Monday, April 25, 2005

East of the sun, west of the moon

My blog entries are not flesh and blood anymore. The guts are gone; I'm more tame and peaceful these days. Or plain cowardly. Now it seems like my blog is my commentary on music or what's going on in the world. But it's not really an original commentary. It's rehash from news channel or radio personalities. I have a rough idea of who's reading my blog and who's there with a critical eye. I can't cross that line b/c I have to be responsible for what I say. Even some take it personally, or literally, or have no sense of humor at all.

Jeffrey Conlin is my new hero. Truly! His new blog entry is all flesh and blood. It's all that I've been evading in the past few months. That's how I first started my blog. Why should I even care about offending anybody? Who cares if the Pope actually reads it (the new Pope, I mean)? So this blog entry goes out to Jeff Conlin, the new Buster Keaton. The guy who plays the 'i can't live without you, but I can't be with you, you're too good to me, blah blah blah' role oh so well.

Been there, done that. Not a good feeling. But what can I say? The nice guy role is too tough to play. You get sick of repeating yourself. Help you with furniture, picking you up from the airport. We're all selfish animals. We do things for a purpose. Anything you do you want someone to be impressed or return the favor. Usually you do it for the opposite sex. Or someone you care about, hoping that they'll care about you back. The world doesn't work this way, my friend. People use you, take advantage of you. The nice guy doesn't get respect. He might, in 30 or 40 years when someone realizes why didn't I go for it back then? It's too late, baby, it's too late. Carole King says something meaningful for once.

The Chet Baker mood attacks awfully early this year. Could be the weird weather. Could be the unwelcomed return of moodswings (like Star Wars III). I sleep so well these days. Partly because I have no regrets. But mostly because I am tired.

Life goes on. An occasional cup of Latte at Starbucks could solve some problems. Take a long walk, breathe some fresh air. There's more love in the world that we realize. But it's there. You just need to go find it.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Went to U-Topia last nite

...with Greg. Didn't find Wayne, just Dave and Jim, but found Eli stepping into Wayne's shoes. Highlight of the evening was running into Gavin Fallow after his much anticipated return from the Netherlands. He brought his six-string electric bass and it was Gavin-istic as usual. Sat down with his homies and started spilling his guts. This is a player I miss. Didn't get a chance to hear him play but the opportunity will come. When he introduced me to his homies, he said, "Henry plays blues. Real blues." Best compliment I've received all week, and coming from one of the best bassists I've ever heard...I'm indeed flattered.

The other great compliment I got was after I sat in with Natural Born Easy at Music Box last week, this guy came to me and said, "You sound like one of those old Chess blues recordings." Finally, someone recognized because that's what I've been trying to do from the get go.

I'm just doing my thang. LEAVE ME ALONE!!!


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Quote of the day

Never bring chicken wings to a Buddhist temple.

I have to start writing stuff down or else I'll forget it.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Johnny B. Goode

Another blues hero passed. Johnnie Johnson, a Rock N' Roll Hall of Famer, inspiration for the song "Johnny B. Goode," died April 13 at his home in St. Louis. He was 80 and suffered recently from pneumonia and a kidney ailment.

There are fewer and fewer people who can play authentic blues piano these days.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Hot or not so hot?

I haven't done an official weekend update in awhile, but here it is. People are still mean, but these days I get by.

Friday night I went to see Greg and the guys at Mayorga Coffee. Shit! Best coffee I've tasted in awhile. They are serious about their coffee. Nice venue too. Real cozy for music that is soothing and quiet. I'm sick of wearing earplugs to wherever I go these days. It was soul-healing, both music and coffee. After that I went to the newly opened Music Box to drop off my promo package. Incidentally (or is it?), my friend Scott's band Natural Born Easy (a Dead-Phish cover jam band) was playing. They invited me to play a couple of songs with them and advertised my gig there on June 17. How cool! Hey guys, seriously, this is a new music venue y'all should support.

Saturday I took Paul to Archie's Barbershop after our lesson. It was good to return after about 2 years of absence. To our surprise, we found folk legend Warner Williams playing his guitar and singing some tunes. It was good to see some old friend again, and some not so old. I congratulated Mike Baytop for this "Keep the Blues Alive Award" from WC Handy. I'm still not a big fan of aimless jamming and trying to go with the flow and stuff. Maybe that's why I don't go to jams anymore. Or just because I'm busy. The gig at Toulouse wasn't so hot, partly because Sean broke his rib in the shower, and partly because Clarence isn't a big fan of Adams Morgan parking. The crowd was weird but we did our thang. We'll be playing this Saturday with DC legend Whop Frazier.

Sunday was just chilling (NOT!). Worked many hours on this contract and later treated myself to Oldboy, a crazy Korean movie. It was partly a masterpiece and partly a failure. It was a masterpiece because it has many elements of intense energy, a la Scorsese's early films like Taxi Driver and King of Comedy. It was a failure because the story was really about nothing. Perhaps it pokes fun at Korean culture and Korean people. The actor is excellent and he's the one who makes an unbelievable movie believable. The film is very violent. Not recommended if you have small children or a pregnant wife.

I'm going to yoga today after a week of absence. I need to restore clarity, integrity, a little bit of raw energy. So long, everybody.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Give back my cookie jar, you punk!

Max linked an excerpt of my Pam memorial recount on Pam's website. I'm indeed honored. Check out the nice banner he's made for me.

Lots of nice musical things going on in town. Too many shows. Too little time. I'm going to see the Washington Bach Consort show at Library of Congress tomorrow night. At the same time, two concerts are happening. One is a dream jazz team at the IMAX theatre at the Natural History Museum starring Keter Betts, Norman Simmons, Warren Vache, Harry Allen and Eddie Locke (bummer I have to miss this). The other one is my proteges DC Groove Quartet at Mayorga Coffee in Bethesda, starring Greg Pace, Duff Davis, Kris Friday and Kevin.

Britney is pregnant. What can I say?

In the other areas of life, I'm slowing getting back to the groove. There are finally a few movies I want to see: Fever Pitch, Eros, and Oldboy. Any takers? Also, Kung Fu Hustle is going to hit big in the theatres soon. Highly recommended. Saw the real Dru Lore at Toulouse last week. Still legendary as usual. What strikes me is that the fake Dru Lore (on American Idol) has more Dru Lore characteristics than the real Dru Lore. What does that tell ya?

People only treat you as the real thing if you treat them as such. Annapolis on a Wednesday night is full of life, pretty girls, and people dressed in naval academy uniforms.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Back to Square One

Check out the DC Groove Quartet's debut performance at Mayorga Coffee this Friday night. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. Mayorga is located 8201 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda MD. Great location! Come on by and give these guys all your support!

Duff brought his flamenco man to my Toulouse gig and they had a pretty cool duo. Duff's fantastic on the flamenco guitar. Made some of the black guys on the balcony say, "We should start rapping now!"

Crazy people, crazy things, Crazy weekend. Things should start to slow down a bit. My uncle and his family are in town, so I took them out to Georgetown and see the Exorcist stairs.

I just found a coupla quotes. One says, "I should be confused but I'm too complete." The other reads, "Being vulnerable looks beautiful but scarier than I imagined." I'm now moved and touched and inspired. Sue me.


Friday, April 08, 2005

The photo says it all

The world mourns. May he RIP.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Gizoogle it

This is the best website ever! Type your name in the search engine and find out.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Reflections on Pam Bricker's memorial service and other stuff in the can

Went to Pam's memorial service on Saturday. It was nicely put together by Rev. Karen Gray. The turnout was great too. The people who showed up were from all over the map, from Pam's closest friends to her close musical collaborators including members of the Thievery Corporation. During this event, I learned more about Pam than I ever did. For instance, I learned that Pam was a good friend of Patch Adams' and that Patch wrote a letter to Pam describing their encounters together and how Pam was always supportive in Patch's pursuit to his first hospital.

I also learned that Pam was a wonderful wife. It was also a delight to have finally seen the mystical/legendary Gareth Branwyn (Pam's ex-husband) after hearing so many things about him from various people. He appeared very sincere and had a good sense of humor. His speech was the most thorough and informative that afternoon. I applauded Gareth's courage to be as clear and bold as possible. He had not a negative thing to say about Pam, even though they separated two years ago. There was not a hint of hate that Gareth felt about the breakup. Instead, Gareth spent some time commending Pam's contribution both to the DC music community and to the family. Gareth emphasized that Pam was always there for their family and she balanced her dual role as a musician/wife really well.

Most of all, I learned first-hand accounts of Pam as a great Mom. It was humorous for Pam's son, Blake, to say, "I first met Pam when I came out of her," after a bevy of guests said they first met Pam at one of her gigs or whatnot. Another teenager testified that Pam was like a second-Mom to him and that she used to sing lullabys to him and Blake when they had trouble sleeping. He then burst into heartfelt tears. That was perhaps the most moving moment in the entire event. Another woman said, "I know you all know Pam as a great jazz singer. I haven't heard any of the Theivery stuff, but Pam used to sing camp songs to us." That humurous statement earned light laughter from the audience and sheer embarassment from the Thievery quartet, who was sitting on the same row as me.

Another great moment was after playing one of Pam's recordings, "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," the whole congregation engaged in a standing ovation and non-stop applause, giving Pam the recognition that she so evidently deserved. The best musical moment came from Dave Kane's beautiful solo piano on "Some Other Time," a Leonard Bernstein composition, a song that Kane explained was one of the break songs that he and Pam used to perform at Henley Park.

It was a wonderful afternoon full of good music and great stories. Pam would've been proud. May God rest you in peace, Pam.

The rest of the weekend was great. Perhaps having been inspired by the Pam memorial, I played one of my best gigs in a long time with Bill Heid, Big Joe Maher and the "Supreme Court Justice of the Blues," Clarence The Bluesman at the soulful New Haven Lounge. What a show! The audience was digging it! Besides minor midgetation, the evening was one of the most electrifying blues performances I've had in awhile. This group is tight and should travel! Thanks to those who showed up to see me. I realize I do have a lot of fans in Baltimore.

Also, I want to mention the 13th Floor in Belvedere Hotel is the hippest lounge in Baltimore. It's an oasis! Do check it out!


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