The World According to Keitho

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

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

Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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

 

Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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…

 

Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

 

Posted in life, media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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…

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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!

Posted in jazz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Tinder follies

Posted by keithosaunders on May 1, 2017

Yes, I admit it.  I’m a man in his 50s who is on Tinder. WHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?!   I’ve actually been on a couple of Tinder dates, and while they haven’t yet led to a relationship, they were good experiences.

I’ve noticed a similarity in many of the profiles that I view.  In regards to photos, people seem to check off certain boxes.  For instance, I am surprised at how many photos I see of women scuba diving.  Really?  Is scuba diving a thing?  I’m thinking that it must signify wealth and health.  I’m sure it’s not cheap, and you must have to be in some kind of shape to deal with it.

So you have the scuba photos, and these are almost always accompanied by photos in ski gear, as well as beach photos.  Throw in a photo with your pet, and one of you standing in front of some corporate logo at a swanky affair and you’ve got yourself a Tinder profile.

Needless to say I’m not into scuba and skiing and the photos of me sitting behind a piano do not seem to be capturing the imagination of a nation, so I gave a friend who is good with photoshop, an assignment.  Here is his first effort.  I expect that my social calendar will soon be filled to the brim.

 

scuba keith

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 14 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.

Posted in jazz, San Francisco, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The jazz woo

Posted by keithosaunders on March 7, 2017

Alcoa presents: The Jazz Ethicist…with Keitho!

Dear J.E. When is the proper time to employ the jazz ‘woo?’

Curious Yellow

Dear CY,

Good question! First of all, whatever you do, do not use it on the bandstand. Horn players, when they are not soling, should effect an insouciance with head cocked at 45 degree angles, looking passively into the audience, occasionally snapping on the 2 and/or the 4.

NOW. During the break you will be talking about great musicians with your fellow band members. For example, someone one will say, “Herbie was killing it on Speak Like a Child!”

Now is your chance.

With a barely audible, yet excited 2 second falsetto, you proclaim, “Ooooh!”

Note: The W in ‘woo’ is silent – if you say ‘woo’ you’ve blown it and will be instantly ostracized from the herd.

I hope this helps.

Posted in jazz, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »