I’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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Three gigs in three days this weekend, starting tonight (Friday Sept. 7) with the regular first Friday show at theBlack 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.
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).
I’ll be back at the Black Fox Lounge tonight, Friday June 15, from 9:30pm, with Aaron Myers and the rest of the Ensemble, Percy White and Will Stephens.
It’s been a thrill to play with the same musicians on a regular basis for a long time (over a year); that’s given us the opportunity to work out arrangements and respond well to any surprises that come up in the show. For me, it’s also been an excellent opportunity to showcase some of my original material, like this tribute to the DC subway.
Coming next week, MetroSongs live at Artomatic in Crystal City, VA, Saturday June 2 at 4:00 pm. We’ll be on the main stage on the 10th floor of this 11-floor art extravaganza. Come out for the music, stay for the art (or vice versa).
I’m looking forward to playing a selection of MetroSongs at the Artomatic festival in Crystal City, VA on June 2 at 4 pm. I’ll be on keyboards with Jason Mendelson and the Open Doors.
All I know about this event is what I read in the papers (to paraphrase Will Rogers); apparently Artomatic is what happens when a bunch of artists and musicians take over an 11-story office building in near-suburban northern Virginia. We’ll be on the 10th floor on the main stage.
By the way, if you’re interested in experiencing MetroSongs before the show, you can check out some videos of our live performances, and of course listen to the songs themselves.