Monday, September 22, 2008

Cast! at Nighttown 18 September 2008

There was a window of time back in the 70's when jazz musicians had their music played on progressive rock radio. That radio play help make artists like George Benson, Chick Corea, and David Sanborn mainstream artists. A trio made up of sons of three of the major players from that time period played Night Town last Thursday. Drummer Karma Auger (son of Brian), guitarist Julian Coryell (son of Larry), and bassist Nicklas Sample (son of Joe) call them selves Cast!
It can be such a hit or miss proposition when dealing with the offspring of established musicians. For every Rosanne Cash, some one who succeeds despite being in a parent's shadow, there are many who don't. The members of Cast! are already seasoned veterans of the music world, and are all talented musicians in their own rights.
My notes described their music as George Benson meets Rare Earth meets Funkadelic meets Dicky Betts. And, of course, you couldn't help but notice the influences of the elder Auger, Coryell, and Sample. The trio did a great job of keeping the audience's attention with instrumentals with catchy titles like "Nadine," "Beautiful," "The Purple Panther," and "Walking the Dragon." Most of the songs left room for solos and improvisation from all three members. Both the songs and the performance were very good.
The two best numbers had more than a touch of funk, "Coolidge Returns" and "Rice Krispy Socrates," and I predict both with soon become bumper music staples on radio and television programs everywhere.
For now their music is only available on iTunes and CD Baby. They will be working around their commitments to their other projects for the next few months, hopefully doing another small tour later this fall or winter. For more about Cast! and their music visit their page on MySpace Music.
As always there are a lot of great shows coming up at Nighttown, including Maria Muldaur for two shows this Sunday; The Four Freshmen on October 6 & 7; Steve Smith's Jazz Legacy Band, featuring the drummer from Journey, on October 13 & 14; EMI recording artists Eroica Trio on October 25; singer/songwriter J.D. Souther on November 19; and on November 20 & 21 the John Pizzarelli Quartet, who will be featuring music from their Richard Rogers tribute album "With a Song in my Heart," the follow up to last year's Sinatra tribute. To see their complete music calendar go to

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Steve Mackall's "Sunday Bubble"

I use to joke, but it wasn't that far from the truth, about not realizing until I was thirty that not everyone had Sunday dinner at their grandparents each week. My old friend Steve Mackall out in California did a great piece about Sunday family dinner. Click on the You Tube link below, or cut and paste it into your browser. Good stuff!
My favorite Sunday dinner story was about when I was stilll in high school and had worked my first week at Quality Industries, a place where you heard the F word a hundred times a minute. If you screwed up a piece you had to write "NFG" on it, meaning it was No Fu---- Good. If a machine made a mistake you wrote "MFUA" on it, meaning the Machine Fu---- Up Again. That first week at the machine shop I worked six days, ten hours a day. I was exhausted, barely keeping awake at the dinner table. I remember we had roast beef and both sets of grandparents were there along with my whole family. I remember after we said grace turning to my grandmother and saying, "Nanny, pass the fu----ing potatoes." Believe me when I say I was not the golden child that day!
Check out Steve's monologue, it is wonderful.