Friday, April 25, 2008

Music Report for April 25, 2008

Hello Friends, it's time to catch you up, and prepare you for the future.

I had a couple interesting gigs over the weekend. One was a sweet fill-in gig with the illustrious Chicago Joe Jones & friends at Killer Creek Steakhouse in Roswell (joined by Dave Hewitt, formerly of Humble Pie, Georgia Satellites, and others). The other was a beautiful outdoor wedding, as a duo with singer Adrienne Reynolds.

Last week I began a new gig with Larry Griffith Band at Bella Bocca in Marietta. This has turned out to be a nice little venue, deserving of good music and your patronage. It's a bit hard to spot, so do this: head west on Hwy 120, past Marietta Square, and keep going west as it becomes Whitlock. One mile past the square, you'll pass Nik's Back Porch on the left (which I'll discuss in a minute). A bit further ahead on the left, as you rise up a hill, you'll see the Clock Tower stripmall, which is mostly hidden. Turn in there, and Bella Bocca has the corner location. There are outdoor tables, so nice this time of year. Our hours are now 8PM to 11PM, so c'mon out. You can sit at the tables, or at the bar.
Bella Bocca Wednesdays 8-11PM
999 Whitlock Avenue
Marietta, Ga 30064 770-795-8984

On the way home, I stopped in at Nik's to visit Aaron Simpson's gig, and found a lively jam in effect. I had taught a full slate of students, then played a gig, so I didn't stick around very long, but I did see Atlanta jam icons John McKnight, Barry Richman and Terry Bradley there, among many other musicians and old friends. I happened to arrive just as Barry was coming onstage with a crew that included (say whut?!?) an electric kalimba player! Also called the
African thumb piano, the kalimba is not as popular here as, say, the bassoon. I've seen exactly two played onstage, the other time being in Earth Wind & Fire in 1975. This guy had it running through more pedals than I own, and an expensive amp. I don't know how many gigs he gets, but I'm glad I saw this one. God I do love jam nights! After you visit our show at Bella Bocca, stop by Nik's to take your musical experience to the logical next level. Say hi to Aaron, a very nice kid and fine young artist.
Nik's Place Restaurant and Bar (aka The Back Porch)
645 Whitlock Ave. (aka Hwy GA-120)
Marietta, GA 30064 770-792-6666
about 1 mile west of Marietta Square
across the street from Waffle House
Free Wi-Fi, good food!

On the way home, I also got a chance to slow way down in Historic Roswell (you can do that in the wee hours) and locate the future home of Red Salt, a new club by the folks at Little Alley. It's just a few doors north of Pastis. So far the plan is to have it open by June, and for me to be playing there at least some Saturdays while holding down the Friday spot at Little Alley. It's an "intimate" venue, so I won't have room for a band, only a duo. It'll have to be with someone small and cute because she'll probably have to sit on my lap. (just kidding, Barbara) Regardless of size, you can bet the food will rock because Chef Richard is amazing and getting better. If
you've eaten at Little Alley you know what I mean.

Speaking of my trophy sweetie Barbara, she and her daughter Tina just returned from Hawaii, just in time to celebrate her birthday at Little Alley tonight (Friday the 25th). By all means, stop by and wish her well, and I'll be there to make sure everyone has some music to dance to (she loves dancing, she MUST dance, that's how I met her). Your presents are not necessary, but your presence is. I will not specify which birthday this is, but it does include a zero. The
music starts at 7:30 and goes to 11:30, family-friendly, smokeless indoors, outdoor tables available.
Little Alley Fridays 7:30-11:30
690 Holcomb Bridge Rd.
(behind the Wolf Camera, at HBR & Grimes Bridge/Old Roswell Rd)
Roswell, GA 30076 770-992-9198
free parking, TOP quality food & service!

And finally, a plug for my dear friends and first-call bandmates Andrew Black, Jon Schwenke and John McKnight, who hold court at Londzell's on Tuesday nights. It's another jam night, so go there and make some joyful noise with them (and maybe me).
Londzell's Jazz & Blues Cafe
2300 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 309
(Kroger center near Centennial High, east end)
Roswell, GA 30076 678.795.9100

In other news, it's been a sad week for Atlanta's music scene. Blues artist Sean Costello, a rising star, the Next Big Thing, died April 15th of a drug overdose. Beloved by everyone who met him and a lot who didn't, he had been privately battling depression and bi-polarity for years, and finally lost, a day before his 29th birthday. You'll find that Google knows him well, there's even a brief Wikipedia article on him. The few times I played with him were pure joy, and he was always happy and polite when we chatted, same as I've heard from everone else I know. Ellen Hamby documents the Atlanta music scene with her camera, and has several good videos of him:
A bit of curious clicking will lead you to lots of Ellen's other videos.

Adding another blue note to Sean's dirge is that another, much lower profile, local musician known to many of us has, shall we say, fallen into a giant crack. I'm going to keep his name private, but I wish I could only remember him as a fine human being and artist, rather than
the thieving wreck he has become. My heart goes out to those who tried unsuccessfully to salvage him.

It is wise to learn from your mistakes, but much wiser to learn from someone else's. Learn from these two fine examples: if you need help, get help, there's no shame in that, but stay away from drugs. Modern drugs are not like the relatively cute little drugs of the 1960s, they will make you either die or wish you had. And avoid anyone who has anything to do with them (except pharmacists, of course). If you have been recently involved with such a person, I suggest you increase your personal security by keeping a close eye on your credit (I don't know how hard it is to have your numbers changed), and chatting with your neighbors about keeping an eye on each other's property (they don't need to know why, it's just a good idea). Learn some lessons from that TV show where former professional burglars break into homes as a form of security audit.

Interesting point: 90% of the world's opium and opium derivatives (such as heroin) come from Afghanistan. The Taliban used to keep a heavy Muslim boot on the poppy fields there, but since the Americans came and killed so many of them the farmers are enjoying huge drug harvests, up manyfold from previous years. Oh goody.

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