The World According to Keitho

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A weekend out of town

Posted by keithosaunders on August 16, 2016

Sometimes the most strenuous part of gigging is getting to the venue.  The playing of the gig is often times the easiest thing we do.  Of course there are tens of thousands of hours of practice that we draw on, but for the most part when good musicians play together ideas tend to flow easily.

On Saturday I played at the San Jose jazz festival with local Bay Area legend, saxophonist Noel Jewkes.  San Jose is an hour south of where I live in the East Bay (Albany, which is next to Berkeley) but with traffic it’s usually at least a 90 minute trip.  (Our gig was only slightly longer than 90 minutes!)  At the conclusion of the gig we were interviewed by some jocks from the local jazz station, KCSM, one of whom is an outstanding sax player in his own right, Patrick Wolff.

noel

 

On Sunday I drove down to San Luis Obispo to play with my former teacher, vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake, and my former band mate, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli.  I studied with Charlie when I was in high school –  from 1975-78.  Before that I had studied classical piano for 8 years.  I had become disenchanted and wanted to quit the piano when my mother heard of a teacher who specialized in jazz improvisation.  I agreed to give it a try almost instantly I was hooked.  The fact that I had a classical background, had good technique, and knew my scales was a boon to me.  It gave me a leg up on learning how to negotiate chord changes.  Charlie was a great teacher and just the right person for me at that time in my life.  He introduced me to the music of Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis among others. These are people I never would have been exposed to in my suburban California upbringing. Perhaps I would have discovered them in college or as an adult, but I just as likely could have stuck with Jethro Tull and Yes.  I dodged a bullet there.

charile

Joe

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