The World According to Keitho

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Keystone Korner

Posted by keithosaunders on July 10, 2017

This past weekend I took part in a 45th anniversary of the great, long-gone San Francisco jazz club called Keystone Korner.  The North Beach club was in existence from 1972 until 1985 – not terribly long by jazz club standards – but long enough to make an indelible imprint on the Bay Area jazz scene.  During its time it played host to the greatest names in jazz – from McCoy Tyner to Stan Getz, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, and Horace Silver.

This weekend’s celebration featured such luminaries as Azar Lawrence, Gary Bartz, and Charles MacPherson, all of whom still sound great.  I played in the host band, led by tenor saxophonist, Mel Martin.

It was a bittersweet weekend.  I realized that the era of local jazz clubs hosting top touring musicians for six night stints (at affordable prices) is long gone. Sure, New York still has the Village Vanguard, but you would have to practically float a loan to attend it more than once a month.

Furthermore, the Vanguard is very much the exception.  Many cities, San Francisco being one of them, no longer have clubs devoted exclusively to jazz.  Corporate arts centers such as SF Jazz and Lincoln Center help, but do little to foster the sense of a local jazz community.   Not only that, they will rarely host an act for more than a couple of nights.

We have to enjoy our few remaining jazz clubs while we have them.  One day we’ll only have youtube and our memories.

Image result for keystone korner

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My jazz camp adventures

Posted by keithosaunders on July 3, 2017

I have just returned from a week long stint spent as a teacher and performer at a jazz camp in La Honda, California.  La Honda is located deep in the Santa Cruz mountains –  a beautifully  scenic place.  I had a great time teaching, playing, and connecting with old and new friends.

The last day, however, my friend, Michelle, and I had a little disagreement. Nothing that serious, but, well, let me just tell you about it…

We were eating breakfast when I casually mentioned how much I hate scat singing and that no one should be allowed to do it.  Michelle responded, “I don’t give a fuck what you think.” As I was preparing my carefully worded response, Michelle removed some nun chucks from her backpack (that she happens to carry) and cracked me across the knee caps. As I was doubled over on the ground in the fetal position, crying like a little girl, I could hear the sound of a switch blade opening and before I had time to apologize, or beg for mercy, Michelle had slashed open my nose – just like Roman Polanski did to Jack Nicholson in Chinatown!

She stuck me in a wheel barrow and wheeled me to the camp nurse, who told me that she had never seen someone so severely injured at jazz camp. The silver lining is that now my photo hangs on the wall of fame at the jazz camp infirmary.

jazz camp woods

 

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The mind of a musician

Posted by keithosaunders on June 17, 2017

Have you ever wondered how the jazz musician’s creative process works?  The other night I played Freddie Hubbard’s Little Sunflower at a jam session.  Here then is play by play on what went through my head as I played this piece.

D minor
good groove
not as bad as I thought
D minor
2nd 8
liking it
bridge
groovin’
d minor
hey watch that voicing
d minor
groove
d minor
pretty chick in the front
d minor
why are they in the bridge?
ok back on
groove
d minor
wonder how the mets are doing
groove
d minor
d minor
d minor
thank god there are no words to this
d minor
g sus b9 over D
groove
d minor
do I have to do laundry
d minor
will this solo ever end
d minor
this couldn’t be more monotonous
d minor
d minor
except if the rhythm section went into double time samba
d minor
d minor
twice as long d minor
Ok here it comes..
I’m ready
bridge bridge bridge bridge bridge
GOD DAMMIT THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BRIDGE
d minor
d minor
I’m in hell
d minor
shoot me…

 

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Online dating favors the illiterate

Posted by keithosaunders on June 13, 2017

Dating in the internet age is easy, especially if you are young and reasonably good looking.  All you need do is swipe a few times, match with someone who strikes your fancy, and away you go.  In the old days you would have to meet someone, strike up a conversation, and get to know each other before getting up the nerve to go on a date.

I was a short, introverted guy as a teenager and young adult.  I was a jazz musician playing in bars where most people were 10 to 20 years my senior.  I wasn’t in college, consequently I had a hard time meeting women to go out with.

When personal ads became trendy, sometime in the early to mid 80s, I felt that the playing field had somewhat evened out.  Here I could express myself with the written word, alleviating the sometimes painful and awkward step of introducing myself at a bar or party.

Now, with swipe technology, the field has reversed itself.  Once again cosmetics rule the day.  Needless to say, this is bad news for the middle-aged man!

I read an interesting and troubling article in Vanity Fair detailing the current hookup culture prevalent among 20 and 30 somethings.  As a father of a teenage daughter it was disconcerting to say the least.  Some of the men interviewed bragged about sleeping with hundreds of women per year.  For them it’s not a question of if they’re going to hook up, but rather if they feel like it.

It’s horrifying to read about what the women go through.  They are inundated with ‘dick pics’ and what written text they receive does not go far beyond, ‘Can I come over in 20 minutes?’  One man managed to hook up without even typing any words — he sent emojis.

I’ll have more to say about this later.  It’s time to practice the piano.

 

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Mr Met goes rogue

Posted by keithosaunders on June 5, 2017

 

Metsno1

Last week Mr Met, himself, lost his composure.  After a particularly tough Mets home loss, some of the fans began riding Mr Met as he was making his way to the mascot’s clubhouse.  Not only did the fans insult the bulbous-headed mascot, but his mother as well.  Let me tell you something, nobody insults Mr Met’s Mom and gets away with it.  I was impressed that even though Mr Met only has four fingers he still managed to shoot the hecklers a substantial bird.

My photoshopping buddy then combined my love of the Mets with the Stanley Kubrick classic, 2001 a Space Odyssey, to create a work of art.  Enjoy.  And let’s go Mets!

 

 

Mets2001

 

 

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Not enough work and no play makes me a dull boy

Posted by keithosaunders on June 2, 2017

The past five years I have gigged more than I thought humanly possible.  I’m averaging five gigs a week, but there are weeks in which I work every night, and sometimes I will have doubles, plus the occasional triple. Throw in teaching and sundry other projects and it makes for a full schedule.  Not only that, I have to practice every day.

Last week I had three nights off (not in a row) which was a rarity.  You would think I would relish the free time.  Instead I practiced more, took care of some errands, and moped.

The dating sites I’m on are annoying me.  I never knew that so many women were into scuba diving.  I had my friend photoshop me into a scuba diving outfit but it did not help my traffic so I removed it.

The obsession with height confounds me, especially now that we’re into middle age. Why does height continue to matter so much to women?  You would think that by their 40s they would want more substantial qualities in a man, such as intelligence, to name one. By stating that they’ll only see people over 5’10” women have eliminated thousands of possible good matches.  They’re also increasing the chances of dating someone who is arrogant and feels entitled.  Tall men who are reasonably good looking never had to work that hard to get dates, consequently they never had to hone their humor skills, or even feign intelligence.

On the other hand, height aside, I’m not such a great catch.  I work every night – the last thing I want to do on my night off is go out.  Plus, these aren’t corporate dollars that are coming in over here.  My apartment is a shoe box, and as I mentioned before, I’m moody.

Plus I don’t scuba dive.

scuba 2

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President wanted: No prior experience necessary.

Posted by keithosaunders on May 21, 2017

When I was a kid and encountered an alpha-dog, as an introvert I suffered largely in silence.  I took comfort in the rationalization was that after high school these dullards would end up in dead-end jobs and would almost certainly become alcoholics, wife-beaters,  or felons.

And there you have the most irritating part of the Trump phenomenon.  This brainless oaf who never got his come-comeuppance, and was in fact rewarded for his loutish ways. Personally I yearn to see Trump having to resign in disgrace, even though I realize this means that Mike Pence, someone whose politics are just as bad, if not worse than Trump’s, will ascend to the presidency.

The 2016 election actually confirmed one of the tenets of the American dream –  anyone can become president.  Allow me to rephrase that:  Anyone with money can become president.

As we now know, there are no necessary qualifications for the job of United States president.  You don’t have to have been a politician, a lawyer, a military officer.  There is no need to possess a thorough knowledge of history, science, civics, or economics.  I could be president, even though my greatest life-skill is knowing what to play over a C7+9+5 chord.

If only I had enough money…

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Leave the Maggots alone, only Congress can save us now.

Posted by keithosaunders on May 16, 2017

Yesterday the Washington Post broke the story that Donald Trump may have inadvertently leaked classified information to the Russians.  This prompted immediate calls from my left wing brethren for impeachment.

Many people are still upset at the heartland folks who comprise Trump’s base, but I believe that they are now irrelevant.  The MAGA (Make America Great Again) folks are no longer the problem.  Sure, they did their part to get Fucko elected, but they no longer have any power.  Indeed with the absence of affordable health care and job opportunities, they are screwed under the Trump administration’s legislation.

It’s now up to the Republican Congressmen to impeach Trump. They are the only ones that can fix this mess.  Not the press, not protesters, and not the Democratic minority.  I don’t hold out much hope.

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The decline of western civilization. Part 36: The talk show

Posted by keithosaunders on May 12, 2017

How low have we suck as a society?  There was once a time – in my lifetime, in fact – when you could turn on your television, tune to ABC, and see a top jazz pianist demonstrating the difference between the styles of Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner.

Dick Cavett was urbane to a level which bordered on pretentiousness, but he was able to stay out of the way of his guests, allowing them to shine.  Johnny Carson was a master at this too. Carson loved jazz and had musicians as guests, but you wouldn’t have seen such depth to the interview.  It would be miles above today’s standards, however.  By the way, I had no idea Oscar Peterson was so glib.  He’s the greatest jazz musician guest of all time!

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Bait and switch

Posted by keithosaunders on May 10, 2017

What else is there to say?  Damning testimony from Sally Yates reveals that Donald Trump was advised by Barack Obama not to hire Michael Flynn for NSA?  That’s OK,  just change the conversation by firing James Comey.  The administration is saying that Comey was fired over his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails but that’s such a bald face lie I’m surprised that NPR reporters can keep a straight face while delivering the news.

The thing that confounds me is how difficult it is to discern whether the Trump people are really this incompetent, or if this all misdirection.  And does it even matter?  It appears that whatever was done to pave the way for these oligarchs was done long ago behind closed doors.  Was it Putin, the Heritage Foundation,  or a third party that we haven’t even heard of?  It hardly matters.  We’re in it now.

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