement about this sentimental music.  In just a few minutes I'll have a  video for your entertainment and learning pleasure.  In his early years George Buck's vision which is now JAZZOLOGY, was to do just that learn about and collect blues and jazz, he however dedicated his entire life to the art form where I chose to learn about classical, imagine what and where I'd be if I began so many years ago learning about the blues and jazz where I'd be now.  Great men like Walt Disney, Neil Armstrong, Lewis and Clark all had great visions of something they needed to do. Buck was a visionary that knew from a young age that music was what he had to do to make him whole.   

George Buck, who parlayed a youthful passion for classic jazz to a lifelong business which produced more than a thousand LPs and CDs on nine different labels.

Buck sold newspapers on the street during World War II and put his earnings into savings bonds. To his father’s dismay, he cashed them in, hired his favorite musicians, and put out a 78-rpm set of the sides, featuring cornetist Wild Bill Davison, his all-time favorite, with clarinetist Tony Parenti's band. The label grew slowly and steadily, though fifteen years later there were still only ten albums in the catalogue. 

George Buck went into the radio business and made a living buying and selling small stations – he'd find an under performing outlet, turn it around with a new format and more efficient management, and sell it at a profit.
 He used the profits from radio to subsidize the labels, and as small record producers gave up, he'd buy their catalogs and reissued them on one of his labels, each of which was devoted to a different genre. 

Buck's operations were originally centered in New Jersey, and he was later in Columbia SC and Atlanta GA before finally relocating to New Orleans in 1987. Jazzology/GHB shares quarters on Decatur Street with the Palm Court Jazz Café, which is run by his widow, Nina. The facility includes a recording studio and the firm’s massive collection of master recordings. 

The ownership of the firm was transferred to the George H. Buck Jazz Foundation, organized by Buck to insure that the catalog of music he assembled would remain in print eternally. Unlike most record companies, GHB/Jazzology never deletes records from the catalog – virtually every CD in the catalog is in stock and 
always will be. Unfortunately, most of the firm’s LPs were lost to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the firm’s warehouse and remain unavailable. 

George Buck retained his boyish enthusiasm and zest for jazz throughout his life. He knew everyone in the jazz business, particularly his end of it - traditional jazz – and when he was younger he traveled all over the world to hear his favorites in festivals and jazz parties. Very few people get to spend their lives doing what most of us dream about – George Buck was able to make a living from a music most people eke out a living at – no one in his right mind would try to make a living from a music thought to be extinct about the time he started his label. He kept his firm running successfully for over sixty years and had a lot of fun doing it.   
  • American Music Records (founded 1944) — authentic New Orleans style jazz, acquired from founder and composer Bill Russell in 1990
  • Black Swan Records (founded 1921) — re-issues of Paramount Records, acquired in the 1990s
  • Solo Art Records — piano jazz
  • Audiophile Records — classic American popular songs
  • Circle Records (founded 1946) — big bands, acquired in the 1960s
  • Southland Records (founded 1948) — authentic blues, acquired from its founder, Joesph P. Mares (1908–1991), in the 1960s
  • Progressive Records (founded 1950) — modern music
  • World Broadcasting System, Inc. (founded 1929) — entire library of radio transcription discs, acquired in 1971
  • Langlois & Wentworth, Inc. (founded 1933) — entire library of radio transcription discs, acquired in 1982

George Buck passed away from a heart attack Dec 16th, 2013 his complete obit can be found on this website at the title

NEW ORLEANS (continued) Sassyfras, Blues, Jazzology, meeting new people in New Orleans (2015)

When George Buck passed away he could have not wanted better people to run and be curators of his legacy other than Jamie Wight and Larz Edegren.  Jamie has helped me more times than I can count and I am honored to call him my friend and teacher.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hal Pearl remembered




Hal Pearl at the Aragon Ballroom WurliTzer

Hal also played the organ for presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, and at the 
tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Bill Rieger recalled that 
Mr. Pearl would play at the Aragon for the "corn beef and cabbage" fund- raisers held 
by Mayor Richard J. Daley. 
During the 1970s, WTTW produced "The Toy That Grew Up," featuring Pearl's accompaniment
to classic silent films. The show was broadcast on more than 30 public television stations.
More recent, Mr. Pearl was the headliner of organists at the reopening of the Chicago

My story of Hal Pearl might begin as any other with a persistence and determination to find out about a legend. My call began to the Chicago Tribune when realized that Ken Griffin was from the same city (or had passed here) and Ken was friends with Hal Pearl not Ray Pearl the great jazz orchestra leader (also from Chicago), to whom I was first told.  You remember Ken Griffin was born in Columbia, Missouri. His biggest hit was "You Can't Be True, Dear" (1948),  my favorite is The Cuckoo Waltz (flip side of "You Can't Be True Dear" (1948), composed by Emanuel Jonasson, which you can read the WHOLE story on this blog. "You Can't Be True Dear" which was first released as an instrumental, and later that year re-released with a vocal by Jerry Wayne dubbed in. Both versions became popular, selling over 3.5 million copies. He also starred in a 1954-55 syndicated television series, 67 Melody Lane. He recorded on a variety of recording labels, especially Columbia.It was in the 1940s in Aurora, Illinois, that Griffin broke into the nightclub circuit, playing at the Rivoli Cafe nightly. The sessions at the Rivoli cafe were broadcast on the radio station, WMRO, and the program became popular. Griffin died on March 11, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 46, of a heart attack and was buried at Lincoln Memorial Park in Aurora. Columbia had many hours of Griffin's unreleased recordings on tape, and continued to release "new" recordings of Griffin's music for a number of years after his death. I found out what Hal Pearls phone number was and called that October morning of 1998.  He was a delight to speak with, told me stories that including drinking, partying and most of all "enjoying life". Most of all Hal shared with me his passion for playing organ.  He boasted about being better than Ken Griffin even though Ken did release several albums. I laughed and then we both did. I knew he was lonely and wanted to talk music as I spent most of my lunch hour on the phone with this legend of delight.  Most of his pictures are posted here that he sent me and I will never forget that wonderful conversation with him. A couple years later (2000) I'd find out from his nephew he'd passed away and Chicago morns a great legend but his music will float in our minds for years.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


NEW ORLEANS - Nov. 21st, 2015

Thanksgiving in New Orleans or anywhere family or love ones are is home. Driving here yesterday was beautiful, hardly any traffic and the music or WWOZ (WWOZ.org) was so "NEW ORLEANS", I kept the station on and didn't turn the knob. There is just something about that sound that makes me come alive and gets me excited about a certain anticipation of overwhelming joy.  As I was out from New Orleans about a hour, the memorial service for Allen Toussaint broadcast from the Orpheum Theater downtown New Orleans, made me sad but sobered me up to the dedication and offering that he made to the city of New Orleans.  His "Southern Nights" was #1 in 1977 by Glen Campbell. The lyrics of "Southern Nights" were inspired by childhood memories Allen Toussaint had of visiting relatives in the Louisiana backwoods, which often entailed storytelling under star-filled nighttime skies. When Campbell heard Toussaint's version, he immediately identified with the lyrics which reminded him of his own youth growing up on an Arkansas farm. In October 1976, Campbell recorded the song with slightly modified lyrics.

So I am waiting for David to get off from Starbucks so we can catch some lunch. I had breakfast there this morning (David bought). I had my chai tea and oatmeal raisin cookie. WOW, now the blues and jazz on the Robert Smith Library (711 Harrison Ave) HD sound system, it just don't get better than that..... So  pictured below is Allen and on behalf of GMP&A we'd like to extend to the family our deepest and heartfelt condolences. He will never be forgotten as his music will last forever.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

gamble music production and archives: STEVE NORMAN HAUN - COMPOSER, ARTIST, DAD, SON and my friend

gamble music production and archives: STEVE NORMAN HAUN - COMPOSER, ARTIST, DAD, SON and my friend


Steven Norman Haun
October 12, 1963 - August 28, 2015
Steven Norman Haun passed away unexpectedly Friday, August 28, 2015. Steve was born to Norman and Yvonne Haun on October 12, 1963 in Denver, Colorado. After he and his family lived in Denver, CO, Eugene, Oregon, and Lawrence, Kansas, they moved to Boulder, CO in 1971 where he attended Foothill Elementary, Casey Junior High, and Boulder High School and where he currently
resided. Steve began taking violin and piano lessons at the age of five; but, like many young students, his interests piqued as he remembered "hating to practice more than anything".
Yet his talent was sufficiently developed for him to win first place at age six in a composition contest sponsored by the College of Music at the University of Kansas. Steve continued to
study the piano for several more years, then focusing on the violin seriously until the age of 15 or so. He then thought it wasn't cool anymore...sports and girls were now his big interests.
He was a proud member of Kent Smith's varsity Boulder High basketball team. Along the way, he continued to win competitions and scholarships, including the Boulder Philharmonic
Young Artist's Competition conducted by Oswald Lehnert and a music scholarship to the University of Colorado. Steve began his college career as a pre-med student and completed
those requirements with the intention of becoming an optometrist before switching gears and going into music. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Certificate in Music Technology
from the University of Colorado and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition from the University of Northern Colorado. Steve has composed and produced ten CDs during his career.
In addition to achieving both retail and radio chart successes, his music has been featured internationally in various television programs and during coverage of major sporting events including
the 1998 Winter Olympics and the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics as well as a story about Michael Jordan and a theme song for the Bolder Boulder. He has also composed music for
documentary films and corporate videos, and has written several radio theme songs. One listener writes "I recently purchased your CD, "Impressions of the Rocky Mountains" and I must
tell you that it is an incredible work of emotion...passion...intensity...all given from the heart. I would say to you that if God had music to create the earth by, this would be it. You have taken
a listener on a journey of our Colorado...a place where we live and love." Steve may have left this earth, but his music will live on. In 2001, Steve married Wendy Ferland and they had one daughter together, Brooke Loy Haun. They divorced in 2007. Brooke was the joy of his life and he dedicated much of his music to her.
Steve is survived by his daughter, Brooke Haun of Superior, CO, his parents, Norm and Yvonne Haun of Boulder, CO, his brother David and his sister-in-law Marcy of Superior, CO, his
nephews, Hayden Haun and Holden Haun of Superior, CO, his Aunt Hannah Schmidt of Greeley, CO, his Uncle Ruben Haun of Burley, ID, his Aunt Bonnie (Lloyd) Ferguson of Casper, WY,
his Uncle Murray (Dianne) Ross of Oklahoma City, OK, his Uncle Dr. Dennis Ross (Ann) of Wichita, KS and many loving cousins and friends. A celebration of Steve's life will be held Friday, September 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.at the Crist Mortuary, 3395 Penrose Place, Boulder, Colorado 80301. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a fund for his minor daughter, Brooke, which has been set up at the Boulder Valley Credit Union, 5505 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, CO, 80303, Attention Kathy Britton.

Steve and I were to do a interview to play exclusively on WSGQ 103.3 and WSGQ INTERNET RADIO (Columbia, Alabama), Next weekend WSGQ will devote 24 hours of STEVE's MUSIC for your reflection.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (continued) Sassyfras, Blues, Jazzology, meeting new people in New Orleans (2015)

July 2nd, 2015
As a child I can not remember to many "July 4th" weekends that were so memorable that they stuck in my head BUT this past one with my son David was one I hope stays with me forever. His friendship, God, Music and Fun will last forever in my memory.  Arrived in New Orleans the morning of July 2nd. David would get off work later in the afternoon, meant I'd go hang out at the NOBTS music library. After the music library, I napped at Providence House across the street from NOBTS (New Orleans Theological Seminary).  I stayed in the Henry building room 9401 VERY NICE. Not gonna find it hard to rest in this bed. Anyway the first day was filled with going to NOMA (riding past it and getting our bearings for the next day). New Orleans Museum of Art is off the charts awesome. I understand moved from downtown to it's new location it is so worth going to see. There at the grounds of the NOMA is a parthenon of sorts and two gazebos.  The gazebos are huge, and the cool thing about having David go to college there is he KNOWS the area and what to see.   There is a place there called Cafe Ole (Morning Call) that I understand is older that Cafe' Du Monde, both have great coffee and beignets but the relaxed atmosphere at Cafe Ole with the Greek background is very very nice.    

JULY 3rd, 2015 (Friday)
Up early to shower, eat breakfast and head to the French Quarter to meet Jamie Wight (musician and band leader, plays at Preservation Hall, also was with the Dukes of Dixieland) with Jazzology and conduct my interview for Gamble Music and WSGQ Internet Radio.  George Buck a preservationist of old blues and early jazz will have his own write up soon, as he is one of the pieces of the puzzle that fits into the woven tapestry for the transition of the early African sounds at Congo Square, to the early classical sounds of music then to the blues and jazz. The transition continues....Jamie and I met for about a hour. His generosity and kindness made what I was there for seem very easy and no less like I was at Disney for Music Lovers.  He and Lars Edegran (Edegran b.1944 is a Dixieland musician and bandleader.  He was born in Stockholm, Sweden) are two curators of Jazzology, you can find them at www.jazzology.com  They like myself have several things going on with and for them.  The building located at 1206 Decatur Street in the French Market (504-525-5000) has it's own restaurant with stage for live music, run by Nina Buck (George's wife) it also is house for a recording studio and a book and music store. When I say music store, I mean early recordings of blues and jazz that date back to the early 1940's when George Buck started his own business collecting and recording albums. Sound familiar ? I am so proud to have met Jamie but I know how wonderful it would have been to have met George Buck, he and I would have been able to talk about a lot of things especially "the preservation of music".

George Herman Buck, Jr. (December 22, 1928 – December 11, 2013) was an American entrepreneur who devoted much of his life to recording jazz by producing albums and acquiring the rights to those produced by companies established by others. Buck had acquired record company labels and radio broadcast companies that held historic transcription discs. He also was a major record collector. Until his death at age 84, he ran his businesses and philanthropy. He began his radio career as a partner in radio station WJNO in West Palm Beach.


Born December 22, 1928, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Buck rose to prominence as the leading figure in the preservation and advancement of authentic traditional jazz. He started out selling newspapers during World War II and converting the profits into war bonds. He took this money and recorded his first session with his favorite musicians, Wild Bill Davison and Tony Parenti on Jazzology Records. Soon after, he began recording New Orleans style jazz on GHB Records. He began yearly pilgrimages to New Orleans in 1961, cementing his relationship with the city by immersing himself in the culture and recording the important artists that lived here. George developed a passion for radio after hosting a radio show in college, which he dubbed, Jazzology. This early involvement in radio led him to buy many small, under performing radio stations beginning with WCOS in Columbia, South Carolina, and turn them around with new formats and improved management. All of his profits from this went to support his growing list of record labels. He started and bought many labels in order to make sure this music would survive and thrive. The nine labels he issued a wide range of jazz music on are Jazzology, GHB, CircleSouthlandAmerican MusicBlack SwanAudiophileProgressive, and Solo Art.
The largest collection of jazz music in the world is under this umbrella. According to his son, Buck's passion, love, and enthusiasm for jazz never diminished. He and his wife, Nina moved the operation to New Orleans in 1987 and in 1989 expanded yet again by opening the Palm Court Jazz Café, which became an important part of New Orleans jazz culture under the management of his wife. The GHB Jazz Foundation houses the record business and is located on the second floor of the same building in the French Quarter. With the transfer of all of his recordings to the foundation he assured that the music would continue to survive and his legacy will continue to influence the city and the world.

Buck companies

Companies founded by Buck
Companies acquired by Buck
Philanthropy founded by Buck
  • The George H. Buck, Jr., Jazz Foundation, Inc. (founded 1987), a Louisiana non-profit entity.

Jamie and I had a blast talking about the blues; I do not know that much about the blues but I am learning all the time about it's rich history and there is no better place to learn it's history that right here in New Orleans.  David went downstairs as we interviewed and listened to WHAT ELSE, a live band playing dixieland jazz on Decatur Street, what more fitting than that to have playing in the background of a radio/video interview. WOW MAGIC !!!!
Then on the NOMA at NOLA.  New Orleans Museum of Art after a wonderful lunch at MONA's. I had the Sharma, it was one of the best lunches ever. I was with my friend David and New Orleans.

 July 3rd continued 
Once in a lifetime you can hear greats of music at one location, given that fortunately the artists are all still alive and not passed on.  I had heard from some friends about a place that you have to stand in line for what seems a long time, there is no beverages in this place and there is no bathroom nor seating for general admission. Preservation Hall is such a place. This is where my bashing stops and the true essence of the story takes place.   Located at 726 Saint Peter Street in downtown NOLA, (504) 522-2841, down the street from Pat O'Briens, lies this hall of history in the making. Tickets 20$ a piece and no bathrooms ? What kind of place is this ? and then the lights dimmed. David and I were not uncomfortable because David got us two seats (quick thinking on his part),  AND then the unthinkable happened, 7 men came to this cramped stage with the old blues piano I'd seen from prior pictures located on the right. AND THEN THEY PLAYED. It was over before I knew it, the best New Orleans sounding Blues and Jazz ever to have graced my ears.  Daniel "Weenie" Farrow played the best sounding tenor sax I'd ever heard. I almost cried with unbelief of how sweet this sound sounded.  Here is a brief bio borrowed from the Preservation Hall website about Daniel (Danny Farrow) 

One of the more beautiful experiences of last week’s tour with PHJB and My Morning Jacket- In Charlie Gabriel’s absence, Preservation Hall’s treasured tenor sax player Daniel “Weenie” Farrow stepped in and joined the tour for a couple of dates. During a post-show hangout at an old mill turned bar in St. Augustine, MMJ frontman Jim James asked about Weenie, as they had met and played together during the Preservation Album sessions. After kind words exchanged about Mr. Farrow, we mentioned that Weenie often plays an unforgettable solo of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” at the Hall. No matter how many times you hear him play it you have to stop everything to listen. 

So the next day after soundcheck before the show in Charleston, Weenie and Jim re-introduce themselves, and Mr. Farrow plays a couple of choruses of the song. Jim smiles and asks him if he would be interested in playing it again before their encore at the end of the show. Mr. Farrow kindly agrees, and says “I’m gonna put it on ‘em tonight”. 

After an incredible opening set by PHJB and a stellar performance by MMJ all the stage lights go out and the crowd is roaring for an encore. The stage manager leads Weenie up the ramp and onto the stage with a flashlight. The crowd is still cheering, not knowing what is going to happen next. A spotlight opens up and focuses and the fog machines kick in and Weenie begins playing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. As soon as he gets through the first chorus much of crowd moves to relative silence. By the second chorus, you could hear people singing along. By the final flourish, you heard the applause and screams of two-thousand plus people cheering for Mr. Farrow and that HAWWWWW you can only hear at a rock concert. Weenie took a bow and stepped offstage. I say to Mr. Farrow “Weenie! You’re a rockstar!”. Weenie replies with a smile and asks if it sounded okay. All I could do is give him a hug.

About a half-hour later, Weenie walked to the tour bus carrying his sax and was approached by a couple of young female MMJ fans. They asked for a picture with him. After the photo, he steps on to the bus and stashes away his horn and says “I can’t wait to tell Steve(Pistorious, piano player at the Hall) I was a rockstar.”
If you’ve ever met Daniel “Weenie” Farrow, you’ll know you won’t ever meet a kinder, sweeter, and enlightened individual. You can feel his joy for life whenever he plays his horn or whenever you shake his hand and ask him how everythings going. He always says “it’s good when the music makes people happy. And that makes you feel good too.” Well you put it on’ em that night Weenie. Just like you do every week at the Hall. 

No seats, no bathrooms, no beverages, standing in line for a LONG TIME ? ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT !!!!!

JULY 4th 2015 (Saturday)

David took me to MORNING CALL at Cafe Ole in NO City Park early enough for coffee, as we approached, I heard it. It was melodic and beautiful but could not make out if it was recorded music or live. There I met one of the most wonderful ladies to ever grace any stage of blues or jazz. Enter one Valerie Sassyfras, a fancy dressed woman, I thought certainly was a comic but when I saw her play, comedy turned to serious and again unbelief.  She was playing the keyboard and accordion at the same time with a cymbal on her shoe for keeping time.  When I heard her play the mandolin and play other instruments at the same time, professionalism came to mind. Street entertainer ? Not hardly she is a one woman show with style and awesome ability. I tipped her jar and bought a cd, promised her shout out on GMP & A blog but it was me that was honored to have her on here not me on hers. Her ability to play the key board and accordion at the same time while singing beautifully New Orleans Woman, was stunning to say the least. Even several days ago, I can't believe what I saw.  She has her own web site http://valeriesassyfras.com/      
Please visit her page and watch her videos you will be floored to see what she can do. The "WHERE Y'AT" magazine for March 2015, said it best "Valerie Sassyfras" embodies the perfect blend of musical ability and eccentricity.  She is classically trained on piano BUT plays the other mentioned instruments including the "washboard", which live, that may have been my first.  I have the article and can make anyone a copy at your request. Valerie can be contacted at her website and I don't think she'd be upset if I made mention that she has a face book page as well. I loved your show Valerie and I am so very proud you are my friend. See you when I head back to NOMA at NOLA.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Music In Minneapolis, Minnesota

 On the way to Minnesota we stopped only a few times. One of the first stops for Myrtle (Gene's dog and us) to use the bathroom, was this stop in Athens, Alabama (I'd always wanted to go there, being born in Athens, Greece). However the reason for this picture is to the left is "The Village" located at 1298 Kelli Drive off highway 65 exit 351, there was at "The Village" old log cabins, from them I heard bluegrass music. It was to cool. Clark's Restaurant is located by the log cabins.

 David loves Superman I took this in Metropolis, IL.

To the right is Cherry Valley, IL.  The snow bank is what caught my eye on this one. The town looks just like Pigeon Force, Tn. (I'll expound in a moment), (The picture to the right is four weeks prior to the ones below took "four weeks later", notice how much snow can make the difference in Cherry Valley Illinois in a matter of 4 weeks).  Below is a log cabin and in the back yard is a creek and railroad trestle.  Very quaint little town.

The village of Cherry Valley, Illinois is located just to the southeast of Rockford, Il.  It's desirable quaint village almost is designed like Pigeon Forge, Tenn but if you want that "take me back to the days of nostalgia" and you are in Cherry Valley it would be worth your while to stop by and have a cup of coffee at their cafe or walk down the street with your cup in hand and see the church building now historical society meeting place (pictured below) or walk across the street and look at the quaint log cabin with the creek flowing in the back yard of the cabin.  While walking and taking the pictures I had my ipod ear phones playing a few pieces of Skaroulis, Coda and Tim Heintz.  My experience was off the charts. 
I could imagine the train coming in across the trestle and smoke rolling out of the stack while coming into town and slowing down just a little for the engineer to wave at the people in the log cabin. It didn't happen like that but again in my mind it did; it  was just enough to make the music in my ear pieces and the thought in my mind and the coffee I had in my other hand an absolute breathtaking experience. Thanks to the Society of Cherry Valley for whatever they did to make my fantasy of yesteryear become reality for just a few moments.
City Hall is located:   
806 E. State Street 
Cherry Valley, IL 61016 
Ph: 815.332.3441 
Fax: 815.332.3414

Arye Boutwell (Days Inn, Clarksville)  made sure our stay was a very pleasant one.  He works all the time; he checked us in when we arrived to Clarksville, Tenn. (around 7 PM, I'd been driving for like 9 1/2 hours in the snow, sleet and frozen roads, and he had enough time to make sure Gene and I were taken care of getting in our room without obstacles and was there the next morning to make sure the breakfast bar was stocked for a great breakfast. His grandmother is in Phoenix City, Al and will soon be going there to celebrate her birthday.  I hope Alabama is as kind to him as he was to us. Thanks Arye.  Oh, he listens to WSGQ Internet Radio too !!!!  www.wsgq.net (upper right corner pick the word "RADIO" and click the play button). 

 This is at Camp Douglas Wisconsin, The German Haus. I thought it was so quaint on the side of this mountain and where we stopped to get cheese curds and a diet coke. Myrtle liked the cheese curds too.
In Minneapolis, there is a place called "CHEAPO" it is not only one of the largest record stores I've ever seen but Branden there helped me by telling me that he did have music of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and would have them ready at the counter when I arrived. He and the staff were wonderful and treated me like I was family.  I called about 5 record stores in Minneapolis and none carried "classical" music, not even Minneapolis Symphony cds. However when Branden took my call he helped me make sure I was taken care of. Cheapo is located at 1300 West Lake Street (612) 827-8238

 Central Lutheran Church located 333 South 12th Street in downtown Minneapolis was our Sunday morning delight. 
I borrowed a picture from their tourism department to show you what I could not take (as it was like -2 degree wind chill, when I took this picture). This is an absolutely beautiful church building with a great sound choir and pipe organ. 

Pipe organ at Central Lutheran downtown

When Gene Montgomery played organ in Minneapolis, one of the churches was here at Minnehaha UMC

 At the airport in Minneapolis, every table had free internet and I accidentally on purpose left "Gamble Music Production" web site up.... 

In the far background are the puffs of smoke. The right one is GP in Cedar Springs and the left one (I believe is Farley Nuclear Plant) I took these while listening to Lang Lang playing Chopin pieces. It was very fitting. 
I loved the sunset in the west beam light on the Georgia and Alabama border.

While at CHEAPO music store, I met a delightful person, Donald Ulm (last name pronounced OLM as in "OLD" long "OL" sound), anyway he was at the store and since I was inquiring about classical music, Branden the counter person introduced us. Donald was born in 1940 and graduated from high school in 1959. He was an organist throughout downtown Minneapolis churches. He's played in New York, California, and even overseas. I will be doing an interview for WSGQ internet radio when I fly back on the 27th of Feb.