Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gratitude, Chili, Heat, Salsa, Crazy Wisdom, Bens Band

Hello,

Summer is moving right along and the gigs are happening faster than I can write about them. Let's see, when I last wrote in here I was on my way to a gig with the Steel band. It was about a mile off US 23 in a community called Hidden Lakes. It was me and the family minus Loretta, (she was at a small job in Grand Blanc). We played at the rec center which was right on the biggest lake in the community. We had views of 7 Million dollar homes and a bunch of people sitting in lawn chairs drinking wine. I thought it was interesting that I pass by this place every time I drive down to Ann Arbor and never guessed that just behind the trees lies all that money. They were having a chili cookoff, and I must say, lots of money does not buy you good chilli recipies. I was not impressed with the contestants, but perhaps I am being too harsh. The only other chili cookoff I have to compare it to was the 4th of July Chilli Cookoff and Carshow in Filmore, CA. There were people their who made their living off of chili, not investments, stocks, and whatever else buys a super house. Anyway the gig was cool, the band sounded great. We definitely feel the effects of playing on big stages. More intimate settings are much easier to control and allow a little exploration in the music. Everyone relaxes and the music sounds great.
Let's see, I also played on Thursday with the steel band in Gross Point...another haven for the filthy rich. We played at a park right on the shore of Lake St. Clair. It was HOT and MUGGY, but again, the band sounded great. This time we were playing with the whole family and Guy Barker. It was a simple 2 hour show. It was a union job, which means we had to sign a bunch of papers and get paid directly by the union. I am not sure if I am now a union member or what?!?
Saturday was a great one. The best part of it was that my wife Jody came and hung out with me all day. I started off the day playing with some friends of mine from UM Flint in a band called Los Constantinoples Quatro. I call em Bens Band. They are a new band and play some cool stuff. Bossa, salsa, jazz, groovy. It is a nice mix. The instrumentation is an electric classical guitar, vibes, and bass, both upright and electric. We played at the Fint Farmers Market for about an hour. Vendors at the market said we were the best band they have heard their in a long time. We also put out a tip jar and made 60 extra bucks. Once that was over, Jody and I were on our way to Ann Arbor for my Indian Classical music workshop at the Crazy Wisdom Tearoom. We went to Ashish Deshpande's place and met up with Meeta Banerjee and Aniket Joshi to go over what we would play and talk about. The workshop went great. There were about 30 or so people and the reception was great. We played and talked for 2 hours. When it was over we all went to Pizza house and laughed and ate till one in the morning. It was a good day.
Monday was lessons and the handdrum workshops at Oz's. Lessons are heating up for me because coming up on August 7th is my first student recital. So far there are about 8 students signed up for it, plus the workshop crew. We have been working on another original piece based on Tabla Bols but played on djembes and other similar drums. There are also a couple of tabla students that will play along with the group. It should be fun.
One interesting thing that happened at the end of the workshop is that Nick, one of my more experienced students, told me that the gig I was supposed to play with him at the Heidelberg this Thursday was out due to the fact that he couldn't find enough musicians to come in and play. It was supposed to be a gig for his band, but they lost a key group member and couldn't play without him. So when he told me it was off and he now needed to find another band to take his place I immediately told him about Los Constantinoples Quatro (Bens Band). I made a call and the band is booked. So now, tomorrow night I will be playing with Bens band again at the Heidelberg in Ann Arbor. Sometimes this music business is a heck of a lot of fun.

Thanks for reading,

John

1 comment:

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