Two Important Dates!

I have a few very exciting things to tell you about involving two very special projects that I am extremely proud of. These projects showcase two distinct yet interconnected sides of my playing– the acoustic trio Tri-Fi and the electric trio (718).

February 25th is the official release date for Tri-Fis’ 5th studio recording entitled Staring into the Sun. If you’re not familiar with us, please swing by our website at www.tri-fi.com or our youtube page at www.youtube.com/trifijazz. I have a few more videos posted to my personal YouTube page as well (www.youtube.com/bassphil). We’ve been together for 10 years now, and I think that this is our best recording to date. Since you are a subscriber to my mailing list, I’m assuming that you enjoy my playing. Well, I feel like this is the trio that that best showcases what I can do on the bass. Matthew Fries and Keith Hall pull the best out of me.

February 25th is the release date for Staring into the Sun, and our East coast CD release parties are happening at a few places in March– March 9th at the Deer Head Inn in the Del Water Gap, March 10th at Smalls in NYC, and March 11th at Chris’ Jazz Cafe in Philly. If you’re in neighborhood, swing by and say hi. If you’re outside of New York, you can watch us perform live streaming online at the Smalls’ website on Monday March 10th for only a few dollars!

Then there is that other side of me– the electric bass. I played the electric bass years before I ever picked up an acoustic bass, and I finally have a project that I feel showcases my electric playing. We call ourselves (718), as in the area code for the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. We will be releasing our debut recording Saturday night March 8th, at the legendary Blue Note in NYC as part of their Late Night Groove series. When they say “late night”, they mean it! We’re playing one 90 minute set that starts at 12:30am Saturday night. Yeah, that’s right. It’s still the city that never sleeps!

Our CD is entitled Sputnik, which you’ll find for sale on our website at www.718music.com. We also have a YouTube page where you can see some of the goofy videos I put together in my spare time.

Where and When?

Tri-Fi
March 9th – The Deer Head Inn, Del Water Gap, PA
March 10th – Smalls, Manhattan, NY
March 11th – Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
May – Denmark! Details TBA

718

March 8th – The Blue Note, Manhattan, NY

Look what the Stork Brought

Fleet GuitarsFor the first time in my life I have had an electric bass made for me. It’s a neat feeling, almost like when someone writes a song for you (which I haven’t experienced, hint hint hint). This is the story about my friend at Fleet Guitars, Leslie McCurdy, and the beautiful fretless bass that he made for me. READ MORE

Vinyl vs CD – It’s a Battle to the Death!!!

So, this should be a quick blog post, right. Everyone these days seems to have come full circle back to the discussion that began in ernest in the 1980′s. Which is better? Vinyl? CD? Well, I am here to announce the official results! There is a definite answer, which is enclosed in an envelope sitting in front of me. Okay, are you ready?

Is vinyl better than CD, or is CD better than vinyl? And the answer is………………

READ MORE

Pedal Power!

Pedal boards and the electric bass

I know, it's a mess, but it's not finished!

It’s something I’ve always thought would be cool, but in the every day sideman world, effects pedals have little or no application for the bass. I have vivid memories of being 13 years old and running my Fender Precision through my dad’s Cry Baby wha wha pedal and having fun– by myself in the spare bedroom. Try pulling that out on a gig. You had better have a vision of how it fits into the music! Well, I’m older now, and I’ve realized that if you want to get crazy with the pedals, all you have to do is form a band and write music with the pedals in mind. Easy! READ MORE

Ground Hum Got You Down?

I love a good problem, especially when I’m actually able to figure it out AND it doesn’t involve my stereo. You can imagine my dismay when my stereo developed a loud ground hum after I had an electrician install two dedicated AC lines.

I was all excited to fire up the system that first night and listen to music that was un-muddied by all the noise running through the 60 year old circuit that I was using to power my fancy stereo. There are only two circuits for the 2nd floor of my house, which was built in 1942. In addition to lights, my stereo was also sharing the juice with a fan, TV, Tivo DVR, and a computer. All of these appliances introduce a little noise into the AC flow. You may not be able to notice it if you’re listing to music through a Bose Wave radio or similar entry level stereo, but you can definitely hear that gook in my fancy-schmancy system that I’ve put together over the last five years! READ MORE

My Earplug Odyssey

I have been a fan of earplugs for a long time, but it wasn’t until I lost my custom moulded pair that I reflected on my long term relationship with these little silicone live savers.

I’ve been playing gigs since I was about 14 years old, but it wasn’t until I went on the road with Maynard Ferguson that I realized it was time to fill in ye olde ear holes. I vividly remember my first rehearsal with Maynard. We were set up in an empty hotel room in Indiana. Two saxes, three trumpets, trombone, piano, bass, drums, and Maynard. Now, if you’re not familiar with trumpet players, they can really hurt their lips if they can’t hear themselves properly. That being the case, Maynard was playing into a microphone which was being piped though two stage monitors at his feet. You heard me right. I was standing three feet from the legendary Maynard Ferguson, in a small room, whilst he played double Cs into a PA system! READ MORE