Even though this is titled February News and Dates, most of the news here is going to be old news. My original intention was to blog about my January Bay Area/LA Medium Tour for Peace. Wasn’t able to stay on top of that. Did put a lot of tweets out there if you were following me on twitter.
Here’s a recap: landed in SF airport a day before my San Rafael concert. Stayed at my friend Richard’s house in San Rafael. It was so great to see him where he lives. He’s always coming to New York. On Friday he was away most of the day and I got to enjoy his wonderful house which is located on a canal. You can find photos here.
A friend of mine from NY, Jill, picked me up from Richard’s and I went back to Joel and Jill’s. They invited some other friends that I had known in New York and we had a really nice pre concert little get together. Really nice. Joel drove me out to the concert because I had to be there early to set up.
Richard helped me with the concert bigtime. When I’m doing a concert alone, especially when there are refreshments involved, it’s a real scramble. Have to get everything set-up and collect tickets at the door. Richard was on top of it and it made my concert so much more enjoyable. The turnout was okay. Not great. I knew almost everyone who was in the audience, and that was great. I was playing on what I thought was a 9 foot Grotrian piano. But in looking back at their inventory at J-B Pianos, it might have been 7 1/2 feet. 7 1/2 feet would explain why the low end was not what I thought a 9 foot piano should have. I did enjoy playing it, but I have been spoiled lately by some the amazing pianos that I have been so fortunate to play. Hung out after the gig for a little while.
Stayed at Joel and Jill’s house Friday night and had one more verification, that I am no longer allergic to cats. You can see photos of their house here. (look at the second and third rows down)
From there I was picked up by my cousin Helm and his wife, Sawako. (I missed their wedding because of work grr…) We went up to meet with another friend from NY, Paul. We went hiking up near Mt. Tamalpais. The weather was outstanding. It was crystal clear blue skies and in the upper 60’s. After our hike, Helm and Sawako took me back via a beautiful park where I took this picture of the Golden Gate bridge around sunset with the full moon rising over her bay.
Helm, Sawako, and I worked up quite an appetite hiking, so they took me out to this amazing Burmese restaurant called “Burma Superstar.” We were very lucky because Helm and Sawako had a special number to call otherwise it would have been a 2 hour wait on Saturday night. It would have been worth the 2 hour wait, but I’m glad we only waited about 15 minutes. Stayed with Helm and Sawako Saturday night and verified, once and for all, that I am no long allergic to cats. I grew out of it. Yay! So happy to not have to avoid houses with cats anymore. Guess it’s not all bad getting old. hehe ahem, getting older.
The next day was yet another clear blue skies beautiful day. So lucky. Sawako went out for her run, and Helm and I went out after for a jog/walk along the Bay. So beautiful!! Then Helm drove me over to Oakland where we had a quick lunch before my concert at Chapel of the Chimes with Joe Bongiorno, Scott D. Davis, and special guest star Jeff Oster. This concert was amazing. Really nice Steinway B and a very nice vibe. Playing with Joe and Scott was really nice and being able to do a little jam thing at the end with Jeff Oster was so much fun.
Helm was gracious enough to stay and drive me back to San Francisco where we met up with Richard again, my cousin Judith, Sawako, and their friends. We ate at Cafe Gratitude, a raw food restaurant. Richard and I liked it in San Rafael so much we ate lunch and dinner there. And here we were enjoying it again. Great food and company.
From there we headed straight for my Whisperings concert with Joe Bongiorno and Steven Cravis. For those who are uninitiated, Whisperings is and internet radio station that was created by David Nevue. We had a great time playing at the Community Music Center in the mission district of San Francisco. Here’s a picture of three happy Whisperings artists after concert.
The morning had to get to work, but dropped me at BART to get to the airport. It was a snap. Never was on BART before. When I lived in Oakland in the 70’s, BART was just being worked on. Flew down to LA, and went straight over to see my folks in the San Fernando Valley.
That night I had a concert with Joe Bongiorno and Joseph Akins at Brand Recital Hall. It was great to play and meet Joseph, but the turnout in Glendale was pretty light. I spoke to a good friend who lives in LA and she said, that’s just LA. It’s rough to get anyone to come out. I think it’s also the sign of the times. It is definitely more difficult now. Anyway, my folks and brother got to hear me do my solo piano thing for the first time, so that was cool.
On Tuesday afternoon I dropped by to see Ben Dowling, another Whisperings artist who lives close to where my folks live. He played my some tracks he was working on. Smokin stuff.
Spent time with my fam on Wednesday afternoon. Took them all out to dinner at a great Italian restaurant. Then I went to play my gig at the Center for Spiritual Living in Westlake. My very good old buddy from LA came and I was really happy about that. Did my solo piano thing on a nice keyboard. Would have been nice if it was an acoustic grand, but hey, it was a gig on a Wednesday. Not going to complain.
On Thursday morning I headed down to the NAMM show in Anaheim where a bunch of Whisperings artists were getting together to check out new gear. Joe Bongiorno and I were bunking together at the Comfort Inn close by the convention center.
Joe brought a keyboard to the room, which was cool. Did some playing for Gary Garritan who has the Garritan Steinway library. I enjoyed playing on it. Played for him as demo guy for about an hour. I still have to hit him up for the library. I liked the way it sounded. Still doesn’t replace the real thing.
Hung out with Joe Bongiorno and then met up with David Nevue, Michele McLaughlin, Joseph Akins, and Gary Girourd. We all went out to a Red Robin hehe for dinner. Gary had biz to attend to so he couldn’t be there. I have the best time whenever i get together with other Whisperings artists. You really should consider coming to the NAMM show or some place where Whisperings artists get together. It’s always a great hang with stimulating conversation and fun times. It’s pretty magical. Check out all the NAMM photos.
On Friday, I took it kind of easy at the show. I was hired to play for an hour at the Samick Piano booth, but that ended up being kind of a dud. I left early to get my energy together for my final concert of the tour at Soul at Home in Tustin, about 15 minutes away from Anaheim. This was my return engagement and it ended up being my best concert of my Bay Area/LA Medium Tour for Peace. I was very relaxed and the piano and the room and the people who came to see me, it was the perfect storm for a great concert. Started with an Improv for Peace and played a few things from my upcoming CD as well as music from my other two solo piano CDs. I received my second standing ovation that I have ever gotten and it was the perfect way to wrap up my tour.
On Saturday morning I got up really early and headed back to New York. I had to drive my daughter to her college the next day and needed to be in by Saturday night. I was sorry to leave. The Whisperings gang was going to play Soul at Home on Saturday night and I would have loved to have been there. But, family called, and family comes first.
I love touring. Seeing family and friends and playing concerts was the best. Oh, and did I mention that there were blue skies and 80 degree temps every day that I was there while there were single digits and snow in New York? Not too shabby. If you’re reading this, you’re a true fan, friend, or family member. Thanks for your interest.
love and peace always and everywhere~