Monday, February 28, 2005

Pick yourself up from the airport

This is a very interesting subject matter I'd like to explore. It started from a casual conversation last night at the Oscar party.

Picking someone up from the airport is a bold, symbolic move. It's less serious than helping someone move but more serious than just giving someone a ride home. It takes initiation and determination. If you offer to take or pick up someone from the airport, it shows that you remotely care about that person.

Evidently, the people who will first volunteer to pick you from the airport are you loved ones: immediate family members, boyfriend, girlfriend, good friend, etc. Casual acquaintances and ordinary friends usually say no. You can't blame them.

However, I'm recently considering even giving airport rides to people who I know only briefly IF THEY ASK ME. Because I know what it feels like to arrive home with nobody picking you up at the airport and you have to wait for a cab or a stupid Super Shuttle (they never come anyway) and pay $50 to get home. It sucks. Unless I'm working or it's 3 o'clock in the morning when I need my sleep or engaging in disorderly conduct, I'll probably say yes to someone who need me to take them to or pick them up at the airport. Just make an appointment with me 2-3 weeks in advance.

The main reason I'm doing this is twofold: 1) I want that person to return the favor when I need it; and 2) to show that I remotely care about that person, whether or not it's true. But it pains me to know that you're losing $50 to some random cab driver who treats you worse than his dog and who never carries adequate change. I'd rather sacrifice my fuel to rescue you from the ultimate mistreatment. And I mean it.


Finally, an obituary....

...that does Pam some justice. Washington Post is conscientious after all, even though it's a week late. David Kane also wrote this beautiful piece about his personal remembrance of Pam.

In the other departments, Million Dollar Baby had a well-deserved win at the Oscars. I was quite pleased with the results. Kate Winslet has the best dress and smile all night. Johnny Depp is cool. Why does Beyonce sing three songs? Congrats to Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and The Incredibles. Will Marty ever win an Oscar. Chris Rock was surprisingly restrained. I liked his joke about Jude Law, except Sean Penn took it personally. Chill out man, it's a gag!

Shit, I need to chill out too. I'm a bit agitated these days. Not sure why.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

Guestbook for Pam

Max Murray has generously set up a guestbook for Pam. For those who have words to say about Pam, please leave them here. Washington Post published this tiny tribute today (better late than never). The GW Hatchet also reports Pam's death today. View this blog entry about this person's connection to Pam. Thievery has a nice Pam tribute page on ESL homepage.

Still no word about a memorial service yet, but will post once I hear something.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

If you're tremendously bored...'s the complete Bushisms for your afternoon delight.

US Idol sucked last night and the night before. I'll start watching it in the last few weeks.

Those tsunami benefits are kinda moot, but at least someone's doing it, albeit a bit late.

Good luck to Charles and Camilla. Reunited at last. Gives us hope, no?


Monday, February 21, 2005

This weekend was a surreal one... went from watching one of my favorite organ players to hearing very unfortunate news about one of my favorite local singers. I'm still in shock. I'm still feeling a bit off the ground.

Pam Bricker passed last night, and like Hunter S. Thompson's death, it was most likely suicide. On a local level, Pam single-handedly made U-Topia one of the most popular jazz clubs in town and revived U Street as one of the most exciting landmarks in DC. She was U-Topia and a historical figure in Washington. On a personal level, Pam has been a great influence in my musical career. I went from sitting at the bar as a fan at U-Topia to being a frequent guest performer on her shows. Somehow she was one of reasons why I picked up the harmonica. Pam never had a bad show. Every one of her shows was just as exciting as the next one. She was very versatile, singing jazz, blues, R&B, folk, bossa nova, and playing some percussions (self-taught). She had the ability to put everyone in a dreamlike state, making eye contact with every customer, establishing a very loyal fan base. Her passing is really a tragedy to the DC music community.

Not long ago, I made a compilation CD called "The Best of Pam Bricker." If you'd like to remember Pam's voice and some of her best performances, I'll burn you a copy if you e-mail me. I hope the Lord takes good care of her. Funeral details to come soon for my readers.

In other departments, Lou Donaldson Quartet gave a dynamite performance at the East Coast Jazz Festival (aka the Rockville Doubletree Jazz Festival) as always. They're one of the tightest group in jazz today and must be seen LIVE! Dr. Lonnie Smith smoked the joints with two great solos, particularly the one on "Alligator Boogaloo." On excitement level alone, Lonnie brought the audience to their feet, moving their bodies and grooving to the rhythm. Technique-wise, he's top-notch and he's also meticulous in using the right phrasings in the right places and never overplays. With Jimmy's death, I am convinced that Dr. Lonnie Smith is THE premiere Hammond B-3 player in the world. He's also a very down-to-earth and soft-spoken person, giving me hugs and everything. What a guy!

I also hung with Pete Fallico, CA radio personality, and author of Doodlin' Lounge, and his wife and Matt, a videotographer from NY. We hung on Saturday and saw an equally exciting Bill Heid with Eric Harper and Big Joe Maher at 219. Pete and Bill go way back, including touring Japan together and Pete helping Bill get his first record deal with Westside in the early 90's. It was a genuinely good time. Haven't heard that much musical fun in awhile.

At the end of the ride, Pete and Matt both told me to watch out for this organ player: Rhoda Scott.


Goodbye Pam

Pam Bricker RIP. This is a sad, sad day.

More details to come soon....


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Dr. Lonnie Smith... the most exciting jazz organ player in the world today!!!

The 10 bands you must listen to LIVE!:
1. Lou Donaldson Quartet
2. Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers
3. Van Morrison & Band
4. Eric Clapton & Band (esp. w/Preston & Portnoy)
5. Diana Krall Quartet
6. Gov't Mule
7. The Meters
8. McCoy Tyner Trio
9. Maceo Parker & All The King's Men
10. Clarence Turner Blues Band (I mean it too....)


Friday, February 18, 2005

Some random thoughts

I think there should be a license for having children. Well, you need one to drive a car. Having kids carries more responsibilities than driving, so to speak.

There should be a law against breast reduction. They should make it a crime.

Netflix is the most superfluous invention since tape rewinders.

I'm currently in love with this girl's songs right now. Try "stay up." Puts me in a dreamlike state. The last time someone did that to me was when Julie Deply sang "Let me sing you a waltz...."

I'm going to see Lou Donaldson/Dr. Lonnie Smith tonight at the Rockville Doubletree Hotel. You should find me there at around 11:30 p.m. I need to pay tribute to the doctor. It's a dying genre and the least I could do is show my support.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

5 silver dollars

I need help from my beloved readers. I was at church the other day and we were each given 5 silver dollars. The passage of the Bible of that day had to do with the master giving 100, 200 and 500 bushels to his servants, and the last two came back with double the amount where the first one put it in the ground and bury it and give back to the master the original 100 bushels. The master scolded the servant "lazy." You've all heard the story. So the exercise is to use our talents to make these 5 silver dollars become more money so we can give back to the church on Easter's Sunday. Now I'm pretty stuck.

I have the time between now and April to do this. What I can I do? I can't bake and I can't sew. So those are out of the question. Can someone come up with some pragmatic suggestions of what I can do to invest the 5 silver dollars wisely? Please, I need help.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Here we go again

Saw some of the Grammy's last night. It's clear that they loved Ray Charles. I do think that "Record of the Year" was well deserved b/c "Here We Go Again" WAS the best song all last year and Norah Jones' voice is just heavenly (though somehow she sucked in "Across The Universe"). Billy Preston's organ solo almost made me burst out in tears because it was so breathtakingly beautiful (a close second to Stevie Wonder's harmonica solo on Tony Bennett's "Everyday I Have the Blues"). It was a night for Ray. Jamie Foxx, however, should stick to acting, because his singing was just not happening.

In sum, I think the Grammy was as fair as it could be (check out the complete winner list here). Honoring Pinetop Perkins was a good call. It's about time. Queen Latifah is a better ballad singer than she's a rapper. I was quite impressed by Los Lonely Boys. But truly, and absolutely, ALICIA KEYS STOLE THE SHOW with "If I Ain't Got You." The girl has more soul than the music industry can handle. So here I am, I say shame on you to U2, John Mayer, Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, and especially Green Day, Alicia Keys has more soul than all of you guys combined, plus she's hot. Just go home.

Ray Charles has left a nice legacy, and Alicia Keys proved it. So watch out for Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, and some of Beyonce's stuff.

P.S. Check out Wayne Wilentz's pop quiz on Citypaper.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Musical Friday

I cancelled all my plans today. Ditched the happy hour at Ozio's. Also didn't go to see either Fathead Newman at the new Twins or buddy Lyle Link at the old Twins. Just sat home watching a New Orleans jazz fest video and listening to Jeff's pirated copy (not pejorative in any way) of Jimmy Smith's "8 Counts of Rita," and Joe Stanley's honking saxophone. Enjoying a truly relaxed Friday night at the crib with me and my music.

Gig got cancelled last minute at Zig's (I swear I'll never play there again, but they've got three really attractive waitresses working there. They're really attractive!). Good thing Jeff didn't do this one. Can you imagine driving close to 2 hours from Baltimore and finding out the gig wasn't happening on the spot? Their excuse was lame. They said to us at 9:30 no one has come in (but there were close to 20 people at the bar) and our gig was supposed to start at 10. They also told us we should've been doing soundcheck at 7. Do they really think they're Kennedy Center? Whatever!

Musically speaking, I might be heading toward another break. Big Joe Maher has agreed to do 4 dates with me. What an honor. On top of that, Jeff Sarli has agreed to do 2 of the 4 Big Joe/Sonny Boy dates. Jeff Sarli's an artist that needs no introduction. He is an accoustic bass stylist. He currently gigs with John Mooney, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana (Elvis's original guitarist and drummer), Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun, and recorded with none other than the Rolling Stones. We had a nice talk on the phone today, where we talked about everything from music to life. This cat is cool, and he agrees to do those dates with no hesitation, though he warned me "I'm going to fly to Italy this Friday and I'll gonna be at the New Orleans Jazz Fest at the end of April." I said, "No problem, man."

I also updated my past gig schedule on my website. This is by no means a complete list, and I was doing it straight from memory so I might miss a few gigs. For one, I didn't list all those weeks playing at Ledbetter with Clarence and at Cafe Toulouse with Jesse James cuz that would be too much. But this list is a pretty good representation of my musical journey thus far. There were a few bad gigs in between (like NYE party w/ Johnny Ticktin and a couple of Europa gigs), but I will admit that I was content with 80% of the shows. For instance, I played a dynamite show with Clarence in Timonium this Wednesday and gigs like that are memorable. My favorite gigs so far are both DC Blues Festivals, African-American Heritage Festival, Live at Arlington TV, Benefit for Moses Munene, the first Twins gig, the first Jammin' Java gig w/ BOB, and of course Blues Alley.

So my gut tells me I must be doing somethin' right...


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The blues comes in all shapes and forms

This is the blues. The Father of Hammond B-3 organ Jimmy Smith passed away today. This is to reaffirm that jazz organ (with the left hand bass) is a dying genre. I saw Jimmy Smith twice (both at 9:30 Club and both times he had an electric bass player and both times he was mean as hell.) But it was like going to the pilgrims. I didn't regret seeing him, for I was witnessing someone who was great and was the innovator of a genre of jazz. There are few and far between folks who still play the traditional B-3 RIGHT these days. I can think of Dr. Lonnie Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Jimmy McGriff, Mel Rhyne, Larry Goldings, Reuben Wilson, and my main man Bill Heid....shit, can't even count with ten fingers. Check out Pete Fallico's tribute to Jimmy Smith here.

Keep the music alive!


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy Lunar New Year

to all my family, friends, and those who I care about and vice versa. This is the year of the Rooster. I wish you good health and nice spirits. More comforting thoughts to tsunami victims. I hope world peace will be in place and the Republican party will do fewer immoral things. I also hope I will less bitter about certain matters. Kung Hei Fat Choy!


Monday, February 07, 2005

Who can I turn to?

Wings or run? Hard decision.

No music this weekend. Perfect opportunity to lay low for the weekend. Ended up at a semi-Superbowl dinner thing watching Paul McCartney kick ass and not caring about the results. Need to re-watch Kung Fu Hustle. Now I understand why we need to fight piracy because of its bad quality.

My main man Edward has released his first music video on this site. I haven't seen it yet but will. He's what I call a true music genius (an original cat) with lots of great ideas. He may be the next Pete Yorn or Coldplay (musically he's even on a higher level). And I hate alternative rock. Look who's talking.

I'm gigging a lot lately, for which I'm grateful. And the Elisa Martin Crosby Fundraiser thing is coming up soon. Same lineup as last year. Is that qualified for pro bono work for Maryland? I hope so. Anyway, more details coming up. But you can't beat a night of good blues music for charity.

Also, my good friend Lyle Link is having his quartet at the Old Twins (Colorado Ave.) this weekend, I'm thinking of checking it out. It should be a fine quartet. Any takers?

Mondays are boring. Would someone leave me a nice thought or tell me something funny in the Comments section below, please?


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

On a musical note

Let's talk music! My harmonica idol William Tang has a new album out called The Other Side. Will is releasing the CD on Feb 1, 2005 as part of his Hong Kong tour. I've heard that it's been very successful and he has also been meeting with his harp fans and friends. Good luck, Will.

My buddies Band of Blue have been taking a hiatus from gigging, but they won 3rd place in the Fortune Magazine Battle of the Bands in Cleveland, OH and their website has launched some saucy sound bites from past gigs. It's a great collection of laid-back, soulful music. Look for yours truly on the harmonica on some of the songs.

Last but not least, my roommate Greg and good friends Duff, Kris and Kevin have recorded some demos that can be found on this page. Check them out! The website is Duff's baby. He's a good guitar teacher and gives good lessons, the last time I checked. So do yourself a favor and give this site a visit.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The end of blogging?

What happened? Hmcd is semi-retired. Brian has closed down his life journal before the scheduled date (2/14/05). Doc Conlin and Krawdaddee are not blogging as frequently as before. Other blogs are just not as interesting and well-written. Who else is there to satisfy my voyeuristic interests?

Perhaps blogging is a waste of time (as James and I so discussed), but reading other people's blogs is kinda like a daily activity, e.g. reading the morning newspaper with your customary cup of coffee. Sitting down in front of the computer reading other people's supposedly private thoughts has become one of my favorite pasttimes in the last year. Yeah, I'm a literary Peeping Tom.

Is it a phase or does it have permanancy? Does blogging keep people closer or make us more distant? I think it keeps us closer because it allows like-minded individuals to link up each other electronically. It puts a distance between us because you don't feel the need to meet the actual person to truly comprehend her thoughts. Words are just words. They may look good on the screen but when you see the authors in real life, what losers, what social rejects, what inept human beings? Case in point, there are a few of my blogsphere buddies whom I have not met in real life. How pathetic is that?

On that note, farewell to those who decided to leave the blogsphere. I'm still here. Pay me a visit once in a bluemoon maybe you'll learn something.


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