Jazz at the Lighthouse Again: Bill Spoke Quintet featuring Gary Herbig











Real Book Coffee Stains

dsc_8395(Opposite) How High the Moon – Morgan Lewis

Ah, The Real Book. Get yours here. My first Real Book, bought in 1979, was stolen. This is my second, bought in 1980. The name is a bit of musician’s irony. Not a fake book, man. It’s the REAL book.  Illegal, at the time. You had to buy it on the street in front of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Now I believe you can buy them inside the school bookstore. Times change. So has the price.

The pages are almost card-stock sturdy. The coffee stains are well earned. Either from caffeinated frustration or long evenings of joyous study and relaxation with a hot cup of decaf. So an explanation of the word ‘opposite’ in the captions for those who might need one, is that the coffee cup was set down on the song pages I wasn’t, at the time, working on or playing through. So the sheet music photo accompanied by the caption, Naima – John Coltrane, for example, is NOT Naima but from the song My Ship. Anyway. And where the word doesn’t appear it’s because the coffee stain is on the page of the song I was working on, for example, Lush Life by Billy Strayhorn.

Anyway. For an actual musical example of me noodling through one of these Real Book tunes on the guitar I’m offering a cassette recorded version of Naima that I did sitting on my couch… now about 20 years ago, down at the bottom. (Naima (opposite) is the last photo.) There probably isn’t a book I’ve gotten more out of than the Real Book. It’s not much, but this is my way of saying thanks.

dsc_8392Space Circus (Part 1) – Chick Corea


(Opposite) Yesterdays – Jerome Kern


Lush Life – Billy Strayhorn


(Opposite) My Funny Valentine – Rodgers/Hart


What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life – Michel Legrand


So What – Miles Davis


(Opposite) Isn’t it Romantic? – Rodgers/Hart


West Coast Blues – Wes Montgomery


(Opposite) Naima – John Coltrane

Naima – Donald Barnat (guitar)

Horace Silver

Long live Horace Silver. My favorite.

I’m no great shakes as a musician. But when you’ve internalized someone’s music their loss is felt that much more. That I can tell you today.

Maybe 15 years ago I recorded a bunch of jazz standard lead sheets for a friend back home. Just a one afternoon with nothing better to do project for a friend. Here is the Horace Silver portion of that inadequate effort.

Nica’s Dream


Musical Interlude: Moving to Montana

Another REPOST of one of my little iPad Garageband ditties. Always very influenced by the music of Frank Zappa, I recreated a Montana guitar solo groove, a funky nasty little pocket to jam over in F# minor, and played my Gibson ES-335 through a little Vox Valvetronic bedroom amp. I need to do more of this in my spare time. I’ve been playing the guitar now for about 48 years. Probably won’t be able to tell from this, though. 😉

The Afghan Boogie

Like the war, it goes on way too long and has plenty of sour notes and questionable resolutions. But here the only thing that bleeds is your ears.

Re-posting a musical interlude. Great photo by a Marine in the battlefield, Cpl. Reece Lodder. 

Garageband has (had) some very crappy (as usual) guitar amp ‘modeling’ feature. When I tried it last year it was very lame. But Apple is constantly upgrading Garageband, etc. So I tried it again, just plugged into my iODock and directly into the iPad. Wow. Wasn’t expecting to record a guitar solo I would want to share on the second try. The amp feature is now very usable. I like the rawness here; it’s not polished playing, but that’s okay.