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Any opera fans out there?

September 26th, 2007 · No Comments

This is hard to admit, being the die hard jazz aficionado that I am, but I must confess, I have been a huge fan of Luciano Pavarotti since the late 70’s when I first heard him sing. Until then, I was not an opera fan at all. However, my dad used to play some opera records in the house when I was growing up, so maybe the seed was planted in my younger days. He really liked Leontyne Price.

Many critics have said that for one reason or another, Pavarotti’s voice went slowly downhill soon after he rose to international stardom. It has been said that his best singing was from the late 1960’s through the early 1970’s. I’m not sure I agree but I decided to try and find some examples of his earlier performances. Well, I found this wonderful video of Pavarotti singing the “Ingemisco” from Verdi’s Requiem. Wow! This is some powerful singing! Along with his magnificent power, his pianissimo voice was absolutely beautiful. The control he has over his entire range is truly amazing! Here he is at the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Italy, 1967. Herbert Von Karajan is the conductor.

Luciano Pavarotti

The world is a lesser place without him.
He was well loved.

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A Jazz Gig? What’s that?

September 25th, 2007 · No Comments

Last Saturday, I actually got to play three, count’em, three hours of jazz! I got the gig through an old friend that I played the Silverado Country Club with years ago. Anyway, I hired an old keyboard player friend that I went to San Francisco State University with in 1975. Guy and I were fast friends and we were both sort of rebels. SF State was loaded with classical players and we jazzers were mostly loaded. It was great to see Guy and play with him again. I think the last time we played together was about fifteen years ago. We swapped war stories and how many times we almost died from this or that. Typical old guy stuff. He was a good player back then, he is much better now!
The gig was at Rutherford Hill Winery in the heart of the Napa Valley. It is way up in the hills on the east side of the Napa valley and the view was really spectacular. So there we were, playing cool tunes, staring out at the Napa Valley, watching the sun go down and the moon coming up. Oh, did I mention we got paid well to do this? Not to mention a very nice bottle of 2002 Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ($36.00!). I love my job! Most of the time, anyway. The few times when I don’t are another story. All my gigs should be this nice. Check out the landscaping at this place.

Rutherford Hill Winery

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I’m on a roll!

September 24th, 2007 · No Comments

Wow, this is some really slick stuff! WordPress is the state of the art blog editing tool. I am working on getting my entire site at saxlessons.com updated to CSS. That will be a work in progress for a while. I am having fun teaching myself, the old dog, new tricks!

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Here’s the first one

September 22nd, 2007 · No Comments

This is the first post in my new blog. I hope to enrich all your lives and make you all better sax players and citizens of the world. 😉 Props to Komsan K. Thanks!

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