Back from Berlin

WOW What a great trip. Great music and great people. I have posted a bunch of pics on FB. Played to a bunch of great people in a number of neat venues. Life is an interesting place with eye opening experiences everywhere if you just look!!

brian and Steve

brian and Steve

david steve dave randy brian terry ggc with the combo sj terry and dave

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Building up to the Germany Trip

When we were trying to gear the music choices for this trip to the appropriate venues, we were thinking we would be playing for some “store front” churches. That is, nothing really exciting or demonstrative as far as the venue is concerned, coffee shop gig sort of thing.  Not a problem, just you program it a little differently.

flyer for one of our gigs.

flyer for one of our gigs.

Then we got these two pdf’s from one of the places we are booked to play. Wow. Very technically exciting and very much of an upscale type venue. SO…..I think this will be more of a BLAST than I thought……. and the drummer said “something I never thought about, electronic drums!!”  PastedGraphic-1   TPG Stageplan Jazz Mai 2015

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Video Promo for Douglas and the Band!!!

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midst all great plans……

So, earlier in the year we had been contracted to play(the EJS BIG BAND) for a fundraiser at a “farm” so we could provide entertainment and they could dance and spend money for a “hippo therapy” facility or whatever.   What happened was, they “couldn’t get enough silent auction items” so they postponed the gig. To September!  So, the EJS was all geared up for a gig and no where to play.  We reached out and found that the Sonoraville HS didn’t have an auditorium, much less a theater and was trying to put together enough cash for finishing out a “black box” theater in the school. BINGO!!!! What a great cause to play for.  We made arrangements and showed up for the gig. Great gig, inside a gym but that was no big deal, great people lots of power and lights, good sound. Everything was great!!!

The band sounded wonderful and we had a great time and really killed it.    For 9 people.   Counting the teachers and helpers that were there to set up and tear down their stuff.

We have, in our history, played for a completely empty theater, when the booze couldn’t come into the theater but they could serve it in the lobby. Yep, you guessed it. On stage, played for 90 minutes to a completely empty house.  Oh well.

Found out later that the same nite we were scheduled to play for the Sonoraville HS, was, um, PROM NITE!!!  Oh well. best plans of mice and men….or something like that.

We had a good time and made some friends. We will be back!!!

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The pre trip stuff…….it begins.

So, I found my passport and we have solidified the playlist somewhat. Most of the logistics are beginning to raise their heads. I have tried to rent a sax in Berlin, but apparently that’s not something that they do.  Also, we have been looking for a bass amp. We have found an upright bass for the week (REALLY BIG DEAL) and now we just need an amp, I think. None of these are my personal struggles but I am trying to help the group. You know, the more the merrier.  I am now trying to decide whether to load my cheapest sax into the baggage compartment with a killer big road case, or just carry on my best horn and depend on my abilities to sweet talk the flight attendants into helping me stow it on board. The TSA and the other fed folks are supposed to let you take them on board but it only takes one attendant or ticket taker that has had a bad day………

Here is one of our gig posters and pictures that we are using…….

The team for Berlin 2015

The team for Berlin 2015

flyer for one of our gigs.

flyer for one of our gigs.

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Going to Europe in May….Berlin Germany

Well, if David Hasselhoff can make it big there, and all the big jazz acts have played there, then that is where I probably need to go. Seriously, Steve Blair (one of the best bass players ever) said that he and some other jazz players were going on a church sponsored outreach to Berlin Germany and they needed a sax player and was I interested. Apparently, because East Berlin/Germany was under the Soviet control for so long, even though 62% ish of German is Christian (Lutheran and Catholic) the vast majority of folks in the West  (80%ish) are unchurched and a significant number are agnostic (or just areligous).  There are a number of small evangelical ecumenical churches springing up in Eastern Berlin and all over town.  There is a concerted effort to get folks interested in Christianity and therefore the mission trip.  So, I said,”sure” and hooked my wagon in with these guys. I have played with most of them in town so putting this together is a no brainer.  We should have a blast and are scheduled to play 7 gigs in 6 or 7 days in 7 different places. The local congregations are using our visit to interest the unchurched and to attract a crowd of folks that might not normally come to a church “service”.  Most of these are at night so we will have all day to tour Berlin. Maybe some impromptu street stuff, jam sessions, who knows.  You can only find out so much in the internet. One guy is going to Prague for the day.  So, I am going overseas to play jazz with a great group for a great reason.

The team for Berlin 2015

The team for Berlin 2015

This stirs up all kinds of questions from how to get ones saxophone on the plane to what to eat and where is that doggone passport!!  I have some idea how its gonna go but I am reaching out to folks in Berlin to see if any want to let us play at their venue or borrow their amp!!!  At least I don’t play drums. Pray for me. Should be one of the most interesting things I have ever done!!!!smaller_mg_1945_001-tenor-brass-antique-stefan_schumann

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Weddings and Bars and other places…

As Jazz musicians, it is really interesting the number of venues that are available for us to play. We play for schools, we play for weddings, funerals,concert goers,we play for drinkers, we play for dancers…and the list goes on.

Just in the last week I have played with a rock and roll band for a wedding and for career day with a bass player and I (sounded great by the way), with a collegiate jazz ensemble, and solo for a upscale restaurant. All require different skill set and different approach to things. Keeps it interesting!!

The EJS is plowing thru the “book” of tunes so we can get everyone conversant with the musical material. We will start the vocal tunes this week. Roberta brings it 110% even at rehearsal so it should be a fun rehearsal Thursday!! We had one gig cancel on us (“couldn’t get enough auction items to raise money”?) so we have found another venue (I hope!?!)  Meanwhile, we are planning another CD of just the stuff we like and probably make that the playlist for our next concert in February.

New Sound baffles at Studio 222

New Sound baffles at Studio 222

I’m playing for the EVHS at their “event” and fundraiser. Good group and they pretty much let me play whatever. “Visible musak” again.  I’m going to Germany with a Jazz combo for a week sometime in May. We should have a great time and do some good work while we are there.

We are cranking up the BBC for a couple of gigs in Marietta and in Sandy Springs. These are with Douglas Cameron as the Douglas Cameron Orchestra. We will have a rehearsal before this and I’m adding just a couple of tunes to our book.

I have found a tech for my horns who is a magician!!!  This guy has made such an improvement in my enjoyment of playing. The notes just pop out of the horns instead of me having to work to make the sax speak. If you play an instrument you know what I mean.

Life is good. Weather is improving. Off to the shed……cork and tap

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