The World According to Keitho

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Archive for August, 2015

Virgo: The greatest jazz sign

Posted by keithosaunders on August 27, 2015

Continuing birthday week festivities. I had one of the better birthdays.  I hosted a gig at a bar in the Haight called Club Deluxe.  Earlier that day I had posted about it being my birthday and a lot of musicians ended up coming out, celebrating, and sitting in.  The trumpet and trombone player even brought out an ice cream cake while playing Happy birthday.  Talk about feats of coordination!  It was a great time and a reminder that I am truly blessed to be able to play this great music and have such friends and family.

Virgo is a great sign for jazz master’s birthdays. Wayne Shorter was born on my birthday, the 25th. Today is Lester Young’s birthday. If you were born on August 29th you share the day with none other than Charlie Parker!  August 30th is Kenny Dorham, September 2nd is Horace Silver and September 7th is Sonny Rollins!

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The big 5-5 and the Mets

Posted by keithosaunders on August 25, 2015

Today I turned 55.  That’s right, double nickels.  The NY Mets were extremely generous, giving me an eight home run game last night and enough optimism to last until October.

I can’t recall a baseball season in which a team’s personality changed on a dime.  If you look back not even a month to July 29th — that’s when Wilmer Flores learned, in the middle of that night’s game, that he was being traded – you’ll see an entirely different team.  One that could not hit to save their lives.  Their pitching was elite (still is) but their lack of hitting made them extremely beatable.

During the July 29th game the cameras captured Flores crying and it looked like it was a new low for the Mets.  The Mets had not yet bottomed out, however.  The very next day they blew a 6 run lead to the Padres at home in the rain.  They were three games behind the Nationals and going nowhere.  I was actually rationalizing the season with an early post-mortem.   “Well they gave me much more competitive four months than I expected…”

And then…CESPEDES.

Who would have thought it possible?  He is the kind of gamer that the Mets almost never get.  Hell, they’re still paying Bobby Bonilla a yearly salary.

Wouldn’t you know it, given a new lease on life Wilmer Flores won two games versus the Nationals.  The Mets swept the series and have gone on to feast on the bottom-dwelling Rockies, Marlins, and Phillies.  True, they were swept by the Pirates, but this humble birthday boy is writing that off as a blip on the radar screen.

The shit’s about to get real.  Fasten your seat belts!

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Can I see the babies?

Posted by keithosaunders on August 22, 2015

Yesterday my son and I were visiting my ex-wife in the hospital.  She’s was in because of an ankle strain which turned into sciatica.  As we were leaving I noticed that the hospital’s nursery was on the same floor.  “Come on, ” I said to my son,”let’s check out the new babies.” I mean, how often does one get to see babies when they’re fresh out of the oven?  I figured there would be a display room where we could gaze at the newborns and remark about how cute they are and the miracle of life, blah blah blah…

As we reached the nursery there was a security guard.

“Yes?”

“We were wondering if we could look at the new babies even if we don’t have one.”

[scowling]  No.

And that was that.  So much for my brilliant, spur of the moment idea. My son pointed out that it could be considered creepy to have two random guys looking at babies.  Come on, I protested, who the hell thinks of babies in that way?!  I could see if we went up to the middle school and said, ‘can we look at the students?’ But babies?!  That’s disgusting!

Anyways, you shouldn’t have to have a new baby to see a new baby.  It’s not fair.

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Groom dancers

Posted by keithosaunders on August 20, 2015

https://fbcdn-video-j-a.akamaihd.net/hvideo-ak-xpf1/v/t42.1790-2/11892782_10153050178321200_708825761_n.mp4?efg=eyJybHIiOjkwNSwicmxhIjo0MDk2fQ%3D%3D&rl=905&vabr=503&oh=9ebb3f931ffc45b25ad758b3599e2640&oe=55D63A0D&__gda__=1440099161_a64afba0b7aebc28a8a9eae982e868e6

Someone posted this on my Facebook feed last night under the heading, ‘ Without a doubt the best groomsmen dance ever.’  I watched a few minutes of the video before clicking off in disgust.  It’s one thing to surprise your bride with a couple of minutes of rehearsed dancing.  It’s cute, precocious, and slightly romantic in a contrived kind of way.  But to make your bride and guests sit through eight minutes of endless, cornball drivel?!  The conceit of it!

You see, this is what I’m talking about with these ‘viral videos.’   These people are out of control. Under the rubric of doing something romantic and selfless for the bride this nimrod has forced his captive audience to endure a two-bit vaudeville act.  And I’ll tell you what he’s doing.  He’s bragging.  This is a classic implementation of the humblebrag.  What is the humblebrag? It’s just as it sounds — one effects a selfless act while in reality drawing the attention to himself.  I see it all the time with musicians on my feed.  “I was so honored to get a chance to play with [insert famous musician’s name here]”  No you were not honored — you were blessed with the opportunity to brag en masse to your Facebook friends.

How much do you want to bet that these cretins forced their guests to travel thousands of miles to some remote location and pay for quaint and expensive B & B on some god forsaken island.  Oh yeah, they’re one percenters without a doubt.  I will have the last laugh however.  I’ll be onhand two years from now while they’re signing their divorce papers.  As they exit the courthouse they will be treated to my flashmob’s version of Cole Porter’s “Get Out of Town.”

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Another night at the office

Posted by keithosaunders on August 18, 2015

My office last night.

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I’m a jazz pianist but that doesn’t mean I only play jazz gigs.  The name of the game is survival; loosely translated this means I’m a gun for hire.  Last night I was hired to play background solo piano at a garage that repaired, restored, and sold classic cars. I was surrounded by Ferraris, Porches, and Alfa Romeos, among others.  There was an interesting mix of people there consisting of mechanics, people who raced cars, and people who bought cars.

I noticed the car people had a certain look.  Most were tanned and rustic looking but in a well kept sort of way.  A lot of them, for some reason, wore Hawaiian shirts with khaki pants. One of them brought their young-teen son who resembled a live-action Richie Rich.

Usually on a dinner break the band will eat together and hilarity ensures. In this case, since I was alone, they placed me at one of the tables. So here I am, a jazz pianist sitting at a table with people who race cars and people who can afford to buy Maseratis and Lamborghinis. Awwwwwkward!

I had a strategy, however: I willed myself to become invisible.  Simple.  You can’t talk to who you can’t see.  But wouldn’t you know it the strategy failed and  the person sitting directly to my right struck up a conversation. It was kind of stilted, but not the worst. I was actually nervous for him.  What could a one-percenter possibly have in common with a guy who’s idea of living large is buying Bounty paper towels instead of the Safeway brand? (they really are good paper towels)

But converse we did.  The beginning of the conversation was like trying to start a 30 year old Volvo in February in Green Bay. After a minute or so, however, things loosed up.  He was comparing how exact a car’s details have to be in order to take first place at an auto show to how good a musician has to be to break through to the upper echelon.  Not bad, actually – I can’t disagree. The funniest thing is that through this brief conversation we were able to determine we had a mutual acquaintance.  He lives in Minnesota while I’m in the Bay Area.  Go figure!

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Perspective

Posted by keithosaunders on August 17, 2015

Saturday was a hellacious day for me but ultimately a good one.  I taught three lessons and played three gigs.  I was moving from 10AM until I finally got home from my last gig shortly after 2:00 AM.

The final gig was at a Haight bar called Club Deluxe.  I was playing with a great band consisting of Patrick Wolfe and Mike Olmos on tenor sax & trumpet, Eric Markowitz on bass, and Hamir Atwal on the drums. This meant we were hitting hard.  Even though my body was tired from working/teaching all day there was no letting up.  You have to have respect for the music and when you’re working with great musicians your pride won’t allow you to be buried. In short, there’s no phoning it in in jazz!  (no crying either)

During the last final set, Jeff Burr, who is a great guitar player, sat in.  During the trumpet solo I decided to lay out and just listen for a few choruses. Burr was there so there was still a chordal instrument while I wasn’t playing.  I sat there and allowed this torrent of sound to wash over me.  I wanted to experience the music from a different perspective. The bass player was to my immediate left, the trumpet right in front of me and the guitar player to my right.  It was like being in a musical washing machine.  I guess that’s why gentlemen prefer washing machines!

This is a perspective that the audience doesn’t get to experience — being right in the center of the music.  Sure in a club the band is directly in front or to the side of the audience, but it isn’t all around them.

That was my Saturday night.

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A Baptist Beat

Posted by keithosaunders on August 15, 2015

I found a video of me playing with bassist, Dylan Johnson, at a house concert in San Luis Obispo.  I had forgotten that this was up there when I happened to stumble across it tonight.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  I’m playing a tune by one of the great unsung saxophone heroes of jazz — Hank Mobley!  It’s called A Baptist Beat. (don’t tell anybody I’m Jewish)

Hey!  Are you looking at my bald spot?!  What do you want from me I’m almost 55!

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Throw it back

Posted by keithosaunders on August 13, 2015

throw it back

For years the bleacher bums at Wrigley Field have had the quirky habit of throwing the opposing teams home run balls back onto the field.  When I first learned of this I thought it was a badass thing to do.  It was original and funny too.  In the past 15-20 years, however, fans of other teams have adopted this habit until now it has become de rigueur.  It’s a trope and a tired one at that.

If I was ever lucky enough to catch a home run ball the last thing I’d want to do is throw it away.  How often do these nimrods who mindlessly shout ‘throw it back!’ think this happens?  Allow me to offer a hint:  Almost never!

It’s one thing for the Cubs fans to do this.  I can stomach it from them since it’s their long-standing tradition.  But for a Cardinals or a Brewers fan to do it?  Well that’s bush league.

If I was sitting in the bleachers in Busch Stadium (no pun intended) and I caught Kris Bryant’s home run do you think I would throw it back?  Hell no!   Not only would I keep it, I’d have it bronzed and would brag about it until the day I died.

Imitation is not always a form of flattery.  in this case it’s a form of sheep-like stupidity.  Not for nothing, the Cubs are known as lovable losers.  Is this the kind of tradition you want to imitate?

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Trump mania

Posted by keithosaunders on August 11, 2015

Trump

If Donald Trump is elected our next president it’s safe to assume that at least for a while he will enjoy the popularity and clout that goes along with the office.  It would follow that his look and mannerisms would also become popular and somewhat trendy.  Can you imagine an entire country of people with the Trump haircut?

In addition Trump’s brash persona would give you the cover to say whatever you wanted whenever you wanted.  If someone called you on crass behavior you would merely respond, “Hey, I’m a straight shooter, just like our president!”

For example here’s an imaginary exchange that could conceivably take place just 20 months from now:

Keitho: Say, Mary, are you pregnant or what?

Mary: Excuse me?

Keitho:  You look great!  When are you expecting?

Mary:  I’m not pregnant, you imbecile.

Keitho:  Hey, I’m a straight shooter, just like our president!

Mary:  Get the hell out of here, I never want to see you again.

Keitho:  I never figured you for a socialist.

Now I ask you, can you envision having this much fun in a Clinton administration?  (Don’t answer that!)

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Getting it right…wrong.

Posted by keithosaunders on August 10, 2015

umps

The worst thing that’s happened to sports in the past decade is the proliferation of instant replay. Nothing makes me reach for the remote faster than the sight of a zebra going under the hood for a 3+ minute booth review.

In the case of baseball it is an abomination.  There’s nothing like taking a slow game and slowing it down.  Every single close play at first base is reviewed.  Every single play!  It’s gotten to the point where I feel embarrassed for the umps.  Why do they even bother to make a call when they know it’s going to confirmed or overturned by some slacker in a N.Y. bunker.  Safe, out, who cares?  Let the boys in New York decide. (by the way, where can I apply for that gig? I’d like to sit around in my underwear all night eating pretzels while staring at half a dozen MLB feeds.)

Don’t give me this tripe about ‘getting the call right.’ Are the umps not skilled professionals?  For a hundred years the umps ‘got it right’ well over 90% of the time. Improbable though it is, the game has not only survived but thrived.

Do people even want umps, because if folks are souless enough to trumpet the ‘we have the technology to get it right’ argument then they are tacitly admitting that umpires are an anachronism.  Let the fucking quest tech robots call the balls and strikes and your little bunker boys can review every damn play of the game.

Oh yeah, and enjoy your 5 hour April Mariners/Rangers games.

Posted in baseball, sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »