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Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Goals.

Well the Christmas season has come and gone and although it's always great seeing family and friends and engaging in Christmas traditions, it's always nice to bring in a new year. New goals and fresh ideas. I plan to finish this guitar method book for sure. I'd like to make a few recordings with different groups I play with as well. My band Sean Bray's Peach Trio has a nice concert gig at the Old Mill in Toronto in March so I'm going to try and record that night. I also want to finish a duo recording of standards with bassist Mark Dunn which we started a while back. I love playing in that configuration. 

I received some nice CDs for Christmas which is always nice. You can never have too much music. One CD that really surprised me was Tony Bennett's Duets 2. I am a big Tony Bennett fan but not a huge fan of duet records with different guests on every track. I find they can be very disjointed to say the least. My other concern was that Tony is in his mid eighties and I have heard him lately on television and he wasn't at his vocal best but on this record he sounds fantastic. 

I've been listening to:

Bill Frisell's John Lennon CD "All We Are Saying". Really dug this. His usual trio of late (Tony Scherr on bass and Kenny Wollesen on drums) augmented by Jenny Scheinman on violin and Greg Liesz on pedal and lap steel. Frisell always keeps it interesting for sure and is such a musical painter. His ensembles always sound great and unique.

Steve Martin's and the Steep Canyon Rangers "Rare Bird Alert". Man, Steve Martin has always been a fantastic comedian, stand-up and movies, but is also a  legit burning banjo player. The liner notes alone are worth the money. He does a bluegrass version of his 70's comedy hit "King Tut". Crack me up! As well as funny liner notes and some humorous lyrics the music is stellar. 

Sonny Rollins "Newk's Time". Sonny's glorious tenor sax sound. Does it get any better? Wynton Kelly on piano, Philly Joe Jones on drums and Doug Watkins on bass. Recorded in September 1957 at the famous Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ by Rudy Van Gelder. Van Gelder had a way of recording the musicians and the whole vibe of the room and the spontaneity of the moment. Well worth buying if you don't already have it. A must for any jazz collection.

I'm going to New York tomorrow for three days with my wife. I love that city. I lived there in the late 80's and it changed my life. We are going to see "War Horse" on Broadway which is supposed to be absolutely brilliant. Some critics say it's the best large scale play they have ever seen. We are also going to catch Brad Mehldau's trio at the Village Vanguard. I love that club and I love that group. Should be fun.

My band Sean Bray's Peach Trio will playing at The Rex Hotel and Jazz bar in Toronto on Sunday January 15th. Show starts at 9:30. The band plays mostly originals of mine with a few other well known tunes mixed in but played our way. Mark Dunn is the bass player in that band along with drummer David MacDougall.
Fun group.

That's all for now.

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