MetroSongs Volume 4: on CD (and maybe in your house)

metrosongs4I’m excited to be working with Jason Mendelson and the Open Doors on Volume 4 of  MetroSongs, a musical journey inspired by the stations of the Washington, DC Metro subway system. For Volume 4, Jason plans to record the full Open Doors band for the first time, and include songs written or co-written by members of the band in addition to Jason himself. Our goal is to release a professionally mastered album, plus accompanying video on DVD to add visuals to that audio.

Jason kicked off a Kickstarter campaign to get us going with this project. I encourage you to check it out and help support this unique musical adventure. We’re accepting contributions small and large; we’re offering great benefits, including the opportunity to host a live MetroSongs concert in your living room!

I’ve had a blast playing MetroSongs with the Open Doors, and having the opportunity to write some MetroSongs of my own (you can hear “Cleveland Park” on Volume 3). I have at least two more station tributes in the works for Volume 4, starting with “Friendship Heights.”

I look forward to your support!

Thanks for a great jam

We had a fun time at Dahlak last night, when we welcomed special guest Glenn Donnellan from the National Symphony Orchestra to the second Sunday DC Jazz Jam. Glenn is a violinist with the orchestra, but for this gig brought along his electric “batolin.” This is not just a baseball bat turned into a musical instrument, but a custom Louisville Slugger made especially for that purpose.

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I think we were successful in bridging the classical-jazz gap with a selection of standards that gave Glenn space to take the lead (and take some solos). I was also pleased that we had a chance to perform a new tune of mine, “Three for Three” (available on the original music page), and end the session with a super-fast rendition of the “18th Street Theme.”

By the way, there’s still time to vote for the DC Jazz Jam (“DC Jazz Jam @ Dahlak”) as Best Jazz Jam Session in DC in the Washington City Paper Best Of Poll.

December gigs: MetroSongs live!

This month’s performance schedule starts with a live MetroSongs performance by Jason Mendelson and the Open Doors, with me in the keyboard chair. We’ll be at Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill in DC on Thursday Dec. 6, performing about an hour of MetroSongs, including a new song about Union Station and my composition for Cleveland Park. DC singer-songwriter Amanda Lee is opening for the Open Doors. The coffeehouse is at 201 F St. NE in Washington, a couple of blocks from Union Station. Tickets for the show are $10, and doors open at 7:00 pm.

My regular Black Fox gigs with Aaron Myers and the Black Fox Ensemble continue in December, with with two performances on Dec. 7 and 21. As always, these Friday night shows start at 9:30 pm, and as always there’s no cover charge for the music. I have a new instrumental tune, “Three For Three”, that I’m hoping to play at one of these shows.

The DC Jazz Jam is going strong in December as well. I’ll be in the second Sunday house band on Sunday Dec. 9, 6:30-9:30 pm at Dahlak, joining the house band of Mark Caruso on guitar, Dahni Scally on bass, and Paul Jung at the drums.

A song for Thanksgiving

There are a number of songs for Thanksgiving, but I think it’s fair to say that the holiday is underserved in the music department, especially when compared to a particular holiday later in the year (actually holidays: there are plenty of songs for Xmas as well).

I decided to fill this gap in Thanksgiving music last year with an original song for the holiday, “Thanksgiving With Uncle Rob.” (originally titled “No Thanks”). It’s dedicated to my Uncle Rob, who is always so happy to see the family at holiday times.

I’m not much of a singer (as you can tell if you listen to my demo of this number on Soundcloud), so I’ll be happy to welcome any vocalist who wants to give this one a try.

If you have ideas for other underserved (or undersung) holidays that deserve songs of their, please let me know as well.

Photo by Sugar Daze from flickr

Busy musical weekend starts tonight

Three gigs in three days this weekend, starting tonight (Friday Sept. 7) with the regular first Friday show at the Black Fox Lounge in Dupont Circle DC. I’ll be at the piano backing vocalist Aaron Myers along with the rest of the Black Fox Ensemble: Percy White on bass and Will Stephens at the drums. The show starts around 9:30 pm, and as always there’s no cover charge for the music.

The music continues on Saturday Sept. 8th at 8:00 pm, when I join Jason Mendelson and the Open Doors for a special MetroSongs performance at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park DC to celebrate the release of MetroSongs Volume 3: “Red Handed”. Harris Face and Zia Hassan are opening for our band.

As part of our set, we will perform my contribution to the metroSongs oeuvre, “Cleveland Park“, which is included in Volume 3.

The musical trifecta wraps up on Sunday Sept. 9 at 6:30 pm, when I join the second Sunday house band for the DC Jazz Jam at Dahlak, 1771 U Street NW, Washington, DC.

Hope you can come out and hear the music!

A theme for the jam

I’m happy to be part of the second Sunday house band for the DC Jazz Jam, a weekly Sunday evening event that has grown into a very active jazz happening over the past year. The jam regularly attracts five or more guest horn players, plus plenty of rhythm players to sit in with the house quartet.

[Updated August 7] With those horns in mind, I wrote the “18th Street Theme” for the jam, hoping to capture an Art Blakey vibe, particularly if we can get a few of those sax and trumpet players to join in on the head. I hope we’ll get a chance to try out the new tune later this month (or next).