In August 2019 I had the great fortune to play with Buddy Guy in his club in Chicago with the Jose Ramirez band. He sang for over ten minutes with us. Apparently he liked us. It was a blast and a serious honor.
Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago
Had a blast playing in Chicago at one of the top blues clubs in the world!
Why so glum?
Am I blue? Not really. Photo by Dave Cooper.
OK - so you can’t see me in this photo. But that’s OK, because I really love this image. I’ve been playing with these talented artists for a few years now, and every show is a blast.
Burt the Dirt
So I get a random call from my buddy Harris Amster: “hey man, we’re playing a gig at Gypsy Sally’s and we need a sub drummer. You interested?” Ah, yea. I love checking off the boxes.
Playing the bass in a classic rock and soul band is just good for your soul. Onstage here is Pete Looney, Dave Sames, and Richard Bishop. The following year the band added Chris Reiher on trombone and guitar.
Look at the joy on Mary’s face as we listen back to our previous take. Recording on her 2019 full band album was a great honor. There’s no one like Mary Prankster. Photo by Wenona Daniel.
There’s nothing better than jamming on a small, private island in Jamaica with Canadian blues legend Terry Gillespie.
The Atomic Bros. with Buck Brown
This was one of my first serious groups. Buck Brown is a tremendous guitar player, keyboard player, and songwriter. After the Atomic Bros. run ended, he moved to Nashville and began touring as a duo with Nils Lofgren. Yea, he’s that good. It was an honor to play with these heavy hitters.
I’ve been blessed to get to know a few of my favorite artists in the world. Here I’m with the coolest cat you’ll ever meet: Andy Milne. Every time I see him he makes me feel like we’re long lost friends. His playing is inspirational and it’s really been an honor getting to know him over the years. In this shot are a few other piano luminaries: Allyn Johnson, Burnett Thompson, Frederico Pena. Also in the room that night was the omnipresent Rusty Hassan.
Black History band
I was fortunate to spend the day in the studio with Shun McGhee’s band Black History. Tracking that day included some killer players like Eric Perez on percussion, Todd Gholar on bass, Aaron Fisher on drums and Reginald Cyntje on trombone. We did the session at Inner Ear Studios in Virginia.
What can I say about this lady? She’s inspired so many musicians over the years. She was my high school band director and my first mentor. The list of her former students is a who’s who of jazz heavies.
I was playing a solo piano gig down the road from a Jon Cleary show. Needless to say, the second my final set was finished, I raced to catch some of the master. I walked in as he was taking a final bow, but lucky me: he did two encore numbers. He’s a sweetheart of a human being, and one of the greatest piano players I’ve ever had the opportunity to see.
LaTanya Hall and Keith Carlock
Getting to know Andy Milne over the years has many perks. But the greatest perk of all has to be that moment he introduced me to his wife LaTanya Hall. Like Andy, she’s warm, kind, and makes you feel like you’ve been friends since childhood. She’s also an amazing vocalist as a soloist, and as a backup singer for Steely Dan. Here LaTanya introduced me to my all-time favorite drummer: Keith Carlock. I was floating for days. Thanks Andy and LaTanya for being so generous!
While backstage at a Steely Dan show, I was able to have a wonderful conversation with one of the greatest guitarists alive today: Jon Herrington. Jon is a chameleon, and a super cool cat.
When Groove Collective was hotter than molten lava in the mid-90s, I hosted the band at my home while they were touring the area. I’ve kept in touch with Jonathan ever since. He’s my hero on the bass. Not a note out of place when he’s on the gig. He’s funky as hell, and a total sweetheart. This photo was taken during a fire alarm at his gig with Donny McCaslin. The keyboard player on that gig was into crazy sounds, so when the fire alarm sounded, we thought it was part of the show!
Mark G. Meadows
I produced a jazz piano series for a few years, and one of my favorite shows was when Mark Meadows came with Rochelle Rice and blew our socks off. This photo is after his performance at Signature Theatre. It was his first acting gig, and he nailed that too. Mark is ridiculously talented, and if you haven’t heard of him yet, I promise you will.