The World According to Keitho

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Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

Scrapple From the Apple

Posted by keithosaunders on August 30, 2017

Last night I played a gig at a bar in the Haight Ashbury section of San Francisco called Club Deluxe.  The band, which plays at Deluxe every Tuesday,  is led by a great saxophonist named Smith Dobson and includes Eric Markowitz on bass and Jimmy Gallagher on drums.  These are some of my favorite musicians.

Last night we paid tribute to Charlie Parker on the 97th anniversary of his birth.  I went live on Periscope for one song – Scrapple From the Apple.  Unfortunately there was no ideal placement for the phone so the only band member you’ll see will be me.  But you can hear everyone and I feel it’s a great representation of what we do.

Click through for some nice licks.

https://www.pscp.tv/w/bHW-fDFlVmpZZG9xTU13S0x8MWRSSlpubm1WelFKQhPbfhROCU-Ev8Rg2eXOHrLkvC6q3-OwlN31nAAQdrNK

 

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Posted in jazz, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Music has gotten too loud

Posted by keithosaunders on March 18, 2017

Music is too loud these days.  I played an early gig at a bar in the Haight and after we were off there was a band with a singer, sax, trumpet, hammond organ, bass, and drums.  They were pretty obnoxious overall, but even worse they were loud as hell.  Even the horns were miked.  It was god awful.  It’s acoustic music.  There’s no need to pummel the patrons over the head.

Just a terrible job out of them.

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Get off the phone!

Posted by keithosaunders on February 18, 2017

Last night I played a very enjoyable gig at a trendy new jazz club in San Francisco called The Black Cat.  (There used to be an old Black Cat which existed before my time living here) It’s a basement club with tables packed tightly together filled with 20 and 30-something techies drinking $15 martinis and fancy mixed drinks.

At one point in the gig I looked out into the audience from the stage only to see half of the people buried in their phones.  There was a table with four young women right in front of the bandstand, all of whom were looking at their phones.

Can’t people go five minutes without checking their Instagram?  What’s the point of hanging out with friends if you’re not going to engage?

Is there any wonder we elected a dullard such as Trump?  We are building a nonintellectual, incurious, self-absorbed populace that is vapid and disengaged.  Wake up, people!

Posted in San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Close the damn door!

Posted by keithosaunders on February 2, 2017

I realize that it’s strange and somewhat ungrateful to complain about the cold when I’m living in California, but it’s my blog so clear the field, here I go.  It’s been a rainier and colder winter than normal.  The rain is good as it appears that our drought is all but over, but I’m sick of playing gigs with freezing hands.

It’s true that in the Bay Area we do not get bitter cold, sub-freezing temperatures, but it has been in the 40s consistently since November.  That still counts as cold in my book, especially when most of the clubs and restaurants keep their doors and windows open.  Why do they do this?  They don’t know from vestibules here.

Don’t restaurant owners understand the ‘open’ sign concept?  You hang the ‘open’ sign over the front door and then people know that you’re open.

Let me tell you something, there’s nothing charming about outdoor eating, even when you have heat lamps.  Do you like your food garnished with a sheen of exhaust?  Then outdoor eating is for you!

Even in the summer months it never gets that hot here.  Especially in the summer months!  Close the damn door already.

 

 

Posted in San Francisco, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pledge week

Posted by keithosaunders on January 30, 2017

Let’s have a live look-in on NPR’s winter pledge drive!

—————-//———

This year why not take the plunge and become a gold member. You’ll receive 2 tickets to SF Jazz, our magazine – Boredom Weekly – and the brand new Keillor-Blocker.

This state of the art console attaches to your listening device to automatically block disturbing Saturday programming such as, A Prairie Home Companion, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, & Look Ma, No Hands.

In their place you can choose from among the following:

Game 6 of the 2003 World Series

Noam Chomsky reads The Pickwick Papers

&

Keitho sings A Love Supreme [in the shower]

Finally it is safe to drive a vehicle on a Saturday.

Hurry! There’s a limited supply.

Posted in media, San Francisco, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Vestibules now!

Posted by keithosaunders on January 3, 2017

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and night

Folks, here is concrete photographic evidence of a clear and present danger in the Bay Area: An alarming lack of vestibules.

When people observe jazz in their overcoats they are not enjoying the music – they are counting the minutes until they can be reunited with their heater. Head colds and gig-related illnesses are predicted to spike in future years.

Stop the madness. #vestibulesnow!

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Can I get a vestibule over here?

Posted by keithosaunders on September 20, 2016

For the most I love living and gigging in the Bay Area.  I’ve been here for six years now and am firmly entrenched in its jazz scene.  That said, I have a bone to pick.

I’m sick and tired of going to a gig at a club or restaurant only to discover they have left their door open.  ON PURPOSE.  I’m sitting there trying to play the damn piano and I’m freezing.  What’s more, I look around and the customers are freezing too.  They’ve all got their jackets and sweaters on and they’re rubbing their hands together like they’re trying to make fire.

Now I get that the management wants their establishment to be all charming and rustic, and that we’re in California with the year-round mild temperatures.  But here’s a news flash:  It gets unusually cold on summer nights in San Francisco.  You see, there’s this little thing called fog.  Face it, ‘Frisco, you’re not an outdoor dining city.  Get over yourself.

I’m trying to play music and I can’t even move my fingers.  This may be difficult for restaurant owners to understand but I have to manipulate individual fingers in rhythm at distinct parts of the piano.  It’s not like I ball my hands into fists and smash them against the keys and Our Love Is Here to Stay comes out.  NO.  I am moving my fingers to form patterns which in turn yields shapes and colors.  SHAPES AND COLORS, FOR GODS SAKE.

Would it kill these people to build a vestibule?  They don’t even know what a vestibule is out here – I had to explain it to somebody last week.  If they had vestibules a musician might be able to enjoy a damn gig instead of feeling like a character in a Jack London novel.

And by the way…how do you think they caught the Chelsea bomber?  He was lying in a vestibule in Linden, New Jersey.

Vestibules:  Is there anything they can’t do?

Image result for vestibule

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Your obligatory Super Bowl post

Posted by keithosaunders on February 6, 2016

I feel guilty about my lack of enthusiasm over Sunday’s big game but for whatever reason I just can’t seem to get excited over it.  Part of the reason is that I have an early starting solo piano gig that’s going to interfere with me seeing the fourth quarter.  Fortunately I have a good line of sight from the piano to the TV but I’m a little farther away than I’d like to be which will make identifying the holding calls tough.

The game is being played in Santa Clara which is 40 miles south of where I live. This is where the 49ers moved two season ago — a corporate designer stadium monstrosity. From all counts Levi’s Stadium has a nightmare parking situation which can take hours to enter and exit.   Route 101 is a tough artery to deal with in the best of circumstances but one can only imagine how much worse it will be tomorrow.  Throw in the post 9/11 security and you couldn’t pay me enough to attend this game.  I’ve heard that there are people who flew in from out of town that aren’t able to go to the game but are going to local Santa Clara bars so that they can be close to the action.  I pity these dullards.  Stay at home and watch from your couch, for crying out loud.  Santa Clara has no ambiance!

All of the Super Bowl festivities, whatever they are, have taken place in San Francisco which has made it tough for the working stiff musician to get into town for his gigs. (I live across the bay in a town just north of Berkeley called Albany)  Tonight I’m gigging in North Beach which is a part of San Francisco that is only a 20 minute walk from the a Bart station.  Tomorrow, however, I’m working in a part of San Francisco not serviced by Bart so I’ll have to drive.  I’m hoping that everyone will already be ensconced at the TV of their choice by the time I have to leave.

And there you have it:  My Super Bowl post.  My prediction:  Carolina 28 Denver 7.

Posted in football, San Francisco, Super Bowl, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Provincialsm: Full circle

Posted by keithosaunders on May 17, 2011

I stayed for 26 years — long enough for me to feel more like a New Yorker than a Californian.  It got to the point where California barbs no longer phased me.  Sometimes I would even join in. 

Moving to San Fran was a homecoming of sorts.  Though I grew up in Los Angeles, 400 miles to the south, the Bay Area felt inexorably like California.  Every once in a while I would catch a whiff of something — a flower, the air, I’m not sure what — that would take me back to my youth. 

At first everything felt so novel to me that I hardly missed New York at all.  When I began going to clubs and sitting in, the caché of being from New York helped.  People here may not necessarily like New York, but they respect it.  Finally, all of those years of dues-paying had begun to pay off.  I am rarely, if ever intimidated on the bandstand.  My playing is aggressive, and tempos never faze me. 

At first I felt guilty about saying that I was from New York, because after all, I am really from California, and if you want to get technical, I was born in Pennsylvania.  The truth is that I’ve lived in New York longer than California, so why not?  Besides, in the interest of full disclosure, I almost always mention that I grew up in California. 

I have tried very hard not to cop an attitude about being from New York, first of all, because I don’t want to alienate people, and second of all, I remember how much that same attitude pissed me off back in the day.

While I haven’t experienced an anti-New York bias anywhere near the anti-California bias of New Yorker’s, there was a noteworthy incident last week.  I was on a gig up in Sonoma County.  It was one of those nights — I didn’t like the club, the music wasn’t hooking up, and by the fourth hour I found myself in a foul mood.  A friend of the bass player’s resembled Dick Cheney, and possessed a quiet, yet contrarian manner.  I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but it seemed that whatever I said he would find a way to disagree. 

When he made a back-handed comment about New York City I reached my boiling point.    There was something about the matter of fact way he said it, as if to imply that putting down New York is the most natural thing in the world.  I fixed him a steely eyed look and quietly responded, “That’s funny that you say that, because almost everyone in New York hates California.  They consider it lightweight.”

“Really?!”  He stammered.  I could tell immediately that my little retort had hit home.  The thing is, I’ve lived half of my life in both places.  I am perfectly positioned to put any of these motherfuckers in their place, regardless of the coast! 

Now, as my trilogy comes to a close, I will leave you with these parting words:  This provincialism business exists everywhere.  Forget about it.  New York, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, Japan…we’re all a bunch of insecure assholes. 

 And you know what?  The East Bay rules!      

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Believe it or not

Posted by keithosaunders on April 16, 2011

Last week my wife and older boy went in Boston on business, and to look at colleges, respectively, leaving  my two younger children and I to fend for ourselves.  The kids had the week off from school for the Easter break and I racked my brain to come up with something fun to do with them.  Finally, after hours of thought, I decided to take them to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum in Fisherman’s Wharf.  Believe it or not, it didn’t suck.  It got us out of the house, and we actually had a few laughs.  Admittedly the museum is a bit of a tourist trap, but it actually does give you something — like a life-sized model of a Hummer built with 38,000 $1.00 lottery tickets — the cost of a real Hummer!  I also got a kick out of the statue of the tallest man ever — 9′ 8″.  It is remarkable to see something like that to scale and not just in a book.
 
At the end of the museum there is a mirror maze, which, of course, you have to pay extra to enter.  We were rewarded with another 15 minutes of unbound fun.  The effect really isn’t bad, considering the entire maze is contained in an area the size of my living room. 
 
Now here’s why you live on the west coast:  We went to one of the most touristy areas of San Francisco.  We had driven into town rather than having rode BART, since it is impossible to park at the train station unless you have arrived by 7 AM.  After twenty minutes of driving, we parked at a meter located directly in front of the museum.  Cost?  $3.00.  We drove home over the Bay Bridge at 3:30PM.  You’d think we would be going right into the teeth of rush hour.  Nope, no traffic.  And get this…the Bay Bridge has 5 lane.  Fa-fucking-ive!!  I love this place!
 

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