Rick Cutler

In The Studio

 

Had a great day in the studio for record # 5 with special guests Charlotte Durkee on vocals and Bill Hayes on glass armonica. I’m told the glass armonica was invented in the 1700s by Benjamin Franklin. If you do a Google or Wikipedia search you’ll find some strange stories associated with it. You can go to the Photos page to see what it looks like.  I’ll be going in next month to hopefully finish up the solo piano pieces. Then comes the bands! 

 

The Parting

 

A piece of mine, "Elegy:Epilogue" from the "From The Silence" album has just been chosen to be part of a new short film titled, "The Parting." It's about dealing with cancer & how to die with dignity. It was done by my friend, Richard Wilson who's battling the disease himself. I give him much credit for continuing to create his art through this rough time. It's very moving. Not out yet, but I'll keep you posted on when & where you'll be able to see it. In the meantime, maybe you can squeeze in a prayer for Richard here & there. I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

 

A Video

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Here's a really nice interview that came out recently from AXS: http://bit.ly/2mH52kM
 

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Here's a nice review that just came down the pipe: http://michaelsmusiclog.blogspot.com/2017/02/rick-cutler-daydreams-probably-2017-cd.html
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Well, it's been a long, long time since I've entered anything on the site but today is very special as it marks the release of my 4th CD, Daydreams (Probably). I honestly feel that this is the best work I've done thus far & hope you may take a listen, even if it's just checking out some samples, on iTunes for example. Here, in addition to acoustic piano, I also play electric piano, drums, keyboards & soprano saxophone. Another new element is that I've included 3 cover tunes (2 with vocals). I chose 1 by Bob Dylan & 1 by Stevie Wonder that have been exisitng mostly under the radar of the more well-known tunes of their careers. My 21 year old daughter, Charlotte Durkee makes her recording debut here doing a very sweet rendition of Dylan's "Tommorow Is A Long Time" & my old friend Brance McKenzie, from Gregory Hines" touring band, does a beautiful version of Stevie's "Black Orchid." I also pay tribute to the great Wayne Shorter by covering his piece, "Sanctuary." I also updated the music page of the site with samples of some of the tunes as well as adding a couple of reviews (including one from the Huffington Post) that I'm very happy with. So there you have it! A new CD is out for all the world to hear & I hope that'll include you! PS- For some strange reason, the press page lists the reviews from oldest to newest so you'll have to scroll down & give one or 2 extra clicks to see the most recent ones.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A couple of year end tidbits of news: Proud to say that I played on some cues for season 2 of the Netflix show, Lilyhammer. Steve Van Zandt mentioned every single musician by name in the closing credits. What a great guy! Also, the 3rd consecutive holiday show where I played drums & percussion as part of Lee Musiker's trio with the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet at Avery Fisher Hall went great! Wishing everyone a great holiday season & new year! Speak to you again in 2014.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... We broke 100! 102 radio stations now playing tracks from the new "From The Silence" CD! Yay!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy to report that we're now up to 91 radio stations across the country & the web playing tracks from the new "From The Silence" CD.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Greetings & Happy Autumn! A new friend of mine, Richard Wilson, directed a few videos inspired by some pieces from the new CD. The pieces he used were Painted Air Delusions (titled simply Rick Cutler on the page), A Sideways Glance & Liquid Night Ballet. Here's a link to check them out: http://vimeo.com/album/2315784. The audio is not perfect on all of them but you'll surely get the idea. Happy to report that we're up to 75 radio stations across the U.S. & on the web that are playing tracks from the CD.
 

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Had a very fun time in the studio today playing drums & percussion for Stevie Van Zandt (Springsteen, The Sopranos) recording some music he composed for an upcoming TV show. There's a photo on the photo page to commemorate the occasion.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Some especially nice words on the new CD from the show Music Of The 21st Century on WXXI in Rochester, NY: "WOW! AT LAST. A decent solo piano CD. I love this. Good melodic content, rich harmonic background. This is really excellent." Thanks guys!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy to report that the new CD is now available on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/from-the-silence/id683486592
 

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Transmitting From NYC... This coming Sunday 8/4, I'll be interviewed on Scott Raymond's show on WVKR in Poughkeepsie talking about the new CD. Should be on around 10-11AM. Anyone within range give a listen if you're so inclined. Scott's been a huge supporter of instrumental & indie music for a long time. He's a special guy!
 

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Transmitting from NYC... Well, the new releases are coming hot & heavy! Here's a link to a CD that just came out by the extremely talented Gary Haase: http://www.amazon.com/Classical-Jazz/dp/B00DH737E4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375206180&sr=8-1&keywords=gary+haase+classical+jazz. Gary's talent is HUGE as an instrumentalist, arranger & composer & he's worked with some of the best. Check it out! PS- I'm on cuts 1, 2, 4 & 7 :)
 

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Transmitting From NYC... For the past 4-5 years I've been playing drums in monster guitarist Paul Metzke's trio. Now, finally, we have a CD out! He's the link where you can find it on CD Baby, http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/paulmetzke2. Very proud to be playing with such an amazing player & to have some of this music out there for all to hear! Check it out!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just a brief word to let you know that the new CD, "From The Silence" is now available at CD Baby.com. It usually takes a little longer to spread onto iTunes & other sites but it'll get there. In the meantime, here's the link to the CD Baby page: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rickcutler3. Hope you'll give a listen & find things to enjoy. There are also 3 tunes on the music page here.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I'm so happy to report that, after a few detours, the new CD, "From The Silence", will see the light of day on July 15! If you've heard any of the music from the prior 2 releases & enjoyed it, I think you'll be happy with the new music as it pretty much follows down the same path. As the date gets closer, I'll try to write a bit more about the specifics of the music & any other anecdotes that come to mind. As you can see, I've also changed the look of the site to commemorate the occasion. Briefly, in other news, there are 2-3 other projects that I've worked on this year that should be out at some point. I'll keep you posted. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy New Year!! It's been way too long since I updated here but better late than never, I guess. The biggest news is that, as of yesterday, CD#3 is complete!! Recorded, mixed & mastered...DONE!! I recorded 26 pieces in all out of which 19 will make it onto the final CD. I'm extremely pleased with the results & hope that you might check it out. At this point, I'm thinking it'll be out in the late spring/early summer. Now I move on to deciding on the cover art, layout & design. My amazing 17 year old stepdaughter Charlotte, who's a great artist, has already created a beautiful idea for the cover that's about 99.9% of what I envisioned so we're off & running. In December I was on drums in Lee Musiker's trio along with the NY Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet at Avery Fisher Hall for their annual Holiday Brass concert. This was the 2nd consecutive year that they asked the trio to guest with them &, once again, we had a great time. Lee is just an amazing musician & it's always so inspiring to play with & listen to him. I'm still waiting for word on the release of guitarist Paul Metzke's CD that I worked on last year. I've sung Paul's praises here before so I won't repeat myself. Suffice to say, he's a great guitarist & I'm a lucky guy to be playing with someone who's worked with both Tony Williams & Elvin Jones & enjoys my playing enough to have me in his regular trio. There are a couple of other projects in the pipeline which I'll report on when they bear some fruit. And, of course, I'll keep you posted on news as the new CD gets closer to release. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I'm happy to report that the recording of CD#3 is complete! We're now in the mixing stage & I recently had a brainstorm about the cover art & layout which, if it turns out the way I'm envisioning it, should be really cool. I recorded 26 pieces as planned which translates to about 1 hour & 40 minutes of music...way longer than I'd anticipated. Now I have to decide what to release next year & what to save for CD#4. I suppose another option is to let the extra pieces come out in drips & drabs or as an EP. We'll see... I've been posting photos of the process on the Facebook page & will try to get them up here as well. As things continue to move along, I'll keep you posted. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Well, I'm about 1/2-way through the recording of CD#3 & it's going really well. The piano sounds beautiful thanks to the expertise of my engineer, Larry Gates & I'm really pleased with the pace I've set for completing each piece. Hopefully the recording process will be done in 2 more sessions. Then onto mixing, mastering, cover art & design, etc., etc. It'll surely be available sometime in 2013. Till then, if you don't all-ready, check out my Facebook updates as I tend to put photos up there as well. In fact, if you enjoy my music, be my Facebook friend! I rarely say no to any requests. You can also "like" my "band" page. More coming soon...
 

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Transmitting from NYC… Just booked the first recording sessions for CD#3. It all begins in mid September. I'll be using the great engineer Larry Gates once again and I can't wait to hear how these 26 new pieces sound with the benefit of his expertise. I'll surely keep you posted so stay tuned.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Greetings...it's been awhile!! Just thought I'd check in with some updated news: The CD I mentioned with Keith Loving, my old buddy from the Gregory Hines Band, was released about a month or so ago. I'm on drums for about half of it & keyboards for 1 tune. It's called, "Family Portrait" & I'd guess it'd be available at the usual internet indie sites. No further news about the album with Paul Metzke. Haven't spoken with him for awhile but I hope he's been spending his time doing some overdubs, editing & mixing. He's such a great guitarist, I'll be proud to have my name on that CD when it's released. And speaking of great guitarists, I'm in the process of starting a trans-Pacific project with another old friend, Hiroki Endo, who's based in Japan. It's kinda fun as I program the drums in NYC, email the file to him & he does the rest over there. We've done 1 tune so far & I'll keep you posted on how that progresses. The most exciting news is that I'm going out to Sonic Park studios in Paramus, NJ later this week to check that their piano is as beautiful as it was when I recorded my last 2 CDs. If all is well, I'll be booking time to start recording CD#3! I'm hoping to begin recording before month's end. I'll surely keep you posted on that as well. Till then, enjoy the rest of your summer!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I just added 2 photos from way back in the archives taken at the original recording sessions for Leonard Bernstein's Mass in 1971 at Columbia Records Studios. What a thrill it was to work with the Maestro who had more energy than the entire orchestra combined! (He conducted the entire piece). Another thrill was having lunch with him in the basement cafeteria of the infamous Watergate Hotel (pre-Watergate scandal) which was situated next-door to the Kennedy Center where the piece was premiered. Without a doubt, a career highlight!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Thought I'd give a little update as to what I've been up to over the past few weeks. In addition to continuing to practice like crazy towards recording CD#3 later this year, I recently played drums on a forthcoming CD from the great guitarist Paul Metzke (formerly with Tony Williams, Gil Evans, etc.) who I've been in a trio with for about 4 years. He calls the music "fusion/blues" which I suppose is pretty accurate. It was surely fun to play drums full-tilt with little or no restrictions. There's also a CD coming out soon by another guitarist, Keith Loving, my old buddy from the Gregory Hines band. I know I'm playing drums on there & there might even be some of my keyboard playing as well. Lastly, I just reunited with Michael Karp who I worked with for about 20 years, playing & co-writing music for TV. He called me to co-write some arrangements for "The Price Is Right." So there you have the spring highlights. Stay tuned for what the summer might bring!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... This Tuesday's Old Changing Way show (9-11pm www.wfhb.org) is all moon songs celebrating the Supermoon. My piece, "Wayne/Glimpses of the Moon" (from the Sanctuaries CD) should play around 9:40PM. Continued thanks to Steve Pollitt & Cindy Beaule for their support of my music! Looks like I'll be recording the next CD at some point over the summer. Greatly looking forward to it & to see if these 25 new pieces will fit on one CD! Also supposed to be doing some recording on drums later this month with the great guitarist Paul Metzke. I'll keep you posted on all fronts. Till then, enjoy your spring!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Well, friends & fans, a rather large chapter of my musical life has come to an end. Liza Minnelli & I have parted ways. It's been a total of over 20 years that I worked with her....12 part-time & 8 full-time. I served as both her keyboardist, drummer &, on a few occasions, conductor & am extremely proud of every note I played with her. I circled the world more than once, performing everywhere from Moscow to Tokyo to all over Europe & South America. From Carnegie Hall & Radio City Music Hall in NYC to the Hollywood Bowl to the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Olympia in Paris & the Sydney Opera House in Australia. I performed on her CD & DVD "Live From Radio City Music Hall" in 1991 all the way to her Tony-winning & Grammy-nominated Broadway show, "Liza's At The Palace" in 2008-2009. TV appearances from "Oprah", "Good Morning America", "The View" & "The Apprentice" in the US to live concert TV appearances in Europe & Japan. As to why we've parted ways, I honestly don't know except to say that she's probably hearing something different coming from the drums other than what I've been delivering for the past year & a half. That's an artist's right & I respect that. Many of music's greats made similar changes at certain points in their careers. Or maybe it's just that she wants a younger, better-looking guy with hair. I'll probably never know but will say again that I'm very proud of my work with her & gave 1,000% to every note I played. It's been quite a run & I feel privileged to have been able to accompany her amazing talent for so long. So where does that leave me? At least for the present, parked in NYC, practicing hard towards recording my 3rd CD sometime later this year which I hope to release in early 2013. That & the life of a free-lance musician, which has served me well my entire career. There are a couple of projects brewing that I'll let you know about as the time draws nearer to them being let loose on the world. I also recently had the opportunity to submit 3 tunes for an upcoming documentary on the great director David Lynch. Keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of them makes the final cut. And there you have the latest. Until next time, Happy Spring!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Coming off a really fun show with Liza at NJPAC this past Saturday. It'd been 2-3 months since we were all together &, with only a soundcheck, it came off like a charm. A testament to how good a band we have &, of course, how good Liza is. In other news of note, it's looking like I'll start to record CD#3 sometime either in the Spring or Summer towards a release probably in the early part of 2013. I've got about 30 new pieces I'm wading through deciding which will make the cut. At this point, things seem to be leaning towards another solo piano album but you never know. Keep checking in for any more news or updates. In the meantime, I'll be practicing up a storm towards the 1st day in the studio.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Yet another nice review for "FIrst Melancholy..." on the press page from FacingNorth.net.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A nice new review of the "First Melancholy..." CD from Circles Of Light.com is now on the Press page.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just found out that my CD, "First Melancholy..." is #12 on DJ Scott Raymond's "Top 25 Albums of 2011" list! Scott broadcasts out of Poughkeepsie, NY on WVKR-FM & his show,"Secret Music", has been on the air for decades. Thanks Scott!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy New Year!! Here's a link to a nicely filmed Liza show from last fall in Basel, Switzerland with yours truly on drums. http://videos.arte.tv/fr/videos/liza_minelli_at_avo_session-6294616.html
 

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Transmitting From NYC... ...and a very nice review that just came in for the Sanctuaries CD from World Beat Canada. Also now on the Press page.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... In case you're interested, a "better late than never" review just came in for the "First Melancholy..." CD from Jazzweekly.com. I posted it on the Press page.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I had a blast today playing drums with Lee Musiker's jazz trio at Avery Fisher Hall where we augmented the NY Philharmonic Principal Brass Quintet. I was very proud to have my photo & bio in a NY Phil. program (& my own dressing room with my name on the door to make me feel like a big shot). I added some photos on the photo page from the event. Hope we get to do it again!
 

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Transmitting From NYC.... Lo & behold....I've finally updated the calendar page with a couple of interesting things coming up next month!! I'll be starting December with Paul Metzke's trio at the Port 41 bar in midtown. If you're a fan of amazing, blazing jazz, blues & rock guitar, you must check Paul out. He's really an unsung hero. Then moving over to Lincoln Center for a holiday show with Lee Musiker's trio accompanied by the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet. Lee is Tony Bennett's musical director & a simply incredible jazz pianist. Keep your fingers crossed that I continue to keep that calendar page current!
 

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Transmitting From Toronto, Canada... Made it!!! 18 1/2 hours door-to-door from Basel, Switzerland to Toronto by the skin of our teeth! Our flight from Zurich was delayed about an hour to the point of, when we arrived at Newark (having to clear US customs, pick up our bags, return them to a baggage conveyor belt for the Newark-Toronto flight, take a tram to a different terminal & going through security again!) we were running like mad men & just made the flight to Toronto with minutes to spare. So here we are, in a nice hotel in Toronto, pretty fried but alive. Tomorrow, thankfully, is a day off with the show on Fri. & then home on Sat. The show in Basel went well. It was one of those crowds that are polite & appreciative throughout & then go kinda crazy at the end. It was part of a big yearly festival which, this year, included people like Paul Anka, Lizz Wright, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chic & Steve Earle. A pretty eclectic lineup. In other news, I have a couple of radio interviews coming up. One this coming Sunday, Oct. 30 at around 12:25PM with Miyuke Williams from WPFW in Wash. DC, & one with Joe Zupan from WICN in Worcester MA that's supposed to air around 2 or 3PM next Monday, Oct. 31. So, if you're around those areas, please listen in. I imagine we'll be talking a bit about the Sanctuaries CD, especially with Joe who I spoke with earlier in the year about First Melancholy when it 1st came out. And that about wraps it up from the road for now. As always, I'll write with anything new or interesting as it happens so, till then, enjoy your Autumn &, of course, the forthcoming holiday season.
 

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Transmitting From Basel, Switzerland... The year's final road trip takes us first to this beautiful little city right on the Rhine with European charm in abundance. Still waiting to taste the food which will be soon. In typical European tour fashion, we left last night & arrived this morning (Swiss time). Our show is tomorrow & then a quick turn around back across the Atlantic for a show in Toronto on Friday before heading home on Sat....and that will be the last of the road for the year unless something unexpected comes up. As for interesting things coming up back in NYC: On Dec. 11, I'll be with Lee Musiker's jazz trio at Avery Fisher Hall along with the NY Philharmonic Brass Quintet. I believe we'll be doing Lee's arrangements of some holiday music. Lee's a master (as well as Tony Bennett's musical director!) so it should be a great time. And there you have it. I'll try to make one final entry this week from Toronto. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From Las Vegas, NV... The final stop of this tour of casinos, having arrived today. We're at the Hilton which brings back fond memories as I worked here many times with Gregory Hines, usually opening for amazing acts like Ray Charles, Bill Cosby or Gladys Knight. It's also nice as it's located off the strip, away from the top-tier of Vegas madness. We're doing 2 shows here, tomorrow & Sat. before heading home Sunday. Following this trip, a special treat for me will be diving into a recording session the next day in NYC with my old buddy Lee Musiker (Tony Bennett's musical director). Lee is truly one of the great accompanists of our time, in my opinion. His knowledge of both jazz & classical combine into some breathtaking moments. Even though we've played together many times over the years (in fact, a trio CD we did from '98 is starting to garner some airplay), I always feel lucky to get the chance to create some music with him & he never fails to play something that takes my breath away. He's a really special musician. Tonight is a night off so I'm off to try to create some dinner plans. There's a great Italian place named Piero's that we used to frequent during the Gregory days that's close by so that's an option. Also, on these casino gigs, we often get coupons that give us free access to the buffets & discounts at many of the hotel restaurants. We'll see how it all goes down soon. The last major trip of the year will be happening in a couple of weeks & I'm sure I'll have something to report so stay tuned!
 

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Transmitting From Reno, NV... Here we are at Phase 2 of the Casino Tour. It was a long day of flying. I've done many trips like these before but, for some reason, today just seemed to drag on & on. A nice room, though, although it took some time to figure out how to turn on some of the lights. When it's overcast outdoors, the light from the window isn't much help but I did manage to figure it out. There were 2 lights involved. One on the desk & the larger living room-type light. The desk lamps' on/off switch seemlessly blends into the rest of it's silvery design so, if you're not looking at the exact right spot, you're sure to miss it. I came close to calling the front desk for help but was able to finally figure it out. Even more interesting was the larger lamp who's on/off switch was on the floor, kind of like a dimmer. On a brighter day it wouldn't have presented as much of a problem but with the aforementioned limited outdoor light, there I was, on hands & knees until finally finding it. So, I'm glad to report that my room is now well lit! Our show here is tomorrow & then we move on to the casino capital, Las Vegas, on Thurs. for 2 weekend shows. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Niagara Falls, NY... Happy Autumn!! It's been awhile!! The next 10 days or so could be labeled the 'Casino Tour', I suppose. One here tonight, then 3 next week in Nevada...one in Reno & 2 in Las Vegas. Casinos, not my favorite places, as I've mentioned here before. This one is nice so far, at least because the cacophony from the casino can't be heard that well from other areas such as the coffee shop, bar or lounge. Nice room too. So, I suppose, as far as casinos go, this one isn't so bad. Onto other business: A big shout out to Michael Denault at WGOE.org on the web as well as to Trish Lewis at WUCX-FM's Eclectic Chair for being the 1st 2 DJs to give the Sanctuaries CD airplay. Thanks guys!! We're just starting the Sanctuaries push & there'll hopefully be a lot more stations getting on the bandwagon. Interestingly, I'm hearing that people are liking the Sanctuaries music more than what's on First Melancholy. It doesn't surprise me in a way. If I had to give my own opinion in that zone, I might say that the songs on Sanctuaries might be a bit stronger although, without a doubt, I feel as though my playing on First Melancholy might have a bit more depth to it. Listen to me, reviewing my own music! How pompous & boring. My apologies. Anyway, that's about it from Niagara Falls (step by step, inch by inch....and if you know where that's from, send me an email & I'll send you a CD). More coming soon.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Lo & behold, another new photo added from Monte Carlo courtesy of Richard Cummings, great keyboardist (formerly with Harry Belafonte) & great guy! And this one's of just me during one of the shows with a cool grainy vibe. Thanks Richard!
 

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Transmitting From Monte Carlo, Monaco... Finally added a new shot to the photo page! It's from our appearance at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy last month. It's a nice one, I'd say.
 

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Transmitting From Monte Carlo, Monaco... Here I am, back in the playground of the wealthy after about a 4 year absence. It's actually my 3rd time here, each time at the same hotel. I was impressed when, upon checking in, the hotel all ready had all of my passport info stored on their computer from my last stay which sped up the process considerably. That was a 1st as far as having my passport info kept on file. Guess they must have a database of every single hotel guest which must be massive. I like my room. It's a nice size & actually down one level from the lobby which, even though it's not underground, makes me think of it more like a cave. There's no view to speak of so I keep the curtains closed which adds to the cave-like ambiance. The city is undeniably pretty, right on the Mediterranean, with many, many extremely expensive yachts parked in its harbor as well as tons of high-priced cars everywhere you look. Just not my cup of tea, though. Kind of like Palm Springs, CA & Las Vegas combined X 1,000. Oh well, I'm glad I have my little cave of a room as a respite. We'll be doing 2 shows here, tomorrrow & Wed. before heading home Thurs. & that'll pretty much do it for summer touring. Between whatever other free-lance work happens to come in before our next travelling (most likely in the Fall), I'm planning on getting back to writing for the next CD which is going wonderfully well. New pieces are coming at a lively pace. Soon, I'll also be looking into the viability of re-releasing my 1st CD, Sanctuaries, utilizing a similar marketing campaign done for the most recent one. I don't think the Sanctuaries music really got a chance to get out there as I was a new & green indie artist. Now that I have a bit more experience on how to do things to better effect, I might give it another go around. Then, it'll be onto recording CD #3, probably in 2012. And that's about all the latest news I can think of. Until next time...
 

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Transmitting From Lucca, Italy... Here's a little postscript/post-gig report on our final show: Tonight was outdoors during a rain storm in the Lucca town square. Because of the weather, I'm sure many people stayed home so there were probably only about 300-400 people there, all under umbrellas. (We were covered on-stage, thankfully). Still, we did a complete show & the people loved it, (even though the applause was a little light...it's hard to applaud while holding onto an umbrella!)....but, once again, standing ovations, Liza sang great & they wouldn't let her off the stage. Bravo Liza!!
 

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Transmitting From Lucca, Italy... Right in the heart of Tuscany with the hotel being almost like a private old estate nestled in the hills, we actually haven't seen the town of Lucca proper yet....that'll be tomorrow. But the hotel is really something to see. Very isolated & off the beaten path, it's more like an old mansion...very well maintained with odd passageways here & there leading to the rooms. Words really don't do it justice but I'll be walking the grounds tomorrow & taking some photos which I'll hopefully post here to give you a better idea. (I've been very remiss in keeping the photo & calendar page current but I will try to rectify that). The show at the Vienna Opera went really, really well. The crowd, which looked to be sold-out, was enthusiastic in the extreme. Liza's performance was amazing, I must say. I give her so much credit for really delivering the goods on this tour, which has been fairly grueling, especially the last week or so. She's the consumate pro & has so much passion for her work. She's the real deal. After tomorrow's show, we fly home on Wed. which will be sweet although I've heard the NYC weather has been brutally hot. (Out here it's surely summer, but mostly comfortable). It'll be a very long day of travel starting at 6AM with, what I'm told, is a 4 hr. drive to the Rome airport, followed by a 9-10 hr. flight...right into the NYC rush hour! I doubt I'll walk in my front door before early evening....but it'll be so nice to be home sweet home!
 

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Transmitting From Vienna, Austria... We arrived in Vienna earlier today but I haven't really been out to explore yet although it looks like your typical charming European city. There was a dinner for us after the show last night in Montreux plus the fact that the entire show was broadcast on TV last night at midnite so I stayed up to watch which made me pretty tired today. The show was an especially good one, I thought, & the venue (Miles Davis Hall) was smaller than usual which I kind of enjoyed. The architcture kind of had an industrial vibe, although you'd never know by looking at the outside. Backstage after the show was the legendary Quincy Jones who I got to meet & chat with for a minute or 2. He was wearing a hat similar to the one I wear onstage (a fedora, requested by Liza, by the way) & said, "I saw you up there with your pimp lid!". Very nice guy. I was also able to chat a bit with Claude Nobs, the founder of the festival which is now in its 45th year. I thanked him for all he's done for jazz. After all, year after year, the Montreux Jazz Festival just keeps rolling on & on & has had, & continues to have, some amazing music played on its stages. So here's to Claude! Tomorrow will be our show here & then onto our last stop in Lucca, Italy. Guess that makes it the home stretch. Aptly named as I'm greatly looking forward to returning to NYC....home! More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Montreux, Switzerland... A gorgeous little town located on a huge lake surrounded by mountains small & large, this is the home of the Montreux Jazz Festival, an annual event I've known of for decades but never attended or played, until tomorrow that is. We'll be playing the Miles Davis Hall, one of the 2 bigger venues (the other named Auditorium Stravinski) so we'll have musical royalty looking down on us. After checking into the hotel, I noticed much commotion down by the lakeside so I hurried down hoping to find some major cultural exhibition about jazz or at least a lot of little shops & stands with jazz-like themes. No such luck. It was simply your average NYC-style street fair with tons of misc. vendors selling tons of stuff of no interest to me. It was still a nice stroll around such a picturesque area & I'll probably head down tomorrow with my camera to grab a few shots (of the lake & mountains, not the vendors). Travel today was long, around 8 hrs. door-to-door, but, for some reason, it didn't feel as long as the other day. After our show tomorrow, we'll head out Sat. to Vienna, another 1st for me. Especially significant as I'm 1/2 Austrian on my mother's side so I'll get a little taste of my roots.
 

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Transmitting From Perugia, Italy... An incredibly charming town nestled atop the countryside in the south of Italy. Tons of old stone buildings that speak of that special charm you can only find in Europe. We're playing tonight as part of the 9-day Umbria Jazz Festival in a huge outdoor arena. Just to show you what the word "jazz" can mean nowadays, on the same stage last night was Santana, tonight there'll be us & Friday will be Prince! I caught a bit of Santana's set last night &, even though I'm not a huge fan, you can't deny that he always has a killin' band. Rhythm is his trademark & his rhythm sections are always on fire. It'll be quite a different vibe with our show tonight & it'll be interesting to see how the mood shifts to the music Liza brings. She's certainly a force to be reckoned with so, I have no doubt, she'll command the stage like only she can. Because of the festival, the town is overflowing with people & many restaurants & bars will stay open until 3AM (even longer, I'm told, if you give them the right nudge). That's way past my bedtime (well, a little past my bedtime), so I won't be around to experience that. As we enter the final week of this tour, tomorrow we head to Montreux, Switzerland to play at that very famous jazz festival on Friday. More from there...
 

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Transmitting From Paris, France... One of my favorite places on Earth! Such a beautiful city!! We're in a nice hotel that we stayed at the last time we were here. About a 10 minute walk from the Champs Elysees. We had a bit of a hard time finding a restaurant in the neighborhood that looked decent & was open (it's Sunday, after all) so we decided to eat at the hotel. A little expensive but the food was good. (VERY expensive if you wanted to drink. Luckily, I stuck with water). The train ride was an adventure but we made it. It was just the 6 of us in the band travelling & we had to switch trains once in Brussels. No road manager, just us. The hardest part was having to lift my 60 lb. suitcase (with some help) into the overhead luggage rack twice. Nice trains, though, especially the leg from Brussels to Paris where we were in 1st class. (Free food & drink & electric reclining seats). Tomorrow we're at the Olympia which is kind of like the Carnegie Hall of Paris. Never played there before so I'm really looking forward to it. Then onto our 'travel-show-travel-show' schedule until heading home on the 20th. No more days off. It'll be a busy 10 days or so but we'll have some more fun stops along the way which I'll detail more over the next few days. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Oostende, Belgium... In all fairness I felt I had to write a little postcript to ammend my putting down Oostende yesterday. It's now the weekend & the town has completely livened up. Evidently, everyone ventures here for their weekend beach getaways so now it's much more like Atlantic City in every way. Mind you, I'm still not a fan of this type of city but, to its credit, it creates the ambiance well. So for all beach & boardwalk loving Belgians, come to Oostende!
 

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Transmitting From Oostende, Belgium... Judging from the photos from the hotel website, Oostende looked to be an older, more run down version of Atlantic City & that's kind of how it appears. It's supposed to be a "resort" town because of it being located on the water but the beach is almost deserted so it's pretty depressing. When you walk out of the back entrance of the hotel you're confronted with a long boardwalk with the closest lifeforms looking like they're a mile away. My room is old & very bare bones. After I took a shower this morning it looked like there was a small flood on the floor. I'm waiting for the maintenence guy to come & investigate. All that & we have a day off here tomorrow!! I'm not a fan of Atlantic City or boardwalks & am not a "water" guy in general. Still, I'll be looking forward to the show tonight because I AM a big fan of playing music! We will survive!! The good news is, next stop...Paris!!!
 

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Transmitting From Glasgow, Scotland... We arrived today for a show tomorrow. The only real news to report is about the elevator banks in our hotel (which is very nice, I might add....that's 3 for 3). When you approach the elevator, instead of the usual up or down buttons, you're confronted with a keypad where you punch in the number of your floor. Then a display will light up with either an A, B or C to let you know which elevator bank will be arriving to take you there. This means that there's no keypad inside the elevator itself. Quite confusing & weird. Not something to give yourself an intellegence boost when 1st confronted with it. Anyway, with a bellman's help we were shown the ropes of this modern device & are now flying up & down like old pros. And now to sleep...
 

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Transmitting From Manchester, England... Yesterday was a day off where, much to my surprise & delight, I was able to score 2 tickets to see Bjork's new show that just happened to be playing pretty much around the corner from our hotel. It was a last minute rush as the show was a matinee but, somehow, it worked out. Something that I can't imagine happening in the US. It was a great show with 2 musicians & a fairly big Icelnadic female choir along with some multi-media elements. Suffice to say that, if you're a Bjork fan, you're in for a treat. As for us, we had a nice Italian dinner last night & are gearing up for our show tonight. So far, from what I hear, the reviews have been really nice. Also, I'm happy to report that, so far, we're 2 for 2 as far as nice hotels. Hope that continues. Tomorrow, onto Glasgow....
 

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Transmitting From London, England... Wow, it's been awhile! No worries, though, because your trusty road warrior is back to bring you tales of this 3+ week European tour we just started. Last night we were at the Royal Albert Hall which was a thrill. History abounds there & it truly is a gorgeous space. Being an old hippie, memories of hearing about shows by the Cream came to mind as well as a fairly well-known show put on across the street at Hyde Park by the Rolling Stones in the late '60s. As for us, we played well, especially after a 3+ month hiatus & Liza absolutely killed! The word enthusiastic doesn't come remotely close to describing the audience's reaction. All in all, a fun beginning. As has been my routine, I'll try to post updates from each stop as well as any interesting tales to tell. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... If you'd like to check out my interview with Dennis Raimondi from last week, you can find it here: http://www.speakingfreelywithdennis.com/09/ Just click on my name at the top of the page, right across from the link to his interview with President Obama.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just a note to let you know that, over the last few weeks, I've added quite a few nice reviews to the Press page, the latest being from Cadence Magazine, an extremely well-respected international jazz publication that's been around for decades. I'm very proud to be included & doubly proud that they enjoyed my music. As live work has been on the slow side in recent weeks, I've been able to begin writing some new music for what I hope to be the next CD, to be recorded sometime over the next year or so. The music has been flowing really nicely & rather quickly thus far which is, of course, encouraging. It's always fun, in these formative stages, to wonder what the new music will ultimately sound like when it's recorded, and whether or not it'll take shape in a solo or group context. We'll see...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I just did a really nice radio interview with Dennis Raimondi for his show which airs on KRUU-FM. Dennis' list of interviewees over the years has been very impressive, from President Obama to Hilary Clinton to film director David Lynch & composer Angelo Badalamenti, so I'm honored that he felt compelled to get in touch. His show comes out of Farifield, IA but can be heard on many stations, both here & abroad. It was especially rewarding as, in addition to music, we delved a bit into the spiritual aspects of creativity. It will be aired this coming Tuesday, April 19 at 2 pm EST and again the following Thursday, April 21 at 9 am EST. Anyone, anywhere can listen live by going to www.kruufm.com and clicking where it says "Listen Live." As this was pre-recorded, it'll also be fun to listen in & see if I honored the English language in any way. I did, I assure you, construct fairly decent & coherent sentences for the most part. Dennis also has a nice site at www.speakingfreelywithdennis.com. Check it out!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I just wanted to give a shout out to a new friend from Hawaii who has a nice jazz website & was nice enough to include my music on a podcast recently alongside such esteemed company as Roy Haynes, The Temptations, David Sanborn & recent Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding. His name is James Harber & the site is located at www.thejazzintersection.org. What's especially nice about James is that, along with the music, he gives very thorough background info about the artists so it's kind of like a mini music lesson. I wish him continued success with his site & thank him for including me on the show. The podcast I'm on, if you're interested, is called Love Swings.
 

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Transmitting From Biloxi, MS... We're playing tonight at a casino called Beau Rivage where I've played at least twice before. Casinos are not my favroite places to be but I have to give props to this one as it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina & built up again to look better than before. Still, I much prefer the quiet of my room to the clanging of the slots on the casino floor. The noise is pretty much everywhere & invades the eating areas as well so you're never completely free of it. I was never into gambling so, as I said, they're not my favroite places. Still, from what I remember, the theatre is a fairly nice space so, as always, playing some music should be fun. "First Melancholy..." is continuing to get decent airplay & is reachng lands I never would've guessed, the latest being South Africa. There have also been some more nice reviews & comments that I've put on the Press page for your reading pleasure, if you're so inclined. If nothing changes, this will be the last road report for awhile. As always, I'll keep you posted with any interesting new news from NYC or wherever things worth reporting happen to transpire. Till then, Happy Spring!!
 

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Transmitting From Austin, TX... I like Austin. The last time I was here was with Gregory Hines at least 10 years ago. I remember it being a hip music town &, judging from the musical motifs on a lot of the souvenir merchandise, it still is. Too bad we're just here for the day without much time to explore. It's been a little while since our last show so I'm especially looking forward to playing tonight. Should be fun & there are always some extra-special musical moments involved. "First Melancholy..." continues to get good airplay. I've gotten a few emails from listeners & it's especially interesting to hear the variety of comments. My favorite one so far mentions how the music seems more in the classical vein than anything else. Something I never would've imagined anyone to say. I can't say enough how happy it makes me that this music is getting heard to the degree that it is. That's about it for now. We're back on the road in a couple of weeks so I'll try to update things again from there. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A couple of updates regarding the new CD. Firstly, I was just informed that it's now #40 on the Roots Music Report's Jazz Chart! I never thought the word "chart" & my music would appear in the same sentence so it's exciting. Also, I was asked to write a little blog entry for Max Horowitz' website over at Crossovermedia.com. about what it's like to be both a drummer & keyboardist. It just went up today & you can check it out at http://www.crossovermedia.net/blog/index.cfm.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... I'm very happy to report that the new CD is getting some very nice airplay throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Satellite Radio & the Internet. So far 49 stations have added it to their rotations...Yay!! Also, some really nice reviews have been coming in which I've put bits of on the press page. Special thanks to Scott Raymond of WVKR-FM & Joe Zupan of WICN-FM for their hospitality when I was interviewed on their respective shows over the last couple of weeks. It was much fun. The bottom line, really, is that I'm so happy that this music is getting out there & getting heard. More updates as they come in.
 

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Transmitting From Indianapolis, IN... Simply put, it's VERY cold here. Colder than NYC. A biting cold. Luckily, our time outdoors will be minimal. We arrived today for a symphony show tomorrow before returning home on Thursday. Needless to say, we're really hoping that the snow forecast for NYC doesn't put any major dents into our flight plan home. Keeping our fingers crossed. I'm happy to report that, in addition to the reviews I added to the "Press" page last week, the new CD is now getting airplay on 16 radio stations across the USA & 1 in Canada. Not bad for the 1st week of release. I'm hoping that number will continue to grow. In addition, I'll be doing 2 live interviews. The first is with Scott Raymond this coming Sunday on WVKR, 91.3 FM in upstate NY. I should be on around 10AM or so. I've mentioned Scott here before & he's a great supporter of indie music so I'm very much looking forward to seeing him again. Secondly, I'll be on Joe Zupan's show on WICN, 90.5FM that serves the New England area on Thurs. Jan. 20 at around 3PM. If you're in earshot of either of these, give a listen. I'd also like to give a special shout-out to internet-based radio station WGOE.org. In addition to adding the CD to their playlist, they were kind enough to send me a personal note of welcome. If nothing else changes, this will be the last road trip until early March so there won't be any tales of the road until then. I will, however, give updates on any & all news related to the new CD as well as any additional news of interest that might transpire from NYC. Until then, stay warm!!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy New Year!! I'm proud to announce that the new CD was officially released today! It can be downloaded from both iTunes as well as Amazon. I'm sure there are lesser known digital music sites where you'll be able to find it but those 2 are probably the best known with the easiest access. If you, like me, would like to have an actual physical copy of the CD in hand, CD Baby is the place to go. I've put links on the "Buy" page here for your convenience. I've also added a few reviews on the "Press" page as well. I'm very excited & proud of this project & sincerely hope you enjoy it.
 

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Transmitting From San Francisco, CA... One of my favorite US cities! We arrived yesterday for a show today. Upon arriving at our hotel, I discovered, 1st of all, that my name was incorrect on the reservation. It took a brief bit of explaining to convince the lady at reception that my 1st name wasn't Chip. No big deal...a little amusing, in fact. Then, even though this hotel is touted as one of SF's finest, I found my room to be kind of old & very small. Down to the lobby I went to find one of my fellow bandmates changing his room. It was then that I discovered that there's a newly renovated wing that I was able to change to so I'm now happily ensconced in more modern surroundings. We leave for soundcheck in a couple of hours. Today's itinerary will be a bit more condensed as there are 2 shows prior to ours in the hall. This gives our crew people way less time to set things up as well as giving us less time to soundcheck & rehearse. I'm not concerned. We're all really good at what we do & I expect everything to work out smoothly in the end. Tomorrow I move over to my next hotel near the bay for my 4 day mini-vacation highlighted by my wife's arrival on Tues. Then home on Fri. January will see the CD release. I've also re-scheduled my interview on Scott Raymond's radio show for the morning of Jan. 16. Assuming there's nothing more of note to report, I'll take this opportunty to wish everyone a great holiday season & the best of new years. Till next year...
 

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Transmitting From Tucson, AZ... The last road trip of the year. We flew into Phoenix yesterday which was followed by a 2 hour drive here so it was a pretty long travel day. Our show is tonight & then off to San Francisco tomorrow for a show on Sunday. SF is one of my favorite US cities & it'll be especially enjoyable this time because of the lucky coincidence of my wife having to come to town for a business conference which allows me to spend a few extra days. As I may have mentioned before, I love walking through cities, with record & book stores being my favorite places to stop. In the old days, I'd always center my walks around the local Tower Records. Now that that's not an option, luckily in SF, there's an Amoeba Records which is probably one of the last great record store chains left. There's only a few of them, all on the West Coast, so it'll be a special treat for me. The stores are huge & keep the spirit alive of the days before everything became downloads & digital. I'll be in SF for almost a week so I'll check back in from there. Till then... PS- I also found out that the epsiode of The Apprentice that we did will now air next Thurs. Dec. 9. Sorry to anyone who tuned in last night expecting to see us. Hopefully this new info is correct.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just came across this on Amazon.com for the new CD which will be available on Jan. 4. Just a little teaser with some audio samples so you can get a small taste of the new music. Hope you enjoy it. http://www.amazon.com/First-Melancholy-Then-Night-Stretch/dp/B004CCTCAG/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290789134&sr=301-1 PS...Just heard that the episode of The Apprentice that we did will be aired next Thurs., Dec. 2 at 10PM ET on NBC. Hope we get a little camera time!
 

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Transmitting From Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic... We arrived here yesterday for a show tonight before flying home tomorrow. Things were a bit hectic due to our flight being delayed an hour & a half. As soon as we arrived, we had to run out to a dinner given by the promoters which was very good. Still, it made things a bit rushed & we weren't able to completely decompress until fairly late in the evening. It's hard to tell what kind of place this is having arrived & driven in darkness. My room is very bare bones but functional although the pool area looks very nice, surrounded by many palm trees & other greenery. One cool thing is that our hotel was used for all of the Cuban scenes in the Godfather! From the little I could see during our night drive to the hotel the city reminds me quite a bit of some areas of South America as far as fairly deep poverty although, thus far, I haven't seen anything approaching what you'd call a modern metropolis to balance that out. Anything in the modern zone looks fairly dated, almost out of the '60s & '70s. Now that daylight is here, I'll be able to get a more complete picture. What's surely nice, though, is to get one last blast of summer-like weather. Temperatures here seem to be steadily in the '80s. Our show the other night in Staten Island went really well & it was fun to get back into the groove of the gig, both musicially & personally. Just one more trip for the year which will be towards the end of next week where I'll give you my next update. Until then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... As a few of our road gigs were cancelled over the last month, I've been able to spend more time working towards the CD release in early January. I've assembled a small but mighty team to help out as far as PR & you can get a taste of the fruit of their labor here in a little pre-release review: http://www.thisisbooksmusic.com/2010/10/28/review-rick-cutler-first-melancholy-then-the-night-stretch/ There've been a couple of others as well, both encouraging. December will entail getting into high gear as far as pushing for radio airplay. I must say that this is an incredible learning experience never having jumped into the deep end of being an indie artist to this degree. It's all towards getting the music out there which is all that really matters to me. Whether anyone likes it or not, I truly feel it deserves to be heard. There'll be just a couple of more road trips this year & I'll faithfully give you any interesting updates from out there. Till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Dallas, TX... Things continue to be busy. We arrived this afternoon for 2 symphony shows tomorrow & Sat. before heading home Sun. We also performed 1 song on the ABC show, The View, this past Tues. which was fun. It seems as though, as soon as I get to the hotel these days, I'm on the phone or answering emails dealing with elements of the upcoming CD release. It's become a way bigger project than the 1st one, as far as promoting it & I really hope it results in getting the music heard by many more people. We're located across the street from a huge mall & I just returned from taking a stroll through it. Malls are not really my thing & why are so many of them called The Galleria? Well, I just looked up the word in the dictionary & got my answer: "Galleria, noun, a covered or enclosed area, esp. one with commercial establishments for shopping, dining, etc." I had no idea that Galleria is a synonym for mall! Consider yourself enlightened! That's about it for now. Next time there's news of note, I'll surely let you know. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From Portland, ME... We arrived this afternoon for a show tomorrow before heading home on Thurs. We're also supposed to be doing Good Morning America on Friday morning as well as The View next Tues. The show with rock singer Tiyee that I mentioned last time seems to be on for this coming Sat. at around 11:45AM at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Queens. It's a benefit for victims of domestic abuse so it's surely a worthy cause. I'm told we'll be doing a short 30 minute set so, if you're in the neighborhood, come on down. The stage area, from what I can gather, will be in the vicinity of Macy's. The latest news on the upcoming CD is that it will be let loose upon the world in Jan. 2011. This is to allow proper lead time for some advance print & web PR to be worked out & put into motion. I'm hoping for some reviews this time around & maybe some radio airplay & interviews. My interview on Scott Raymond's show, originally scheduled for this Sun., has been pushed back to Jan. so that it will coincide with the official release. Portland is a very sweet, quaint town on the water. We just returned from a great lobster dinner. I know that Maine is famous for lobsters but didn't know that it's also famous for blueberries. The blueberry cobbler we had for dessert supports that claim extremely well. It's a busy, busy time & I'll be working hard when I return home to find time to get all the proper elements in place for the new CD to make a bit of a bigger splash this time. It's quite an education being an indie artist but it seems as though that's the direction a lot of music that's not geared for the masses is heading. Should be quite a ride. More next week from Dallas...
 

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Transmitting From Birmingham, AL... Just arrived today for a show tomorrow, then home Sunday where I'll be rushing home to grab my drums & head out for a show with the Miami Boys Choir in Queens. I have one with them in NJ on Monday before heading out to Portland, Maine on Tuesday for a Liza show on Wed. Finally home next Thurs. where I'll be able to catch my breath for a bit. There's also talk of a show with a really good rock singer named Tiyee who I worked with a few years ago playing clubs around NYC that's supposed to happen at Roosevelt Field on Oct. 2. Don't have the details of that yet but, if & when I get them, I'll post them here. Then my interview on Scott Raymond's radio show on Oct. 3. promoting the new CD. OK, now time for dinner! More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Chicago, IL... It's 5:15AM. Leaving in 45 minutes for the Oprah show taping, then directly to the airport, then home. Great hotel room here! Wish I had more time to enjoy it. We arrived yesterday afternoon, relaxed for a couple of hours, then headed off to the TV studio to rehearse. Afterwards, some dinner followed by 4 hours sleep. The show is supposed to air next Tues. so keep your eyes peeled. OK, off to work I go. Hope the coffee at the studio is decent! Till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Huntington, WV... Our show in Roanoke last night went well. The town is very quaint & sweet, almost out of a storybook. Many low-rise brick buildings lined up in grid formation, all nicely maintained. There were many vacant shops & I was told that the town is being built-up a bit which was nice to hear. It would have been a drag to hear that all of the vacancies were due to stores closing down. We just arrived in Huntington. In the elevator someone asked me if I was here for the "Raw" convention. I said no but asked what it was. It's a convention of romance novel authors that's happening in the hotel. Don't know if I'll venture down to check it out or not. I'm not a romance novel fan but there could be some very good people watching opportunities. (It might be worth it just to find out how a romance novel convention comes to be known as "Raw"). The town here is more industrial, without the charm of the past 2....at least that's how it appears on 1st impression. Day off today, show tomorrow, home Mon....yay!! We're supposed to be heading to Chicago at week's end to tape a segment of the Oprah show which sounds like fun. More from there. I'll close with a prayer of peace & heartfelt condolences for the victims & families of 9/11.
 

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Transmitting From Roanoke, VA... We arrived here after a 5 hr. van ride that was actually quite comfortable & pleasant. The show last night went well. I vaguely remember hearing lyrics or stories about the beautiful mountains of Virginia (or West Virginia or Kentucky or the Carolinas). No matter where the lyrics/stories were referring to, I can report that the ride from South Carolina thru North Carolina & finally here surely had some very picturesque scenery. The other big news of the day is that I had a slight accident with a cold beverage that partially landed on my iPhone, making it mostly unusable. For any Apple fans, you've probably heard of the iPod Touch being called an iPhone without the phone. Well, my newly damaged iPhone is now pretty much acting like an iPhone without a phone as well! It seems to do everything else ok, except act as a phone! I'll be in an Apple Store on Mon. night in NYC to try to solve my dilemma. It's SO weird going back to using hotel phones after years of cells. (I do use Skype but have found that, if I need to make sure I have a strong connection, the hotel land line works best). OK, enough of my phone woes. Tonight, a night off, will be a milestone birthday celebration for one of our bandmates which should be fun. Tomorrow will be our symphony show here & then off to West Virginia on Sat. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Greenville, SC... I just arrived yesterday from Seattle where I had a great vacation week with the family culminating in 3 days of the Bumbershoot arts festival. It was much fun to see a legend like Bob Dylan still going strong. There were also some great films, comedy & art projects. All in all, a blast for me. We have a show tonight here & then move on to Roanoke, VA & Huntington, WV before heading home next Mon. I'll be continuing to work on getting everything ready for the new CD release which is coming very soon. Hoping to get some help on the PR end this time around. I'll keep you posted on all fronts. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From La Jolla, CA... Greetings. Hope everyone is enjoying what's left of summer. Well, back on the road again. This time just for 1 show here with the San Diego Symphony tonight before heading home tomorrow. There's quite a bit on the schedule for the fall even though I've been remiss in filling out the calendar page here. I'll try to get it up to date soon. After returning home for a couple of days, I head out, this time with the family, to Seattle & the Bumbershoot Festival next weekend. I may have mentioned it before but it's worth repeating that Bumbershoot is an amazing event that takes place every Labor Day weekend. Many, many artists from many fields perform & this year it's celebrating its 40th anniversary. It's one of my favorite things to do in one of my favorite cities...highly recommended. I go from there to some more Liza dates on the east coast & then home. The biggest news is that the new CD is pretty much ready to go. There's no firm release date yet but I'd guess it'd be within the next couple of months. It's titled "First Melancholy, Then The Night Stretch" & I'm very happy with it, both inside & out. I'll be doing a radio interview with Scott Raymond on the morning of Oct. 3 to promote it & play some cuts. His show focuses more on New Age & Ambient music but he's very supportive of all independent musicians. The station is WVKR, 91.3FM & it's based in upstate NY. It airs from 9AM-Noon so keep your ears peeled if you're within his bandwidth. For anyone in Japan, I recently found out that a concert I played drums on with pianist Joel Zelnick a number of years ago has just been released on CD there. It's titled "Live At Steinway Piano Gallery" & has some very nice Bill Evans-inspired trio playing. It can be ordered thru www.dustygroove.com. That's about it. There'll be more news in the coming weeks as well as more news on the CD release so stay tuned.
 

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Transmitting From Atlanta, GA... We arrived yesterday for a symphony show today. This usually involves a few extra hours of rehearsal time for the orchestra which is fine with me as I'm always happy sitting behind a set of drums. The weather looks overcast but, from what I can tell, it looks as though the rain has come & gone so I'll bet the outdoor show tonight will go on as planned. A few days ago we taped an episode for a well-known TV show that I was told will be airing in the fall. Don't want to say anything else as it's an ongoing series & more info could ruin whatever build-up or surprise might be associated with it. It was a fun experience, though...that much I can say. The process of putting the next CD together is moving along. I'm hoping to add 1 or 2 new people, in addition to my 1-man operation, to get it to a broader audience. There are a couple of possibilities in that area which is encouraging. And that's about it. After this trip I'll be off the road for a couple of weeks but there'll be more news ahead so keep checking in. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From 37,000 Feet... Just wanted to write a brief note to give a thumbs up to In-Flight Wifi. 1st time I'm using it & it's very cool. Oh...and the show last night went well. It was an extremely pretty outdoor setting in the middle of the Wente Vineyards. Also, my new CD is in the cover design stage. Had some beautiful photos taken by my friend Ichiro Okada, who I've been working with on a book project for the last year or so. The photos are of a couple of Manhattan locations that I think look pretty cool. More next week...
 

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Transmitting From Livermore, CA... We arrived here yesterday for a show tonight in what's supposed to be a beautiful outdoor setting in a local vineyard. Livermore is about 40 minutes outside of San Franscisco. Last week was more of a local show in Asbury Park, NJ. I don't have any major recollections of being there before although I wouldn't swear that it was my 1st time there. After being on the road for so many years, so many towns kind of bleed together & it's sometimes hard to remember. I'm enjoying my new job as drummer very much. It's where I feel most at home performing live & I'm really glad to get to experience that feeling here. Tomorrow is an extremely early lobby call (4:30AM!) to catch an early flight home in order to celebrate my beautiful wife's birthday. Should be a fun day & fun weekend. There's more coming up next week so I'll say bye for now & give you an update then.
 

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Transmitting From Chicago, IL... Just finishing up our 1st weekend back on the road. The show here tonight went especially well. It was the 1st one with the sextet lineup & was extremely well received. The reduced instrumentation seemed to open up some nice space in the music. As quite a few of the new tunes for this chapter are arranged for the smaller group, it creates, in my opinion, a unique kind of intimacy. It'll be interesting to see how things develop & grow over time. So, we're off & running! More news soon...
 

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Transmitting From St. Louis, MO... On the road again! It certainly has been awhile! I'm out here doing a couple of Liza Minnelli shows this weekend. One in St. Louis & one on Sunday in Chicago. It's a bit of a different chapter as I've been asked to play drums this time around which is much fun. Also, the core band being used is just a sextet, down from the usual 12. There've been some new arrangements written for this configuration & it's a refreshing change. Almost has a small jazz group vibe. Very enjoyable. Peppered in with the sextet shows are some with symphony orchestras as well. Still, it looks like there'll be sextet segments along with the orchestral ones. The other major piece of news is that I recently finished recording my 2nd CD. Once again, it's all solo piano. I must tell you that the sound of the piano on this one is phenomenal thanks to my old friend Larry Gates, who engineered & mixed it. I'm now moving into the post production world of designing the cover with the help of some very talented friends. I'm also hoping to find outlets for deeper distribution this time around so that I might be able to rise a bit above being a complete indie artist from top to bottom. There's no set time yet for it to be released upon the world but I'll surely make it known here when that day arrives. As of now, I'd guess late summer or early fall. And there you have it. As always with these journal entries from the road, when there's news to report, I will. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy Spring!! It's certainly been awhile. The journal's been quiet over the winter months as I'm usually encouraged to make entries from different stops on the road. As I've been off the road for awhile, my mind hasn't been jarred in this direction but at least I'm making up for it now with a bit of news from the home front. I recently teamed up with MZPR Productions who deals mostly in doing PR for authors. I was asked to come on board as kind of a resident composer in writing music for trailers for upcoming books. Here's the YouTube link for our 1st one promoting a book called "Killer" by Dave Zeltserman which will be coming out in May: http://www.youtube.com/user/MZPRProductions?feature=mhw4 It's quite a good read. The trailer should be on quite a few websites over the coming weeks. There'll be some more trailers coming soon as well. Over the years, I've written tons of music for TV & Radio but never anything specifically tailored to promote books. I'll keep you posted as new ones become available for viewing. The other major project, one that I'm very excited about, is that I'm very close to being ready to go into the studio and record my 2nd CD. I just recently finished Phase 1 which is the composing process. Next is to put in some time at the piano & formulate a battle plan as far as performing the pieces after which I'll head in to record. The large majority of this one will be solo piano like the 1st but I may add some bits of group recordings that were done early last year as well. I'll be updating my progress here as things move along. And there you have the major musical events as of early Spring 2010! Keep checking in for any updates. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy belated New Year! It's been awhile. I just finished a 3-week run of an Off-Off Broadway show called, "If This Ain't It." Although the reviews were less than stellar, it was a lot of fun. Very home brewed in its approach & production. It also allowed me to spend more time walking around the East Village than I had in years. As a result I wound up with a few new Miles Davis bootleg CDs which always makes my day. Hard to believe that there are no more huge warehouse-like record stores in NYC. Still, there are a bunch of small shops here & there that sometimes still get some new, previously unseen bootleg stuff. It still gives me a thrill when I happen upon some new Miles, although with the advent of the net & file sharing, it's hard to accurately keep track of what's new & what isn't. In days gone by, the centerpieces of my travels would always be a visit to the local Tower Records. The only thing that approximates that these days are the Amoeba Records stores in California. How about opening one here! Coming up next is an interesting writing project. I'll be doing the music for a video that'll be used to promote a forthcoming novel. Kinda like a music video for a book. I've never done anything exactly like this before although I've written much music for TV & radio. It'll be nice to get back into that zone. Included in this will be a much-needed update to my brain in the music software department. On Feb. 19 I'll be back at the Port 41 bar with guitarist Paul Metzke's trio. There are a bunch of YouTube clips of that band for you to check out. More info is on the calendar page. Finally, Feb. marks the release of the Liza's At The Palace DVD. Even though it was aired a bunch of times on some PBS stations, I still haven't seen it so I'm looking forward to getting a copy. By the way, the CD of the show is up for a Grammy. A nice feather in our caps in addition to the Tony award. And there you have it. Wishing you all a great New Year, even in my belated state.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... As I mentioned in my last entry, I'll be doing an Off Broadway (or Off-Off Broadway, not sure which) show in January at the Theatre For The New City in the East Village for 3 weeks. It's called If This Ain't It & it's written by my old friend Don Arrington who I've worked with a few times over the years on various projects. Don is a beautiful guy with a lot of talent & a lot of heart. We 1st worked together on a show of his called On The Block around 10 years ago where I had an absolute blast! I haven't heard or seen anything from the new show yet but, if my past experience with Don is any indication, it promises to be a very unique & fun evening so I have no reservations in recommending it to any & all. Here's a link to the press release for more info: http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/IF_THIS_AINT_IT_Set_for_172010_At_Theater_for_the_New_City_20091204 Hope to see you there!
 

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Transmitting From Buffalo, NY... Just finished what appears to be the last Liza show of the year here. Once again I was filling in on the drummer/conductor chair which always makes it especially fun. It's been a nice road year with trips to South America, Europe & Australia as the highlights. Portions of the DVD we made of last year's Broadway run will be airing on PBS throughout the holiday season so keep an eye out for it. Haven't seen it yet but I hear it looks & sounds great. I believe the DVD itself will be on sale in early 2010. A couple of cool things coming up in NYC for me are another gig with guitarist Paul Metzke's Trio at the Port 41 bar in early Dec. as well as an Off-Off B'way show in Jan. I'll write more about the show as the dates draw nearer. There are a bunch of YouTube clips up now with the Metzke Trio from our last gig so, please, give a listen. There's some good music there. Paul can really play. Wishing you all a great Thanksgiving & keep watching this space for more news next month. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Less than 24 hours after returning from Australia, my son Sean & I were sitting in Yankee Stadium watching the Yankees on their way to winning their 27th World Championship. It was a once in a lifetime experience! There's a great shot on the photo page capturing the sweetness of victory!
 

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Transmitting From Sydney, Australia... Well, we're back to where we started almost 3 weeks ago for our last show tomorrow night. I'm just back from a long walk through a few different parts of the city (must've walked around 3-4 miles at least). Found a great record store where I was able to snag a couple of concert DVDs that I'd never seen before by 2 of my favorites (Miles Davis & Joe Zawinul). Then went on a long trek to an area called Surrey Hills that I was told had a similar hippie/bohemain vibe to Brunswick St. in Melbourne. Sadly, it didn't quite live up to the hype but was a pleasant walk & good excercise as well. I just arrived back in the room to give my legs a bit of a rest. Last night I ate at the excellent Indian restaurant I found the 1st time around called Karma. I had 2 dinners there last time & may repeat that feat this time around. As we wind down out here, I must give serious props to our tour managers who've made everything about this trip smooth, pleasant & completely painless. From airport check-ins to hotel check-ins to soundcheck dinners to hotel pick-ups...every element was without the slightest hint of a problem &, if there was one, we never heard about it. So, thank you Alia & Stephen! Unless anything unusual happens this will probably be my last entry for the tour. Greatly looking forward to being back home in the USA &, especially, in NYC. Till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Brisbane, Australia... We just arrived today on the next to last stop on the tour. Haven't really had time to explore yet but I will mention a couple of the highlights from Melbourne. On one of our off days we rented a car & took a drive of around 90 minutes to a place called Phillip Island. We were able to go to a 60-acre wildlife preserve that features animals indigenous to Australia. The main attraction was being able to go out & walk among the animals & feed some of them. It's quite an experience to be standing among 20 or 30 kangaroos & suddenly have one hop up to you waiting to be fed. They were all very peaceful & friendly as well as curious & hungry! For the entire time you're there, you're out there with the animals, pretty amazing. Then we watched something called the Penguin Parade which happens at sunset on the beach. Seems as though, every evening at sunset, hundreds of penguins return from a day's fishing at sea & make a determined march up a pathway back to their burrows. It's quite something to witness. On another day I stayed in town & went to an area called Fitzroy. It's very much like Williamsburgh, Soho & the Village in NYC. Tons of hip clothing shops, little cafes, tattoo parlors, some bookshops & CD stores, etc. on both sides of the street that seems to go on for a couple of miles. I loved walking through all of it & soaking in the bohemian/hippie vibe. Being an old hippie myself, I felt right at home! Soon, I'll venture out & see what Brisbane has to offer. Not much time here, though. Show tomorrow & then back to Sydney for the last show on Monday. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Transmitting From Melbourne, Australia... We arrived here this afternoon. Our show is tomorrow & then we're off for 3 days, all of which will be spent here. I had an especially nice plane trip as I got into a conversation with a guy in my row who just happened to be into really good music. He'd mentioned that he saw Liza on the flight which prompted me to say that I was a musician & was here working with her. From there we started exchanging musical viewpoints & he offered that he was very excited about Wayne Shorter (one of my all time favorites) coming to Australia in March. To have a stranger (& non-musician at that) bring up Wayne's name in casual conversation happens pretty much never so it was quite refreshing. Jazz is my 1st love & I've been into it pretty much since I was a kid. He came to it a little more recently but is a fan of pretty much all of the greats of jazz history. He knew the real deal which impressed me. He turned me on to some African jazz-based instrumental music, 1 piece that I'd actually heard. I told him that I recognized it from a film & he said, "Oh yeah, Broken Flowers, Jim Jarmusch." Jarmusch is one of my favorite directors. Bottom line, he seemed to be one of "my people" as I call them & we planned to try & stay in touch. My hotel room is the nicest so far. Beautiful wood everywhere. Lucky in that I'll be here for 5 days. Shortly after arriving, I took a fairly long walk around town just to try to get a vibe for the city. So far it reminds me a bit of San Francisco. I found a fairly inexpensive Chinese restaurant that was quite good. I was the only non-Asian eating there so I thought that was a good sign. Now I'm back in the room & starting to wind down. We'll see what the days off bring & I'll let you know of anything noteworthy.
 

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Transmitting From Adelaide, Australia... We just arrived here from Perth & the time zone changes are starting to add up to complete confusion for my body clock. Sydney, our 1st stop, is 15 hrs. ahead of NYC. Perth, where we just were, is 12 hours ahead. Now, in Adelaide, 14.5 hours ahead. That's right, there's a 30 minute time zone difference between Sydney & Adelaide. Why the 30 minutes? Who knows? I'm wondering if things continue to change as you get closer to Sydney. 20 minute difference, 15, 10, 5?? Bottom line is, I don't have a clue as to whether I'll be getting anything resembling a normal night's sleep tonight. We'll see... Things are expensive here. I was fooled into thinking that, because the Australian & U.S. dollar match up almost evenly, that prices would follow suit. Wrong! I was lucky to find a little breakfast place in Perth (called, wouldn't you know, the NY Cafe) that served something resembling a normal breaksfast for about $13. That's cheap here. So we move onward approaching the half-way point of the tour. Show tomorrow & then on to Melbourne Saturday. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Perth, Australia... We just arrived here this afternoon travelling across the continent to the west coast, akin to a flight from NY to LA. Our shows in Sydney went well & it was a blast having the chance to play some drums. I'll be back at my usual keyboard chair for the remainder of the tour. One of the perks of the drummer/conductor role is getting your own dressing room, a snapshot of which now resides on the photo page (as well as one from the stage). Still, I spent most of the time with my buddies in the band room where the chances of laughs, witty retorts & interesting conversation are much higher. Last night we also did a short (1 song) live TV performance on the Australian version of American Idol which, lo & behold, is called Australian Idol. From what I could tell, it seemed to be almost an exact duplicate of the U.S. show, even down to having one of the judges being a bit of a curmudgeon. At this point, with the 15 hr. time difference in Sydney, now down to a 12 hr. difference for the next 3 days, I'd give my kingdom for a normal night's sleep! My body clock is completely out of whack. I'll probably get settled into these time zones just in time to go back to NYC & start it all over again in reverse! Oh well, I can look forward to some long stretches of normalcy sometime in November. And there you have it. There's a day off tomorrow followed by a show here on Wednesday. More from our next stop later in the week...
 

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Transmitting From Sydney, Australia... Greetings from down under! From my calculations, door-to-door was 27 hrs. The longest single trip I've ever taken. A 15-hour time difference from NYC. It's been awhile since I was this far away from home. Last time was in Japan in the mid '90s but this is further. In fact, this might be just about the furthest one can get from home (if your home is NYC). Anyway, you get the idea. The flights were fine. The best feature being the seats' ability to recline to almost a completely horizontal position. (Business class....yay!!) As a result, I was actually able to sleep for quite a few hours. Upon arrival, I was really not all that jet lagged. I've been able to stay up without a problem so far. Hopefully I can get through the rest of the day & get to sleep at a relatively normal hour. Still, you never know what suprises the old body clock might have in store. Wish me luck. Tomorrow is another day off & then the 1st show on Fri. at the Sydney Opera House. I'll be filling in on the drummer/conductor chair for the first 2 shows which should be fun. Just came back from a long walk around our part of Sydney which was quite nice. Thus far, it seems to fall into the "smaller, cleaner version of NYC" category. Tomorrow more walking. I'll surely report anything of interest. On an unrelated note, a HUGE coffee-table sized photography book on drummers is being released this week entitled, Sticks 'n' Skins. I'm proud to say that I'm included amongst the 300 or so drummers featured. It's really beautifully done & worth checking out. It's a bit pricey but, at the very least, if your partial towards drums & drummers & happen upon it in a bookstore, take a look. You can find out more at the website created to promote it, www.sticksnskins.com. That's about it for now. More to come soon...
 

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Transmitting from Las Vegas, NV... Here are some recent ramblings from the past week which I wrote a few days ago: A creature of habit...that's what I've become to a degree out here. Been getting to sleep around 1-2AM, getting up around 9-10AM, meditate, go down to the cafe for my "salmon bagel sandwhich" as they call it here (basically lox, cream cheese, cucumbers & onions....hold the tomato, please) & large coffee. I bring a book to read while I'm waiting for my food. (I tried the employee cafeteria for breakfast, which is free for us, & cancelled on it. To walk 30 minutes round-trip from my room for lukewarm eggs isn't worth it). Cost for the salmon bagel sandwhich & coffee, by the way, is $14.05. I usually have the amount out & ready to hand over before the cashier finishes ringing it up. Then, it's usually back to the room to check email. It's kind of uncanny because, sometimes, even though I'm gone for less than an hour, the room will be made up by the time I return. The "Do Not Disturb" sign is a little red light as opposed to a sign so I'm thinking that maybe when I turn it off, it shows up in Housekeeping Central Command & they run up to clean. The afternoons usually consist of reading, web surfing & maybe a nap. I've been deliquent as far as hitting the gym but will get back in there when I get home. We've also been having extra soundchecks & rehearsals. Out of the 7 shows we're doing here, there'll be soundchecks or camera blocking stuff for 5 of the days so our afternoons are not entirely our own. The evenings, of course, are the shows themselves. I spend about 30 minutes a day or less outdoors as you can walk from our hotel to the showroom through indoor walkways. The only extended time I've been outside has been during breakfast. The cafe has an outdoor area that's pleasant. Mostly though, I really don't like Las Vegas so the less time I can spend among the throngs who actually chose to come here for vacation the better. I can't imagine spending any time here for any reason other than work. There's just nowhere to walk that's anything other than gross & gaudy as far as I'm concerned. The only diversion that I remotely considered was trying to catch Penn & Teller's show, mostly so I could try & corner one of them & ask their opinion about a psychic we recently saw. They swear that there's no such thing as paranormal abilities & claim that everything done in that zone is a trick of some kind. As the show we witnessed was pretty impressive, I'd love to ask them about it, especially because they usually have no problem debunking these things and revealing the secrets. Doesn't look like it'll happen, though, becuase we have no nights off. Now, back to the present tense: Tonight is our last show before heading home tomorrow. As it's a show specifically for the casts & crews of other shows (called a "Gypsy Show") it begins at midnight. My working hours today will be from 7:30PM until around 2:30AM. Last night was filmed as tonight will be as well. An interesting little event during last night's taping was during a song where I have a fair amount of solo lines to play using an accordian sound. Usually I have 2 very bright lights attached to 2 music stands for reading the music but, becuase of the mood required for this piece, my lights are turned off & my stands are lit from way above using soft blue stage lighting. As we were performing, one of the huge cameras on a boom stand hovered over me creating a complete shadow over the music so that I couldn't see a thing! Luckily, having played the piece quite a bit & because of the brevity of the incident, there was no problem. Still, for that one moment when I saw complete darkness descend over my music like a solar eclipse, I thought to myself, "WTF!!!" Any little distraction that diverts your attention can be a huge problem, especially when you have to play some solos! Luckily, all was fine. I mentioned this to our stage manager &, hopefully, tonight my blue lights will shine free & clear. And there you have it! More coming in a couple of weeks from down under.
 

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Transmitting From Las Vegas, NV... We arrived here on Thursday for a week's worth of shows that'll be reviving the Broadway run we did last year. The final 2 performances will be filmed for a future TV broadcast & DVD release. I may have mentioned this before but Vegas is not one of my favorite places. I'm not a casino/gambling/gaudy kind of guy &, needless to say, this is the mecca for all of that. One good thing, though, is that our hotel is situated apart from the main hotel where we're working (the MGM Grand) but is connected through a series of walkways. There are no gaming machines or tables of any kind where we are so it's much quieter which is quite nice. The cost for this additional peace is a 13 minute walk from my room to the stage door (I timed it last night). I'll take it! I did another gig a couple of weeks ago with guitarist Paul Metzke's trio in NYC that was a lot of fun. There are now some clips from that night up on YouTube if you care to check it out. Check out the tune, "Blue Lake", if you have to choose one to watch. I'm sure there'll be more coming up with Paul in Nov. or Dec. He's quite a player. Next for us in Liza-land is a tour of Australia that I'm looking forward to as I've never been there. I'm also going to be filling in on drums for 2 of those shows which is always fun. Stay tuned for stories from the land of Oz next month. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From Los Angeles, CA... We just finished doing 2 shows at the Hollywood Bowl, a venue I'd heard much about but never worked until now. It carries much history including shows by The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix &, I believe, the last show of Miles Davis, among thousands of others. It's quite beautiful as it's nestled in a wooded area although, holding upwards of 19,000 seats, I wouldn't call it intimate. Still, it's quite a cool view from the stage. We're staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel which, I've been told, includes a haunted room where the spirit of Montgomery Clift still pays visits from time-to-time. Another 1st for me was renting a hybrid car that took me about 15 minutes to figure out how to start. The key mechanism doesn't look like a normal one & is just a small oval shaped piece of metal that only has to be in the vicinity of the engine to activate it. To start the car, you simply push a button. For any future 1st time hybrid users, heed my advice when trying to get the car in drive, keep your foot on the brake! My family is here with me which makes it an especially fun trip. We'll be heading down to San Diego today for a kind of mini-vacation before heading home on Wednesday. On Sept. 18, I'll be reconvening on drums with guitarist Paul Metzke's trio at the Port 41 bar in NYC. It's a fun gig & an interesting place. Kind of sleazy but cool. Please come down if you're so inclined. Next road-wise is a week in Las Vegas at the end of Sept. More from there if not sooner...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just wanted to say thanks to all who came out to my gig last night with guitarist Paul Metzke's Trio. It had been awhile since I'd been able to rock out playing drums so it was a lot of fun. The club seemed to really dig us so there'll surely be some more dates there (& maybe some other venues) soon. I'll post them here as soon as I have them.
 

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Transmitting From Cabazon, CA.... Don't worry, I've never heard of Cabazon, CA either. It's close to Palm Springs, surrounded by desert &, after a 7+ hour bus ride, I'm very happy to finally be here! A couple of little mini-stories from the last day or so: -One of our guys won $700 at the slots! -Another one overheard some people talking before the show last night saying (regarding Liza): "I hope she sings Over The Rainbow" "Oh, me too! What show was that from again?" "Annie!!" Obviously some particularly avid fans. Not sure if there'll be much more to report on this trip. You never know, though. If not, I would like to bring your attention to a little gig I'll be doing next Fri. July 24 in NYC with guitarist Paul Metzke. I'll be playing drums & it should be fun. Jazz, rock, blues & r&b leaning towards the loud side. All the info is on the calendar page. Come on down if you're so inclined. After tomorrow's show we have a bit of a break so, if there's no hot breaking news, I should return with more updates sometime in late August. Till then, enjoy your summer!
 

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Transmitting from Santa Ynez, CA... We arrived yesterday for the resumption of the mini-casino tour. This is #2 out of 3. We're pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rolling hills & desert-like terrain. What's noteworthy are the stretches of land that are completely burnt-out & scarred from the recent fires here. On the way to the hotel, I saw a sign planted in the ground that said, "Firemen, you rock, thank you!!" There's a couple of small towns nearby, one where we had a decent dinner of mexican food last night. The hall where we're playing looks more like a hotel ballroom than a concert hall or showroom. Just a big empty space with a stage that can be configured in a variety of ways. Last night it was a bingo hall where a thousand people or so were partaking. Not much more to report. Tomorrow we move south to our final stop & temperatures in the low 100s! More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Rama, Ontario, Canada... It's been a long day & it's not over yet. Woke up at 5AM at home to get a flight to Toronto where we drove about 2 hrs. to the casino where we're playing here tonight. It's a week of casinos for us...not my favorite places to play. Mid-week we head out to California to do 2 more casino shows before heading home & a little break in the schedule. I'm a little fried from the day's travelling. We landed in Toronto in the middle of a lightning storm where the airport was on "red alert", meaning that none of the ground crew was permitted to guide us in to our gate so we wound up sitting on the runway for a bit. Something about that just doesn't make sense to me. We were FLYING through the storm without much problem but the ground personnel couldn't WALK out onto the runway for a few minutes! Oh well... Looking forward to a decent night's sleep. More news from the west coast next week.
 

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Transmitting From Paris, France... We arrived here yesterday after a 7 1/2 hr. bus ride. Our hotel is right above the hall we're playing (Le Palais de Congres). My room, functional more than fancy, has a beautiful view of the city as well as the Eiffel Tower & the Arc de Triomphe. Not a bad way to end the trip. Yesterday I had 3 meals in 3 different countries. Breakfast in Amsterdam, Lunch in Belgium (at a highway rest area) & dinner in Paris. Kinda cool. The only other thing worthy of note thus far is that, at the rest area, walking all over the place outdoors, were a group of chickens & hens! We were eating outside & one of the guys had some chicken for lunch. At one point someone said, "I wonder if chickens would eat chicken." Well, after throwing them a bunch of scraps, we found out that they do! If there's any more news of note before we leave for home on Sun. I'll write again, otherwise, till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Paris, France... Giving thanks to Michael Jackson: A man who helped define pop/r&b music for at least 2 generations, a phenomenal talent of great depth & soul. Despite whatever troubles he might've had, a true music & entertainment icon. Although I don't follow tons of modern day pop & r&b on any kind of regular basis, so much of what I did hear, from the music to the dance moves, reminded me of recycled Michael Jackson. He was the James Brown of his generation. He set the bar in his field & hasn't been eclipsed yet. Here's to you, Michael & thanks again for the music.
 

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Transmitting From Amsterdam, The Netherlands... I love this place! We arrived here yesterday after almost 10 hours on the bus. It's the 1st city on this tour that caused a little smile to cross my face as we drove into town. Our hotel is centrally located in the extreme, also a 1st for this trip, which makes getting around a breeze. My bathroom here is a little odd in that the toilet is located in its own little room separate from the rest of the facilities. It's a VERY small space. I'm getting by without any problem but if the room were just a couple of inches smaller, it would be an issue. We partook of some of the cities' nightlife after our arrival & have a show tonight. The tour is slowly winding down & we venture on to our last stop, Paris, tomorrow. More from there...
 

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Transmitting From Berlin, Germany... We just arrived here after a 7 1/2 hr. bus ride. The shows in Bielefeld & Dusseldorf went well. The hall in Dusseldorf was quite unique & beautiful. It's called Tonhalle & used to be a planetarium. The lobby featured a series of oddly shaped paintings that Hitler supposedly banned for being inappropriate. Hard to see why by looking at them. The concert hall featured an extremely high domed ceiling that must've been perfect for planetarium shows. The pace is picking up as we have a show here tomorrow & then off to Amsterdam on Tues. Another bright spot is that the remaining cities each have their own special style of cool which, as a native New Yorker, makes it feel that much more like home. More coming from Amsterdam...
 

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Transmitting From Dusseldorf, Germany... We arrived here tonight after a 9 1/2 hr. bus ride that was listed in the tour book as being 6. Oh well, the bus is really nice so it wasn't really too bad. We're parked in this hotel (a nice one) for the next 5 nights. We're off tomorrow (I know, it's rough out here) & then have a 4 hr. roundtrip on Thurs. for a show in what I assume is a smaller town named Bielefeld. The only other news of note is that I had a small computer problem that I was able to fix with a paper clip. I won't bore you with the details. OK, it's starting to get late & I will, once again, make an attempt at a normal night's sleep. Goodnite.
 

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Transmitting From Munich, Germany... Our show in Frankfurt went well & we arrived here yesterday where we have a show tonight. Had a nice Thai meal last night but not much else of note to report. Our hotel is one those off the proverbial beaten path of activity so, with a day off tomorrow, we'll have to do a bit of local travel navigation to find our way to anything of interest. The weather forecast predicts rain so it might just be a day to hang in & catch up on my gym routine as well as some reading. A lazy day. We'll see. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Frankfurt, Germany... Greetings!! It's been awhile!! We just arrived here this morning for the start of a 2 1/2 week tour, mostly in Germany with the last stops being Amsterdam & Paris. Today is some kind of holiday so almost all of the stores were closed. We had to walk a ways to find a town square where there were some options as far as places to eat. The weather is a bit chillier than NY but still spring-like. The flight was uneventful but, thankfully, I was able to grab some sleep which is not usually the case with me. It's now around 10:20PM & my last real goal for the day is to try & stay awake until a more normal time to sleep comes around. Tomorrow is a gig day followed by travel on Sat. to Munich. We're very lucky in that the bus that we'll be doing all of our local travelling in is really nice. We're not on a plane again until the flight home. Also, we'll be re-united with our European crew from the last couple of tours who are excellent. A good crew makes things so much more pleasant as everything flows that much more effortlessly. Over the past few weeks at home I've worked on some music for a possible children's TV project, rehearsed playing drums with a guitar power trio (in the jazz-blues-rock-funk zone) that will have its 1st gig in NYC at the end of July & have been practicing the solo piano pieces I've chosen for the next CD as well as doing some writing for that project. As I always do, I'll try to give updates from each city so, stay tuned. PS- There's a new photo at the top of the photo page that's pretty freaky! Check it out! PPS- Oh yeah, the show we did on Broadway last Dec. won a Tony award last weekend. Congrats to us!
 

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Transmitting From Norfolk, VA... I was just about ready to call it a night when I realized that here I am on the road (if only for a day) & hadn't posted an update. (I try to write from every city). Well, we flew into Norfolk this morning, soundchecked this afternoon & did a show tonight. It's now about 1:40AM & I have a 6AM wake-up call to get ready for the flight home. And there you have it. Not much else to say. This might be the last update for awhile as we're coming into a bit of a slow period as far as travel. I'll be spending time at home practicing pieces for the next CD & hopefully writing some new ones as well. We're doing a private show in NYC next week & word has it that Elton John will be singing a tune or 2 with us. If there's anything to report from there, you'll hear it here. Otherwise, we'll be back on the road in June for a European tour where I'll be keeping you informed of anything noteworthy. Also, I've recently become a fan of Twitter where I've been posting Tweets of varying degrees of coherence. I find it a kinda fun mental excercise to write a short sentence every now & then that involves some creative energy. If you're a Twitter-er, follow me if you like. There's a link to my page there on the Links page here. Enjoy your Spring!
 

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Transmitting From Vancouver, B.C... Lo & behold, there's more to report! Yesterday, when we visited with master drum builder Ron Dunnett, we were able to see him pretty much build a snare drum from scratch in a little under an hour's time! It was quite amazing to watch. All he had was a circular piece of titanium on his work bench &, while he entertained us with stories of his travels, he slowly did a bunch of drilling, fastening screws, attaching a snare drum strainer & putting 2 drum heads on &...Voila!...a beautiful drum was born! It was quite something! Our percussionist Dave Nyberg is the proud owner of the newly hatched drum, which is named after his wife, by the way. A very cool experience! I'd also like to recommend to anyone traveling to these parts to check out a great Japanese restaurant named Guu (exact pronunciation unkown) which is located in the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, B.C. We had dinner there last night & it was some of the best sushi I've had in ages. Well worth the trip if you find yourself in the area. And now, on to the show tonight & the flight home tomorrow.
 

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Transmitting From Vancouver, B.C... It's 6:30AM here on the west coast of Canada. I'm writing so early being the product of jet lag. Once again, there's not much of interest to say so, my apologies. I can tell you that I had a great meal last night in one of the restaurants in the hotel. Really excellent Italian food. We're in a casino & our show is tomorrow. It's rare to rave about any food in a casino but last night's meal was a very pleasant exception. A few of us will be visiting with master drum craftsman Ron Dunnett today. He built a beautiful snare drum for me a couple of years ago & it'll be fun to see his latest creations. There's a photo from my 1st visit with him on the photo page if you're interested. I suppose I could tell you that I'm very pleased with my hotel room. Once again, I don't equate casinos with especially nice rooms so this was a very pleasant surpise. And there you have it. Sorry this isn't more exciting but road life certainly doesn't guarantee thrills at every turn. If anything special occurrs, I'll surely give you a report otherwise, till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Toronto, Ontario... A quick note from a quick gig. Just arrived here &...boom!...it's winter again! Snow on the ground & a bit windy with temps in the 20s & 30s. A long cry from summery South America. Was it only 10 days or so since we were there? Oh well...We're just here for a day before moving on to Vancouver where it looks like the temperatures will be a bit more moderate. I certainly hope something exciting happens because I just realized that I'm sitting here writing about the weather! Boring!! Hopefully there'll be more interesting stuff soon.
 

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Transmitting From Cordoba, Argentina... Well, here we are at the last stop on this tour. All in all, even though it seemed gruelling while looking at the itinerary before we left, because of the great work of the local crews, it's been pretty much of a breeze logistically. The highlight I'd have to say would have been our day off in Rio which I'll describe a bit here: I surely heard some of the best Brazilian music of my life in a very small club in the middle of a section called Lapa, which appears to be the area with the most to offer as far as music, nightlife, etc. As cool as the arera was, it did have a little bit of a seamy side to it with a lot of what looked to be homeless people hanging outside. When the cab driver dropped us off, he told us to watch our things (wallets, watches, rings, etc.). It didn't look like an area where it'd be easy to find a cab late at night. Luckily, when we finally left, there was a cab right there waiting for a fare.....problem solved. To add to the adventure, I was also told to try to avoid Copacabana beach as there was some violence going on between 2 rival drug lords & the police. Many stray bullets had been reported. Luckily, we only drove through Copacabana & didn't spend any time there. The other highlight was going up to the Cristo Redentor statue at Corcovado (the famous huge statue of Jesus that overlooks Rio). We were able to hire a driver at an hourly rate who added a drive through the rain forest on our way there. It was really something. I should be better about taking photos on these trips. Luckily a couple of the other guys said that they would send me theirs so, hopefully, I'll have some visuals to back up the narrative here. I did, however, take the promised photo of the view from my hotel room in Rio which is now on the photo page. And there you have it. Don't know if I'll write any more from this trip. If not, there'll be more in not too long. Happy Spring from South America where it's Happy Summer!
 

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Transmitting From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil... What a beautiful place this is!! We arrived here today & are staying on a more remote beach than last time. I have an absolutely gorgeous view out of my hotel window which I'll capture & post before we leave. Not much to do within walking distance, it seems. We'll see what our day off tomorrow brings as far as exploring. Also, there are now a couple of shots on the photo page from the Iron Maiden concert the other night for your viewing pleasure. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Brasilia, Brazil... Well, last night I was Maiden-ized. I was able to catch the Iron Maiden show here & it was really something. It was in a 20,000 seat soccer stadium & our Brazilian tour manager managed to swing a couple of comped VIP tickets. Sweet! Even though I'm not any kind of a metal-head, I actually enjoyed the show. They were extremely tight & all played their instruments very well. Of course, there was also a lot of pyro-technics to add to the fun. In a nutshell, it was as though Spinal Tap came to life in front of our eyes only these guys were real. They mentioned Liza a few times during the show as they knew she was sharing the same hotel. The funniest reference was when the lead singer spotted a fight in the crowd & said, "Hey guys, stop fighting! This is an Iron Maiden show. Save that for the Liza Minnelli show tomorrow!" All in all, a very fun night & way more enjoyable than I'd ever imagined it would be. I ran into a couple of the guys in the band at breakfast this morning & we had a chuckle over their Liza references. Can't say I'm a fan of the music but I give them much respect & admiration for keeping their vision going for over 30 years.
 

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Transmitting From Brasilia, Brazil... A city so nice they named it twice...well kinda. This is the capital of Brazil, a fact I found out on the ride in from the airport. Having just arrived it's hard to tell what's going on here, really. Some sections of the town we passed on the way in reminded me of ceratin parts of Florida, actually. (Sarasota, maybe?). One thing I can say for sure is that heavy metal monsters Iron Maiden are performing here tonight and are staying at our hotel. We saw their private plane parked at the airport (a full-sized jet, no little boutique job, I might add). There's a chance we may catch their show as our tour managers will also be working parts of their tour after we leave. I'm no metal head, really, but am very willing to experience almost anything once, especially musically. We'll see.
 

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Transmitting From Sao Paulo, Brazil... First I must say that, if any of you ever travel to Brazil & are looking for a decent hotel, I'd recommend the Blue Tree Towers. This is our 2nd consecutive Blue Tree & both are clean, modern & well maintained. Both of my rooms have had a slightly boutique-y feel which I enjoy. It's not the grand, royal 10-star luxury route, but extremely pleasant. OK, enough of my hotel commercial. Last night's show in Porto Alegre was a more low key affair than our 6,000 seat extravaganza in Buenos Aires. Still, all went well. I did see Liza on the front page of the local paper this morning so I assume there was good news to report. Too bad I don't read Portuguese otherwise I could go into more detail. Today being a travel day means there's no show tonight so it looks like Brazilian beef will be calling my name in a few hours. (There's a lot of beef eating in S. America...a LOT!!). And there you have the latest. There'll be more coming soon.
 

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Transmitting From Porto Alegre, Brazil... My nicest hotel room thus far! On a higher floor as well giving me a nice view. I've never been to Porto Alegre & don't know how much of it I'll see in the 2 days we're here as this hotel, as was the one in Uruguay, is located in the middle of a residential area. Not much within walking distance from what I can tell. We'll see how things develop. Last night we played to around 6,000 fans in Buenos Aires who just loved Liza to death. It was a good show & it's always great to have an extra enthusiastic crowd. We'll be in Brazil for a little over a week, playing 4 cities. I'll surely keep my eyes & ears open for any excitement to report.
 

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Transmitting from Buenos Aires, Argentina... Here we are in the land of the tango. Last night we were treated to a very nice dinner & then were taken to something resembling a VFW hall where the locals go to tango their hearts away. It was quite a sight. When we were here a couple of years ago, we saw a very professional tango show featuring many masters of the art. Last night seemed to be the complete opposite but definitely had its own charm in its simplicity. Rumor has it that the actor Robert Duvall, who's supposed to be quite a tango lover, frequents this place. Not something you see everyday, that's for sure. We have a show here tonight & then on to Brazil tomorrow. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Punta del Este, Uruguay... Sitting here in the hotel lobby after about 22 hours door-to-door for the start of this 2+ week tour of South America. There's no internet in the room but, here in the lobby, it works fine. Go figure... We were in Punta, at the same hotel, about 2 years ago. It's a nice little resort town. I do remember the location of the hotel kind of prohibits any serious exploring as it's located smack dab in the middle of what appears to be an upper middle class neighborhood. I seem to remember that, on the last trip, we were able to find someone with a car to give us a mini-tour. As this tour will be more in the "hit & split" zone, there probably won't be as much time to venture around. We'll see. We'll be in 7 cities over the next 2 weeks so there should be more to report soon.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just added a fun photo at the bottom of the photo page giving you a small glimpse of life in NYC. Check it out!
 

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Transmitting From Key Largo, FL... Didn't think I'd post another update so soon, did you? Ok, so after a 3+ hour bus ride, we arrived at this exclusive gated community a few hours ago. Don't get me wrong, it's very nice, but it's just filled with things that don't really interest me. Cases in point: -There's tons of golf courses (not into golf) -There are many harbor areas with boats of all sizes & shapes galore (not into boating) -Lots of opportunities to fish (not into fishing) -Men must wear collared shirts in all eating facilities (not into collared shirts, didn't have one & had to go out & buy one) -There are some private beach areas (not really a water guy in general) You get the idea. As I said, it's very pretty, very well maintained &, for some, I'm sure it'd get close to a definition of heaven on earth. Not me, though. I'm way happier trudging through the wintry streets of NYC on my way to see a new film or hear some music. Still, I'm a lucky guy. There are way harder ways to make a living than having to endure this for a day or 2. More news to come in March...
 

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Transmitting From Naples, FL... We arrived here on Monday, did a show last night & are headed for Key Largo, Fla. in about 1/2 hr. I must admit that it's nice to be in some summery weather, even if it's only for a few days. It's nice to re-connect with all of my fellow road warrior friends after a few weeks off. Bittersweet, though, as we're also exchanging stories & memories of our fallen comrade Gerry Niewood. It was a bit funny doing the small bit of wiring that's needed to complete my keyboard setup. As I can't duplicate the exact setup at home, I had to rely on my memory to get it all done &, lo & behold, my 1st couple of attempts left a bit to be desired. Luckily, being the slight tech head that I am, I was able to logically solve the problem & everything worked fine after a few minutes. Nothing much more of note to report but, it anything changes, I'll let you know.
 

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Transmitting From NYC.... It's with extreme sadness & disbelief that I report the passing of the great reed player Gerry Niewood who died in the plane crash that occured near Buffalo, NY last night. We were road warriors together on the Liza gig over the past few years. His musicianship & consistency (especially as a jazz soloist) were always amazing. I feel so fortunate to have been able to share some moments with him, both on & off stage. I extend my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to his family.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Greetings! It's been awhile. The last month or so has been a bit on the quiet side. The major highlight would have to be the 1st recording session for the next CD which occurred at the end of Jan. It was a small band setting & we worked on 4 tunes. When I started thinking about this project I was convinced that I wanted to move on from solo piano into something more. Although there was a lot of worthwhile stuff recorded that day, when returning to the proverbial drawing board & looking at what music I had to work with, my instincts seem to be pulling me back into the solo zone. As a result, the next chapters in the recording process will almost surely be a session or 2 of solo piano music. The process of giving birth to this next CD will continue to be an adventure & I greatly look forward to seeing where the music takes me. Another highlight of Jan. was spending a day in the studio with my old buddy Lee Musiker (musical director for Tony Bennett) playing drums on a new CD for singer Ashley Brown (who recently starred as Mary Poppins on Broadway). Lee is truly one of the unsung greats & his playing always inspires. I head back out on the road with Liza in a couple of weeks. These will be the 1st shows since the run at the Palace & it'll be fun to see everyone again. As always, if there's any news of note, I'll faithfully report here.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Happy New Year! It's been a really nice 5 weeks doing the Palace on Broadway. The audiences were great, the band sounded great, Liza sounded great & the reviews were great. Now, it's really nice to have a bit of a break. There are all sorts of gig rumors floating around but, as of yet, nothing's been confirmed. In the meantime, I'll be gearing up for the 1st recording session for my new CD project at the end of the month. This one looks to be a combination of some band material along with some solo piano pieces. So, to all who read these entries: Have a great 2009! More news from all fronts as things develop.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Last night was the opening of a month-long run we're doing at the Palace Theatre here. I must say that it's really nice to just head home & not to have to wait for everyone to finish packing up & make their way to the bus to the hotel. I thought the show went really well with Liza being in amazing form. From the few reviews I've read so far, it seems as though there's some agreement there. Liza's really an amazing performer....worth every penny for any aspiring singer or actor. There's much to learn from someone with such a depth of experience from so many angles. Her energy, dedication & stamina are second to none. I usually find things to report on that are more surrounding the show than the show itself but, here, I must give major props to our boss. She's really something! OK...here's a little additional story coming more from my usual place of behind-the-scenes reporting: On Tuesday, after our dress rehearsal, I made my way down to the band dressing room (more of a locker room, really) to change & who should come walking out of the bathroom but Joe Pesci! It was fun to say hi & shake his hand. Luckily I was fully clothed! It's a very busy month for me including some free-lance studio things as well as being in charge of moving my 85 year-old mom from upstate NY to NYC. Almost all of my days off are filled! It'll be nice to relax a bit at the end of Dec. Coming in Jan: The start of recording for my 2nd CD. There'll definitely be much more news about that in 2009.
 

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Transmitting From Woonsocket, RI... One more cool thing from this trip to report. Last night, after our soundcheck, (thanks to Chuck Wilson, one of our woodwind players), we were able to run out to the parking lot behind the theatre to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station streaking across the sky. Very cool! Chuck is a space/astronomy buff & mentioned that, if the night was clear, we'd be able to see it at around 5:30PM. Well, it was & we did! It appeared as a brightly lit, but moving, star...about the size of Venus in the night sky. I've always been a fan of NASA, the space program & astronomy in general, although not to Chuck's level. I will tell you that my name is on Mars. Maybe someday I'll go into the details of that but, I assure you, it's true! And now, 1 more show & home to NYC....YES!!
 

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Transmitting From Woonsocket, R.I... My head's spinning! Just arrived back from Europe this past Sat., dove into a 6 hr. session in the studio on Sun., had yesterday off for a slight breather & just arrived here a little while ago for a series of 4 shows beginning tomorrow. The shows here will act as a kind of warm-up for the Broadway run that starts on Dec. 3. The studio session was for a CD that will be sold at those shows, produced by the legendary Phil Ramone. Though I'm not one to carry around a camera most of the time, looking back, I wish I could've taken a shot at my studio set-up. It pretty much consisted of 2 complete laptop-driven sets of string sounds....one that was used & one as a backup. I also had a very able assistant, Adam Schneider, co-piloting the entire rig. With both of the computers, all of the wiring & the keyboards themselves, it was definitely in the spaceship zone. Many thanks to Dave Rosenthal of Billy Joel's band for creating both the studio & road setups for me. Couldn't have done it without him. The town here seems to be fairly far from any beaten path so I can't say that there'll be any news of note to report. Still, check back from time-to-time....you never know.
 

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Transmitting From Milan, Italy... A day off following a show last night in the town of Torino which was around a 2 hr. drive from here. As soon as we arrived we went quickly to soundcheck, followed by dinner & then the show. Afterwards, right back on the bus for the ride back. Too bad as Torino looked like a beautiful little town. Today's highlight, thus far, was taking in the museum at the famous opera house La Scala. Some amazing stuff: A plaster-cast of Chopin's hand, a few locks of Mozart's hair, the death mask of Verdi & a piano that belonged to Liszt among other things. I was also able to peak into the hall itself which is beautiful & very well maintained. Tomorrow we're off to Campione (which is actually in Switzerland, I just found out) & then the final show here on Friday. As I always do, after about the 2-week point on any tour, I look forward to returning home more & more. Into week #3 out here & NYC is pulling me back once again. Soon...
 

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Transmitting From Milan, Italy... Wow, what a beautiful city!! Thought I'd been here before during the Gloria Gaynor tour in the '70s but now I'm not so sure. If we passed through back then, we surely weren't in such a prime location. The amazing church known as the Duomo is practically in our backyard as well the the indoor/open-air shopping area known as the Galleria. Truly sights to behold! We're now parked here for the remainder of the tour & will drive to the remaining cities. Today's a day off & I plan to do some walking. Milan looks like a great walking town which suits me just fine. No other major news to report except to shout out a big Happy Birthday to my buddy Frank Perowsky, one of our senior band members. His talent & youthful spirit are an inspiration to us all. Here's to you, Frank!!
 

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Transmitting From Bari, Italy... We arrived here yesterday evening after a 10-hour bus ride. Our hotel is located in the middle of nowhere, sorry to say. It's gonna be challenging to find a way to pass this day off with nothing within walking distance & no real clues as to where else to explore. This is supposed to be a quaint ocean-side town but we may never see it, although we were riding parallel to the Adriatic Sea for a fair portion of the trip yesterday. Sorry that there isn't anything more interesting to report. Show tomorrow, then on to Milan on Saturday. We'll be parked at the Milan hotel for the rest of the tour & taking day trips to the remaining cities. Hope the hotel's a nice one as we'll be there for about a week. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Transmitting From Bologna, Italy... Remember those awnings I spoke about last time? Well, I just found out that they total an amazing 73 km over the entire city!! (By the way, the proper name for them is porticos). You'll never get wet while shopping in Bologna! I'm here in my room waiting to go to soundcheck. Finding ways to pass the down time on the road can be a challenge. Especially on a rainy day like today with a few hours to kill. When in my room, I usually do some web surfing or read with TV watching coming in a distant 3rd. Overseas, for the most part, TV is very limited &, for some reason, the reception in this hotel, or at least in my room, sucks. Not that I'm too bummed about not being able to watch CNN, which is the old standby for Americans as far as TV overseas. At least I can blog here & tell you of my plight...hey, it passes the time, right? Tomorrow we have a 6-8 hr. bus ride to Bari. Sound like fun? Who knows, maybe there'll be some stories to tell. We'll see...
 

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Transmitting From Bologna, Italy... A city very interesting in its layout. Different than most European cities I've been in. We're right in the middle of town near a huge common area...like a town square. The architecture is typically old European but coupled with tons of modern shops embedded in all of the buildings. The main drag that features this (& where our hotel is) goes on forever. There are awnings that span the outsides of almost all of the buildings which basically means you could walk & shop for what seems like miles without any worry of being exposed to rain, sleet or snow. Today is an off day where I took advantage of the seemingly endless walking streets (closed to all traffic) both large & small. I love walking in cities both known & new, one of the many reasons I love living in NYC. Our show here is tomorrow before we move on. Oh, and one more thing....Go Barack! Keeping my fingers crossed about our elections tomorrow....the 1st one where I'll be on foreign soil to hear the results.
 

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Transmitting From Florence, Italy... Easily one of Europe's most beautiful cities. We did a lot of walking yesterday including a trip to see Michelangelo's David at the Gallerie d'Accademie...stunning! There's a show here today before departing for Bologna tomorrow. Before that, though, a quick trip to the Uffizi Gallery, probably the most famous in the city. I must say how proud I am of my wife for doing a morning run before breakfast. I tend to get lazy on the road when it comes to working out but will try to hit it at least once or twice. When back home, though, my regimen is fairly religious & has been going on for over 22 years so I do have dedication going for me. Speak to you soon...
 

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Transmitting From Rome, Italy... Greetings, it's been awhile. Here we are in Rome where we arrived 2 days ago & are about to depart in about an hour. I probably would've updated sooner except for the fact that my beautiful wife is accompanying me on the 1st week of this 3 week tour. It's been raining here quite a bit which limited our sightseeing opportunites. Still, yesterday, we made the best of it. Today we move on to Florence & a full day off tomorrow. If the weather cooperates, we might stand a better chance of seeing the sights. The show last night went well, by the way...and, oh, we're gonna be on Broadway in Dec. for a couple of weeks. Yay! What Wayne Shorter once described to me as "that stay-at-home work." More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Well, the Chabad Telethon went very smoothly. Chabad is quite an organization & the help they provide to people dealing with the problems of addiction & homelessness is quite remarkable. The show this year also brought the star power up a notch or two. Actors Mimi Rodgers, Martin Landau, Tom Arnold, Jobeth Williams & Kathryn Manheim gave their time to support the cause. This, in addition to Jon Voight, who's been a friend of the orginization for many years. When I said hi to Jon, he said, "Hi kid, great to see ya." I felt as if I was in a scene in an old Hollywood film. Don't think I've mentioned this before but, through a series of strange coincidneces that began almost 27 years ago in an off-Broadway show, I've played on over 200 albums of Jewish music. I've made many good friends & have had a lot of fun times in that world & continue to enjoy my experiences there. Following up what I hinted at in my last entry, I just became associated with a music licensing comapny called Wacbiz who, hopefully, will be helping me place the pieces from my Sanctuaries CD into markets such as Film, TV & Radio. They have a great roster of artists, including names like Duncan Sheik, Joe Jackson & Sinead O'Connor, so I'm proud to be on-board. You can get to my page there on the Links page here. And I think that'll do it for now. Enjoy these last few days of summer. I'll be reporting back with news from the road &, who knows, maybe news from home too.
 

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Transmitting From Los Angeles, CA... Sitting in my room (pardon me, my suite) at the Radisson near LAX. It's nice to get a suite every once in a long while. This one has a living room just as big, if not bigger, than the one in my NYC apartment! I wasn't marked for one originally. I was told I'd have a room with 2 double beds at check-in. Not cool....not for a 4-night stay. I asked for one with a king-sized bed (my usual preference) and...presto...was given the bed, and the suite...no questions asked. Nice. I'm here for the 4th consecutive year to play drums in the house band for the Chabad Telethon, a Jewish orginization doing great things for people in need from many different directions. We rehearsed throughout the day today. It was fun to see actor Keith David (in many great films....my favorite being John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" from the 1980s) dancing in the opening sequence, a take-off on "Fiddler On The Roof." Hope to get the chance to meet Elliot Gould this year, who I missed last year due to my commitments on-stage. There'll be a nice long break from life on the road after this trip, if things remain as is. I'll be continuing on with my band project at home, inching slowly but steadily towards entering the studio to record some things soon. I really hope to have something to release next year. Also, a possible new outlet to get my music heard through more commercial channels such as film & TV. More on that soon if it happens. If nothing else, I'll be sending out news from the Liza Italy tour beginning in late October. Happy Autumn & speak to you soon.
 

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Transmitting From Louisville, KY... Greetings...it's been awhile. Firstly, our 2 week drive up the west coast was phenomenal! Starting in Los Angeles in the midst of summery weather & gradually making our way up through Big Sur, San Francisco, Portland & finally ending in Seattle with a touch of fall in the air. Over 1,000 miles of driving courtesy of yours truly. Seeing everything from near desert conditions, amazing ocean views & finally those amazing northwest redwood trees in the process. We covered a lot of ground! The last time I was part of a drive that long was touring with Gloria Gaynor in the mid '70s when the entire band drove cross-country in a van, from NYC to San Francisco. Both now & then, I had a ball. We arrived home in the wee hours of last Thurs. morning & now I'm back on the road for 2 days here, a day & a half back home & then one more trip west to L.A. for 4 days on Thurs. to play drums on the Chabad Telethon which will be broadcast this coming Sunday from 4-10PM, PST. That'll make 3 cross-country round trips in less than a month. It'll be nice to be home for a bit starting next week. I do try to post an update from just about every city so....next stop, L.A!
 

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Transmitting From Primm, NV... Ever hear of Primm? Me neither. It's a little town in the middle of the desert with 3 casinos about 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas towards the California border. Why anyone would chose to come here with Vegas being so close is beyond me. I asked this question last night & found out that, lo & behold, everything is cheaper here. I'm told the room rates average around $71 a night. Not the Ritz but much cheaper than Vegas for sure. There's a giant roller coaster on the grounds of our hotel. Yes, on the grounds! My room looks out on it! (See the Photo Page). It routinely runs until midnight. The noise is not quite as bad as I would've thought being so close, though. Just sounds like, every so often, a huge truck is passing by. Maybe they did a little extra soundproofing to compensate. Sorry to say that, at least thus far, the roller coaster is the biggest news I have to report on this trip. We head home tomorrow & then I head back out to the west coast with my family for a 2 week drive up the pacific coast highway from Los Angeles to Seattle. It's a trip I've always wanted to make. Can't wait! Not sure if I'll update anything from the vacation as, hard as it is to believe, I'll be leaving my laptop at home (although I'll have access to my wife's). More likely that I'll be back next month with news from the road. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From San Sebastian, Spain... Well, we made it! It was quite a ride, though. Playing the last note of the show in Wolfsburg at around 10PM...rushing from the stage to a van which sped us to a local airport in a town called Brownsweig (I think) about 30 minutes away...onto our private plane...then taking off at about 11:30PM...having to stop to refuel in Bordeaux, France at around 1:30AM...and finally touching down in Spain a little after 3AM. (That's 3 countries in 3 hours, if you weren't counting). We didn't land in San Sebastian, though. I believe the town is called Victoria, about an hour's drive from San Sebastian. Bottom line, my head hit the pillow in my room at around 5AM. It's now around 12:45PM & I'm just getting up. I'll begin the search for a cup of coffee momentarily. When I 1st opened my eyes, I literally had a thought along the lines of "Where the (expletive deleted) am I?" Last show tonight...home tomorrow....yay!!
 

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Transmitting From Wolfsburg, Germany... Yesterday was a day off, the highlight of which was seeing Herbie Hancock's show. I also said hi to him in the hotel lobby & reminded him of how we played together many years ago....& he remembered! Made my day! His opening act was Solomon Burke, a great R&B singer. Very churchy vibe. He's a big man, was dressed in a silver suit (it looked like tin foil) & sits on a huge throne for his entire show. He travels in a wheel chair so he obviously has some health issues. Great singer, though. We have a very busy weekend coming up. Leaving directly from the stage (not the hotel, the stage) after the show tonight to a small local airport to take a private plane to Spain for the show there tomorrow. If we don't take off by 11PM, the permit to take off will have expired so we have to really run. There's also a permit in Spain about our landing time having to be before a certain hour so there'll be some real James Bond maneuvering to pull it off. I'll try to drop a quick note from Spain with any interesting details.
 

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Transmitting From Wolfsburg, Germany... Last night we played in the town of Regensburg, in the courtyard of an amazing castle owned & lived in by the local royalty. I heard the titles Prince & Princess tossed around & that they were at the show, but didn't knowingly get a glimpse of them. Our dressing rooms were inside the castle & the entire vibe was right out of an old horror movie with beautifully ornate winding staircases, flags lining the hallways, old portraits of former residents everywhere, etc. Beautiful yet creepy as darkness fell. We just arrived in Wolfsburg, the home of Volkswagen. We're staying in an area called the Autostadt which seems to be a huge industrial park that houses many auto plants along with dining areas & at least 1 museum. It's all very high tech but weird in a way in that, with all of the modernity, I'm still looking out of my window at an auto factory. (By the way, did you know that some of the car brands manufactured under the Volkswagen "group" include Bentley, Audi & Lamborghini?...I didn't!) Our show here isn't until Saturday night so, hopefully, I'll have more to report soon.
 

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Transmitting From Munich, Germany.. Our show on Sunday was held in the town of Yulm which is the home of the largest church steeple in the world. The outdoor stage was set up right next to the church. The weather here has been fall-like over the past 2 days. A big change from the heat wave I left in NYC last week. Good thing I packed a light jacket. Yesterday we had dinner at the Hofbrau House which is one of the biggest beer gardens in the world. I've added a photo of me resting on top of the 1-liter mug I'd just downed. Today's sightseeing highlight was checking out the Pinakothek Der Moderne, Munich's answer to the Museum Of Modern Art in NYC. It was phenomenal! Tomorrow we head out to a show in Regensburg before heading to Wolfsburg on Thursday for the final show in Germany. Word is that Herbie Hancock will be performing there the night before we do so, hopefully, we'll be able to catch some, if not all, of that. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Transmitting From Munich, Germany... We arrived yesterday & are here for a series of 4 shows (none of which are in Munich, by the way). We're being based in Munich for the 1st 2 & driving to the cities as opposed to switching hotels, much like we did in Birmingham for part of the UK tour a couple of months ago. The drives are longer but, ultimately, it's less stressful as we can stay in one hotel for a few days & settle in a bit. We shared the plane over with the band Arrested Development, remember them? They had a couple of hits in the '90s that I kind of liked. (I think one was called "Tennessee"). I found out that they wound up suing the TV show of the same name & won! They're still hitting it after 18 years. Who knew? One of our reed players, Frank Perowsky, has a son named Ben who's a phenomenal drummer. He was playing down the road yesterday with the great jazz vocalist, Bobby McFerrin & the Hamburg Radio Orchestra. We were able to attend the soundcheck which was very cool. The orchestra is funded by the government. Can you imagine a jazz orchestra in the US, where you're actually paid a yearly salary by the government? I can't. Europeans put way more emphasis on the importance of the arts & it's an amazing thing. I'd never seen Bobby live & was very impressed. Gotta catch him the next time he comes through town back home. After our show today, we have a couple of days off so it'll be nice to be able to explore the town a bit. Luckily, our hotel is very centrally located which will make that easy. By the way, we arrived right in the middle of the festivities celebrating Munich's 850th birthday. There's a ton of performers (both stage & street) & food vendors all around. Thousands of people in the streets, which are mostly closed to traffic. I'm hoping it'll be a little less crazed after the weekend. I'll be reporting any other news of note from this trip if it occurs. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A couple of tributes: First to George Carlin: A comedic genius, a man who'd I'd always do whatever I could to watch on the tube, especially his HBO specials. I'd always say to myself: "Gotta catch Carlin live, the next time he's in town." Sorry to say, it never happened. His amazing skills at wordplay were unsurpassed. As a lover of words & the games one can play with them, I was always in awe of his abilities. A true original. Secondly, to Tim Russert: His appearences on the Today show were a fixture in our home. Even my daughter was a fan. His political insights & commentary always seemed to cut to the chase, putting a period on the overall climate of the American people at any given time. He never wasted words, no matter what the sentiment. Believe it or not, I really dug him! (I'm no stranger to being a fan of certain newscasters. In the '70s, when ABC local news anchor Roger Grimsby died, I wrote a letter of tribute that was published in the Village Voice). Here's to George & Tim! They will be sorely missed. I've been spending most of the last week or so in Fenwick Island, Delaware where my daughter is performing in an original play this week. My wife & I are tag-teaming the stage parent duties. I'll be heading back down there tomorrow. When I get back & settled, I'll be setting up the new electronic drumset that I received for Father's Day. They're very cool! Small, good sounds, great sensitivity, perfect for a NYC apartment home studio! More news to come in July. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From Glasgow, Scotland... It's a rainy night in Glasgow. We arrived late this afternoon & it promptly began to pour prohibiting any exploration of the city. (I'm not one who enjoys "Singing In The Rain" if you know what I mean). We have a very limited amount of time here &, tomorrow, my mission is to find a jewelry store that can replace the battery on my watch which is running extremely low. Our hotel room in Birmingham, nice as it was, had no clock in the room so my watch kept me current. Thankfully it lasted to this point &, here, there is a clock so, as long as I'm in my room, I'll know what time it is. Unfortunately, having to do a show tomorrow will prohibit that access hence my search for a jeweler. All throughout my adult life, the only constant jewelry I've ever worn is a wrist-watch so I'll feel quite naked without it. Hope I can find that jeweler! Not the most exciting news, I know, but, on a rainy night like this, it's the best I can come up with. Hopefully, in the coming weeks & months there'll be more interesting tales to tell.
 

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Transmitting From Birmingham, England... Witnessing a small slice of music history is always special beyond words. Seeing Paul McCartney perform in Liverpool last night was such an event for me. He sounded great, looked great & the show was one I'll never forget. Seeing the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 was my entry point into rock n' roll...a life changing experience for me & millions of others. It made last night especially sweet. Again, words are hard to find here but, suffuce to say, it was surely one of the highlights of my concert-going experience. There's a snapshot on the photo page to give you a little taste of the evening. Now, back to work! We travel today to Manchester for a show. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tour & am slowly getting very excited about returning to NYC. (Although, I must say, I'll miss my Birmingham hotel room just a drop, it's an especially good one!).
 

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Transmitting From Birmingham, England... We've been here for a couple of days & are using this city as a base from which to drive to the remaining ones on the tour. It makes the drives to & from the gigs a bit longer but saves a lot of packing & unpacking which we'd have to do if we were to move to new hotels in each town. Last night we did a show in Notingham which seemed to be a very cool place. Kind of a college town vibe. On Monday, we'll drive to Manchester for a show there & then, on Wed. there's one here. After that we'll fly to Scotland for the last show in Glasgow. On my last night in London I went to the world famous Ronnie Scott's jazz club to hear some great musicians. For anyone reading this who hasn't heard of Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, George Cables or Cecil McBee, doing a search on Google or Amazon & checking out any of their CDs would be a very worthwhile investment. They're all jazz musicians of the highest order & have been dealing great music for decades. Tomorrow is a day off & should be a special thrill as we've been able to get tickets to see Paul McCartney's show in Liverpool. I'm a huge Beatles fan & have never actually seen any live show by any of them so I'm especially excited...especially seeing him in his home town. (I have had, however, 2 Beatles sightings....once seeing John Lennon buying a newspaper in NYC & then having Ringo pull up next to me in his car at a stoplight in Los Angeles). I'll surely update with news, especially of the McCartney show, soon.
 

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Transmitting From London, England... Well, after a frantic day of international diplomacy that, from what I've heard, may or may not have included Paul McCartney's lawyer & the U.S. ambassador, we're now in the UK legally & in possesion of our passports once again. Having just done 3 consecutive days of shows here, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's day off & hoping that the weather cooperates so that I get a chance to walk around this very cool area that we're parked in. (Covent Gardens). We move on to Birmingham Thurs. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From London, England... If you like road stories, this one's a beaut!! I'm now sitting in my tiny London hotel room typing on what passes for a desk (it's little more than a slab of wood fitted between 2 walls...reminds me of when you visit some historic place like the room where Van Gogh painted Starry Night and you think "Wow, it's so bare bones & so small!"...that's what my room feels like...by the way, I never visited the Starry Night room, I imagined it as a possible example). Anyway, after our 7 hour flight, we arrive at Immigration in the UK, tell them we're musicians working here with Liza, are asked for our work permits which, of course, we don't have, & are immedtiately detained & not allowed to enter the country! We then find out that work permits were never applied for!! It is illegal to work here without one so, in a nutshell (we were in immigration for almost 7 more hours!), our passports were taken, we were photographed & fingerprinted &, after much haggling between the local promoters & immigration, were granted entry until Wed!! If the promoter doesn't get the permits by then, we are booked on a flight home Wed. morning! Of course, there are supposed to be 3 shows here starting tomorrow night &, everyone is clamoring around trying to figure out how this will be done when we have legal documents stating that we're not allowed to work here until the permits are secured. (Because of the holiday weekend, the earliest that they thought we'd be able to get them would be Tues!). If we go ahead & work, we stand the chance of being "detained." As I write, our promoter is frantically trying to contact lawyers & there was also word that they were going to try & reach the U.S. ambassodor, who's supposed to be at the show tomorrow. My life is never dull! If that weren't enough, after the 7 hour wait at immigration, our bus driver got in a minor accident on the way to the hotel! It looked like a very small fender bender but, from what I could see, the driver of the car he hit was pleading injury. Even though he looked fine he was rubbing his neck a lot but it definitely looked like an act. Still, the cops were called & we were detained even more. Bottom line, door-to-door from my apartment in NYC to the hotel here: 22 hours! What fun! I can't imagine that this won't be worked out so that all of the shows will go on as planned. Too much time, money & effort have been spent to get to this point. You'll just have to wait until my next entry to hear the conclusion!
 

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Transmitting From Biloxi, MS... Well, we're back in a casino for a couple of days. This one, called Beau Rivage, was totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina a few years ago. It's now back, fully functional & looks exactly the same, if my memory serves me correctly. (I've played here at least twice before). I'll be playing some drums over the next couple of weeks before our trip to the U.K. at the end of the month. Some jamming with friends as well as continuing to explore my own project. (Think I need to get that more into 2nd or 3rd gear). Don't think I mentioned that, after our last show in Ft. Worth, I was able to meet classical piano legend Van Cliburn backstage. He was extremely friendly & appreciative of our performance. Well, that's about all I can think of for now. There'll be no record or book store sojourns here, unfortunately. Hope to catch up on that in London in a couple of weeks. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From Fort Worth, TX... It's such a refreshing change to be in a nice sized US city rather than a casino or a smaller town laden with strip malls. Someplace where you can take a walk & see shops, restaurants, clubs etc. without needing a car or someone to provide some kind of shuttle bus or van. Last night we had a nice BBQ dinner & then walked around & checked out some of the local nightlife spots. And today, I just got back from the local Barnes & Noble which was paradise! I love book & record stores & will search them out whenever I can. (Here's a quote from Robert Fripp that I can totally relate to: "Me & a book is a party...me, a book & a cup of coffee is an orgy.") So, in summing up, seeing that we're only here for barely 2 days, you've just read about the highlight of my trip & we haven't even had our soundcheck yet! If anything else of note happens, I'll let you know.
 

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Transmitting From Puebla, Mexico... Here in my room after a long day of bus travel from Mexico City that included our bus driver getting hopelessly lost. It seems hard to believe that he was able drive 2 solid hours, get us from one town to the next & then promptly had no idea where our hotel was. We drove around endlessly, stopping to ask for directions a number of times, making u-turn after u-turn, until, finally, we stopped & hailed a local cab who then led us to the hotel. It easily added at least an hour to our trip. We then had about 30 minutes to check-in before heading directly to soundcheck. Luckily, that was done fairly quickly which gave me this little 2-hour buffer to chill out in my room. Another fun part of the afternoon was arriving at the hall to find that there was no piano provided! It took quite a bit of yelling & screaming to produce one which was being wheeled in as I left to come back here. All in all, it's been an eventful trip with more u-turns than I can ever remember in such a short period of time (& don't forget the earthquake)!
 

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Transmitting From Mexico City, Mexico... Here's a little bit of excitement for you: Last night I was sitting at the desk in my room catching up on some email when the building started to gently shake. Mind you, I'm on the 25th floor of this hotel that has a total of about 42 floors, I believe. An earthquake!! 5.8 magnitude with the epicenter about 100 miles south of here. It was pretty scary! Feeling the very floor under your feet starting to shift & being 25 floors above the ground, not a lot of fun. I looked out the window to see if there was any reaction on the street but there wasn't so I assumed that it wasn't anything, ulitmately, to be concerned about. Still, even though I'd once been through an earthquake in Los Angeles around 10 years ago, this one was way scarier. The L.A. one just sounded like a huge truck passing by my hotel window but here things were moving!! Buildings were moving!! BIG buidlings!! It was quite an experience. I felt an aftershock in the hotel restuarant about an hour or so later, also a bit jarring. Still, we all survived & the show tonight will go on!
 

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Transmitting From Guadalajara, Mexico... Greetings! It's been awhile! I'm sitting in our hotel lobby because I can't get an internet connection in my room. We're in Mexico until next Wed., doing 3 shows in the next 4 days in 3 different cities. Sounds like a tour, although a very brief one. Then home for a day until we're off to Dallas for a 1-nighter. Then home for 3 days before heading out once again to Biloxi for another 1-nighter. On the road again! Another dose of summer here with highs in the 90s. I hear the next 2 cities will be more spring-like. I've been rehearsing my own project a bit & things are starting to get interesting. I just added a cellist to the mix &, for the 1st time, feel that this might be something worth releasing upon the world down the line. We'll see... Saw an interesting TV show last night that had a band with a lead singer on crutches but totally holding his own. Don't remember ever having seen that before. My hat (or sombrero) goes off to him. I'll update with any interesting news soon.
 

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Transmitting From Melbourne, FL... Another short dose of summery weather before heading back to NYC on Monday. We did a show yesterday in Fort Myers & will do one here tomorrow. In between, we drove almost 200 miles between the 2 cities today. I did all of the driving in our vehicle (the company members were split into 4 vans). It was quite nice, actually. A warm, sunny day & the roads taken were, for the most part, pretty mellow traffic-wise. I've acheived laptop nirvana onstage with my new string samples being combined with my tried & true synth sound to produce a nice, new & improved richness. It was worth it! After this, we'll be off for almost a month but I'll be doing some fun things at home, including rehearsing (on drums) with my old friend Russ Kassoff's big band, continuing my quartet project & 1 or 2 possible jams as well. All that & seeing my beloved Yankees in a week or so in their last year at the Stadium. The end of an era! Till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Hollywood, FL... Just did a show here at the Hard Rock Hotel last night. This is my 1st time staying at a Hard Rock &, let me tell you, rock rules at this place! In my room I have beautifully framed photos of Tina Turner & Stevie Ray Vaughn. The spare roll of toilet paper is wrapped up with a sticker that says, "Roll With It!...Steve Winwood" &, when you check in, your room card is given to you in a CD case that includes an actual CD with a few tunes on it. Today we have a long bus ride (7 hours, I've been told) to Jacksonville for a show there tomorrow, then home on Mon. I've added a laptop to my normal road rig to trigger some new string samples recommended by producer Phil Ramone. 1st time I've used a computer live on-stage. Being a bit of a tech geek, it's fun to learn something new in that zone. In other news, my daughter Charlotte has her 1st audition for an actual Hollywood film on Monday. Wishing her much luck. Also, my son Sean is tearing up the world of NYC real estate. Just inked his 3rd deal! Go Sean!!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Here's a little something to make your 2008 election viewing a little more personal. I've been watching NBC's election coverage off & on for awhile. Whenever I'd watch it, the musical theme at the show's opening would drive me crazy! Damn!, I'd say to myself, that sounds really familiar! Well, I just confirmed that it was something that I'd played on a few years ago that's been revived for the 2008 election year. My official instrument list for the piece consisted of tympani, snare drum & suspended cymbal. (Yes, I can do the semi-classical thing a bit when I have to). So, the next time you're watching election coverage on the Today show, NBC Nightly News or an NBC election special, that's me (until sometime in November, I'd guess). Kinda cool.
 

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Transmitting From Solvang, CA... We're about 30 miles from Santa Barbara in a little town that, from what I've been told, was founded by a couple of Dutch educators in the early 1900s who wanted to re-create the feel of a Scandanavian village. Well, they totally succeeded as everything here covers the textbook definitions of "charming" & "quaint" to the max. Charming as it is, the feel is pretty monochromatic as most everything is drenched in a touristy feel. Anyway, we're doing a show tonight at a casino a few miles away followed by one on Sat. in Palm Springs before heading home. In other news of note, I recently gathered a few friends together to start rehearsing some music of mine (& maybe others, if it develops). So far, we've looked at a few tunes from my "Sanctuaries" CD. There are kernels of interesting things going on that, hopefully, will expand & develop into something that you'll get to hear. I'll surely keep you posted on that. Till next time...
 

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Transmitting From Lake Tahoe, NV... What a beautiful little town...a veritable winter wonderland. A huge picturesque lake surrounded by mountains & those huge trees of the northwest (Douglas Firs?). Lots of people walking around with skis & snowboards. Too bad I'm not much of a winter sports guy. Today is a day off &, after an exploratory walk & breakfast, I had a good workout at the gym in the hotel. As pretty as it is here, I'm not sure if there are tons of things to do outside of the usual winter sports stuff. I did find a movie theatre nearby so I might check that out. Still, it's by far the prettiest casino town I've seen.
 

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Transmitting From Fresno, CA... Happy New Year! I've had an action packed few days since the slight lull of the holiday season. Here's a brief rundown of last weekend: Drove to Providence, RI on Sat. morning for an afternoon soundcheck & evening show with Liza (who's doing fine, by the way), then got right back in the car & drove home. Total mileage was around 366 for the day. Woke up Sunday morning to tend to what was left of my step-daughter's sleepover birthday party. 6 girls were there &, as my wife had to work, I was manning the ship solo. Then, heading over to Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center for a concert I do just about every year that benefits Jewish kids with special needs. Once again, it was an afternoon rehearsal & soundcheck followed by an evening show (which was recorded for both CD & DVD release, by the way). I've added a new photo from that show as well. Now I'm here in Fresno for a show tonight before heading to Lake Tahoe tomorrow for a show on Sat. before heading home on Sun. A busy week! I've never been to Lake Tahoe even though I've heard about it for many years. Hope I can stay warm as last night's low temperature was listed as 10 degrees! We'll see. If anything of note occurs, I'll keep you posted. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Merry Xmas everyone!! Just wanted to tell you about a small Xmas gift I received last night. I found out that my CD, "Sanctuaries", made the top 25 list of 2007 for the radio show Secret Music on WVKR-FM in upstate NY. Thanks to host Scott Raymond for his constant support of independent music for many, many years. I look forward to visiting the station again when the next CD is released. I'm aiming for that to happen in 2009 so stay tuned.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just did our performance on Good Morning America this past Tuesday. I was on drums & it was a lot fun, even with the 6AM call for soundcheck! There was a YouTube link to it here but I removed it as its been removed from the site. If you're so inclined, keep checking & maybe it'll re-surface. If I find a new link, I'll post it here as well.
 

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Transmitting From Palm Springs, CA... Another new photo on the photo page!! This one is a very un-glamorous shot taken yesterday while waiting for our connecting flight in Dallas. We're here for a show tonight, then home tomorrow. Unless something changes at the last minute, it'll be our last road trip of the year but that's ok. The Christmas season is just about my favorite time of the year & NYC is pretty much the best place on Earth to experience it. We're supposed to be doing a song with Liza on the Dec. 4 "Good Morning, America" show on ABC-TV so, if you're up early enough, tune in. (I'll be on drums for that, by the way). If I don't update this until 2008, I wish all of my blog fans the best of holiday seasons & a great new year!!
 

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Transmitting From Vancouver, BC... Miracle of miracles!!! There's a new photo on the photo page!! This one comes from the workshop of Ronn Dunnett who's a master drum maker. Mike Berkowitz, Liza's drummer/conductor, set up a little hang for us (us being he, myself & Bill Hayes, our percussionist) with Ronn so that we might sample his wares. We were all truly blown away by the consistency of sound, craftsmanship & aesthetics in his snare drums. I'd highly recommend for any drummer to go to his website, www.dunnett.com, & have a look but, most of all, to try & get your hands on one & play it. You'll see why both Mike & I snatched a couple up today to add to our arsenals. Thanks Mike for hooking this up & to Ronn for his graciousness, hospitality & amazing skills.
 

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Transmitting From Vancouver, BC... We're here in Canada for 3 shows before heading home on Friday. Wanted to mention & give a plug for the current adventures of my 2 kids. My son, Sean, just became a realtor in NYC, working through CitiHabitats. So, if you or anyone you know is looking for an apartment, give him a call & he'll hook you up. Also, my step-daughter, Charlotte, will be performing in "A Christmas Carol" at the 13 St. Repertory Company in Greenwhich Village from early Dec. thru early Jan. She's 11 years old & a real bundle of talent! As for me, I did a benefit concert this past Monday night at the Mariott Marquis Theatre on Broadway. With the current stagehands strike, it was the only Broadway theatre that was open! (The stagehands were not striking against the orginization I was working for so they had no problem doing the gig). Also, I'll be doing a holiday concert at Symphony Space in Manhattan towards the end of Dec. Don't think I've ever worked there. I've been lucky enough to work at just about every major concert hall & club in the city but that will be a new one. In fact, the only place I've never performed that I'd like to, that I can think of right now, is the Village Vanguard. So, any jazz guys who need a decent drummer, give me a call!!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just got back a couple of hours ago from my Baltimore/Boston weekend & am pretty wiped out. Woke up this morning in my Baltimore hotel an hour late thanks to my wake-up call never coming & never receiving a call when my cab arrived to take me to the airport. If I hadn't woken up on my own, I might still be sleeping there! As it turned out, I made my flight to Boston with a little time to spare. Did the choir show there this afternoon followed by a 4 hr. bus ride back to NYC. (Chartered, not public bus, by the way). It's now around 1AM & I'm slowly getting to, what I call, "the sigh", which is when, after arriving home from the road, unpacking & catching up on some computer stuff, I can finally really & truly relax for the 1st time, at which point I give out a really big sigh. (Hence "the sigh" as if you hadn't all ready figured that out). The shows went well & I'm looking forward to some sleep & a couple of non-travel weekends coming up. Here comes the sigh....good night.
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A couple of little thrills recently: Just got back from Port St. Lucie, FL where I was able to play drums again with Liza...always a pleasure. Also, did another drum gig this past week at a very cool club in Harlem called The Shrine with a rock singer I work with from time-to-time named Tiyee. Very talented & rare in the fact that she's one of the few African-American female rock singers around these days. WIth a little luck, hopefully you'll be hearing more about her soon. The little thrill was meeting songwriter Jimmy Norman, who was in the audience. Jimmy composed the great rock hit, "Time Is On My Side", that was recorded, most notably, by The Rolling Stones in the '60s. A little slice of rock n' roll history!! Next weekend I'll be in Baltimore with Liza (back on keyboards) to be followed by a show in Boston with the Miami Boys Choir (on drums). Then, a couple of weeks off from travelling. It'll be nice to be home for a little stretch of time!
 

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Transmitting from NYC... A little PS from my last entry. If you'd like to see a minute or so of me behind the drums with Ms. Minnelli, here's a link to a clip from YouTube, put up barely a day after the gig. The lighting on the band comes & goes but, if you look closely, I'm there, pretty much directly behind her...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUmb-_N47_U
 

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Transmitting from Tampa, FL... Just a quick note to mention that I had a little thrill last night as I got to move over from my regular keyboard chair & play drums & conduct for Liza, filling in for our regular drummer, Mike Berkowitz. It was much fun & I'm really glad to have had the opportunity. I spent a lot of time practicing conducting techniques as her show requires a bit more of that than I'm used to. (Coincidentally, I found a book called "Basic Conducting Techniques" sitting on a box in a men's room of a recording studio I worked in a week or so ago. The owner was nice enough to let me borrow it. I guess nature called at the right time)! Everyone seemed pleased with my work which made it all the more fun. Hope I get to do it again!
 

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Transmitting From Naperville, IL... We're in a suburb of Chicago for a show here tomorrow night. It's a college town & we had a really nice dinner in the downtown area which was alive with students. It's actually a pretty cool little town although our hotel is pretty far off the beaten path. A big change from last week in Hinckley, MN where we were in a casino that seemed to be plopped down in the middle of farm country. Pretty bleak as far as things to do or see. Our meal tonight was made a little bit more enjoyable by our waiter who spotted my Miles Davis t-shirt & declared himself a huge fan, naming some of my favorite albums of the late '60s & early '70s as proof. That was a 1st. As we headed for desert at a boutique-like chocolate shop, a student type yelled out, "Miles Davis...yeah!!" Guess I've found a little oasis of good musical taste in suburban Illinois! Looking forward to the next 2 weeks which will be the longest stretch in almost 2 months without spending any time in airports. It'll be nice to have a weekend at home (even though I'll be working a lot of the time). More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... A note of tribute to one of my all-time favorite musicians, Joe Zawinul, who passed away today. Joe was a pioneer, a true original, a master. He was one of the founding fathers of electric jazz & greatly influenced generations of musicians. He was also a big influence on the great Miles Davis. His music, especially the music he made in those formative years when jazz started to combine with elements of electric music, is some of my favorite music ever created anywhere, ever! I was able to see him perform many times, with different versions of the great band he co-led with Wayne Shorter, Weather Report, as well as with his last band, The Zawinul Syndicate. Although I never met him, I did get to shake his hand on his way off-stage after a burning set at the Blue Note here in NYC. It was a thrill. Here's to you, Joe. Your music & spirit will remain strong for many generations to come.
 

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Transmitting from Los Angeles, CA... I'm here for the taping of the annual Chabad Telethon that airs tomorrow from 4-10PM (West Coast time). I'll be playing drums in the house band for the 3rd year in a row. It's a fun but very demanding gig in certain ways. Fun in that I usually get to re-unite with some old friends out here...demanding in that the day of the show is very long, 1st with rehearsals & then the actual broadcast which is 6 hours long with not a lot of down time for us. It's especially long tomorrow as, after the show, I'm making a mad dash to the airport to take the red-eye home. The show ends at 10PM, the flight leaves at midnight...and I've heard that it's a 35 mile drive from the TV studio to the airport. With the L.A. freeways being infamous for traffic at all times of the day or night, it seems that just 1 delay could make for a very interesting adventure. Hope everything goes smoothly!
 

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Transmitting From Seattle WA... I'm here with my family for a few days of vacation & to check out the Bumbershoot festival that happens here every Labor Day weekend. It's an amazing event over 3 days & includes just about every form of music, art, film, spoken word, comedy, literature & just about any other art form you can think of. (I'd suggest adding more jazz & classical music but it's still a blast nontheless). We attended 2 years ago & fell in love with it. Hope to be back many more times. I really love this city & could actually see myself living here if I weren't all ready in the best city on Earth, NYC. Don't think I could say that about anywhere else with the possible exception of San Francisco. We get home on Tuesday & then, after a 2 day turn-around, I head back to the west coast for the telethon TV taping in Los Angeles. That will wrap up this latest chapter of A LOT of traveling which will have lasted for about 6 weeks. Looks like, for the remainder of the year, I'll just be going out for 1 or 2 nighters which is fine. Anyway, if you can, come to Seattle & check out Bumbershoot next year!
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just received an advance copy of Steve Lampert's new CD, "Music From There." Steve is an amazing trumpeter/keyboardist/composer whos work combines elements of jazz, classical & electronic music in an extremely original & adventurous way. (He's also been my best friend since the 4th grade!) I'm very proud to be playing drums on it. Its official release is to be sometime in September so keep on the lookout for it. It's on Bridge Records (www.bridgerecords.com). I've been feeling the urge to write a bit on the slow death of the record store. I was a big fan, in particular, of Tower Records whos doors closed for good earlier this year. When travelling, at the top of my list of things to do always is to scope out any cool record or book stores. There were many cities in the U.S. (especially San Francisco & Los Angeles) where I would plan any & all excursions during my trips around visiting the local Tower. Even though it was an international chain, Tower stores seemed to resonate with the pulse of the true music fan. The current & only remaining large chain left in NYC to my knowledge, Virgin Megastore, only smells of the coldness of hard cash & commerce. I took a last walk through the Tower that existed in Greenwhich Village here at the corner of West 4th St. & Broadway a few days before it closed. I actually got quite emotional with the knowledge that this was going to be the end of a major chapter in my record buying experience. Of course, there are still plenty of specialty & used CD stores around but none with the variety & that special funkiness of Tower. As you've probably read 100 times, the direction of buying music is now pointing straight at the internet & digital downloading which, for someone like me, is great in that it allows me to get my music all over the world while barely taking a step outside my apartment. Still, I will always long for those old days of making that pilgrimage to Tower. It was a world where I felt very much at home.
 

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Transmitting From Taormina, Sicily... Sitting here at an Internet Cafe in this remarkable city which seems to be built into the side of a mountain. Our show tonight is at an ancient ruin which has been transformed into a performance space, not unlike Herod Atticus in Athens. Should be quite a sight. We've had some mishaps on this trip, mostly dealing with lost luggage. Our bags were lost once but some other members of our group have had theirs lost twice. (Most recently yesterday leaving a couple of guys without stage clothes for tonight. Hope it gets resolved in time). Tomorrow we head home &, as usual, I'm greatly looking forward to that 1st sight of Manhattan. It's been mostly a fun tour & especially fun having my family with me out here for the 1st time. Next for me is my true vacation to Seattle next week for the Bumbershoot festival to be almost immediately followed by a trip to Los Angeles for the Chabad Telethon TV show in Sept. I'll keep you posted with any news of note
 

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Transmitting From Monte Carlo, Monaco... Just a brief note to tell you that using these European computer keyboards in hotel business centers are enough to drive one mad!! Many letters are located in different parts of the keyboard than in the U.S....especially the "a" key. To get the "@" symbol, you have to press control & alt!! Hope it's a bit more manageable in Sicily!! That's about all I can tolerate for now. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From Santander, Spain... We´ve been out on the road for a little over a week now. For those of you who keep up with this blog, you might be wondering why its taken me so long to post an update. The reason is two-fold: Firstly, both my wife & daughter have accompanied me on this trip which is much fun but also limits the amount of time I normally have to sit at my laptop to post news here. Secondly, my wife´s laptop (which I was using for internet access on this trip....why bring 2 computers, right?) was stolen from our hotel lobby in Barcelona. As a result, I´m writing this from the current hotel´s business center & have a little over 20 minutes of time left on the 5 Euro access pass I bought before getting bumped off. A nuisance to be sure but one that I´ll have to live with for the next week before we head home. Briefly, the shows have gone very well, especially the last one in Madrid. We have a day off today, then a gig here tomorrow before moving on to Monte Carlo on Thurs. Hope to post at least one more update on this trip. If not, I´ll try to catch everything up from memory when back in NYC next week.
 

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Transmitting From Canadaigua, NY... We received the very sad news this morning that Bill LaVorgna, Liza's drummer & conductor of over 30 years, passed away. From the 1st time I heard him play, when I 1st worked with Liza at Radio City Music Hall in the early '90s, I knew he was someone special. It's hard to put exactly into words as to what made his drumming unique but, in the context of this show, it was simply perfection. He had a certain special way of complimenting all that was going on around him muscially, both singers & instrumentalists, that was unlike anything I'd ever heard. Simple, musical & perfect. It's no wonder that he was one of the busiest studio musicians in NYC back in the '60s &' 70s. I always loved to listen & watch him play from my pearch behind the synths when I'd have a few free bars here & there. It was kind of like getting a mini drum lesson. It's hard to think that, barely a week ago, I was sitting & joking with him. Life is so precious & fleeting. We should cherish every moment. Here's to you Blaze!
 

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Back in NYC... A little addendum to our weekend in New England: Harry Connick, Jr. was at the show last night in Hyannis & sat-in with us. He did a duet with Liza on "It Had To Be You." He seems to be a huge fan & mentioned that, when the term "Triple Threat" is used in a dictionary, her photo should be next to it. I met him backstage & he seemed like a very cool, down-to-earth guy. Can't say that I follow his career in music much but I have seen a couple of films that he's been in & enjoyed his work...wish I could remember them! What I do remember is that, in one, he played a complete psycho & did a great job. I guess that makes him a double threat...only one to go.
 

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Transmitting From Hyannis, Mass... Not much to report on this trip. The operative word to describe everything here is "quaint." 2 quaint little seaside towns, Cohasset & Hyannis. We had some delicious seafood at a restaurant on the water yesterday & took a walk down the quaint main street today. Soundcheck is in a few hours & then driving home to NYC tonight after the show which should get us in around 4AM. Still, there is something to be said about waking up in your own bed so I'm not complaining. August & September will be busier travel-wise. Hope to have some interesting updates here. Till then...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just a little note about a really fun thing my son, Sean, & I did yesterday....took a behind the scenes tour of Yankee Stadium. A must for any Yankee fan, especially since it'll be torn down after the 2008 season. Sean & I are huge Yankee fans so it was quite a thrill. There's a photo of us in the Yankee dugout on the Photo page here. I'm in the midst of a little break from the road. Coming up later this month are smaller trips to New England & upstate NY to be followed by Europe, Seattle & Los Angeles in August & September. I'm especially looking forward to Seattle as we're returning to the Bumbershoot Festival which is an amazing arts festival that happens there every Labor Day weekend. This trip will be entirely leisure in nature so it should be extra fun. There should be some interesting updates coming up &, who knows, maybe even some photos too!
 

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Back in NYC...Yes!!! 21 hours door-to-door from Rio. Who knew there was an air traffic controllers strike in Brazil!! In any case, it's great to be home. Just want to mention a really nice gig I have coming up in upstate NY on July 7 with singer Joyce Lyons whos CD I had the pleasure of playing drums on not too long ago. It was arranged by my good buddy Lee Musiker who was Tony Bennett's musical director for a number of years. Besides myself, the other members of the trio accompanying Joyce will be Mike Abene on piano & Jay Leonhart on bass....not too shabby! For more info, check out the website: www.taconichills.k12.ny.us/community/pac & go to the upcoming shows page. There's much bio info on everyone. Should be a lot of fun.
 

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A little PS from Rio... I'd heard that, because of the amount of crime here, especially at night, drivers usually ignore red lights & just plow through them. Well, I'm here to report that it's true. Red lights did not exist on our drive home from the night club last night! At times I felt as though I was in a James Bond film...our driver was really flooring it most of the way!
 

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Transmitting From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil... Wow, what a beautiful city and a great way to end this tour!! Situated among many different beaches, looking out into the Atlantic & seeing many different small islands & rock formations, Rio is quite a sight! Breakfast this morning was on a terrace high above Copacabana beach where our hotel is situated, with a beautiful view of the beach, ocean & the above mentioned land masses. We then ventured, via 2 cable cars, to the top of Pao de Acucar which is a huge rock formation that overlooks the entire city & more in a spectacular panoramic view. I was able to see a plane take off from the local airport from above, which is not usually one's point of view. Last night we were treated to dinner & some traditional music at a local club which was fun. The accordian player in one of the bands was not to be believed. Today, as you might've guessed, was a day off. Tomorrow is our last show before heading home Friday. We've experienced many different venues (from a sports arena to a hotel ballroom) & weather conditions (from mild winter to deep summer) on this trip. Still, as always, I'm greatly looking forward to getting back to NYC, still the greatest city on Earth.
 

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Transmitting from Sao Paulo, Brazil... We arrived here last night. Sao Paulo is the 3rd largest city in the world & it seems to be taken up largely with business areas, malls & some of the worst poverty I've ever seen. Our hotel is fairly new & luxurious but only 2-3 blocks away are people living in houses made up of what look to be thin planks of wood nailed together in whatever haphazard way that would get them to remain upright. It's very sad, very heartbreaking. Crime is very high here & we've been told not to walk the streets near the hotel after dark. We spent our 1 day of sightseeing in a very nice park, not unlike NYC's Central Park, with tons of people enjoying a summery Sunday afternoon & all that entails. I was hoping to find a little cafe there as I missed our hotel breakfast but didn't & had to come back here for lunch. I read that Brazil is largely a 2-class country economically &, just from my very limited time here observing, I can see why one would say that. We'll see what tonight brings. There's some talk of going to a jazz club. Tomorrow is a show day followed by a travel day to Rio on Tuesday. I'll update from there if not sooner.
 

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A lazy day in Uruguay... The first half of the day today consisted of breakfast & then going back to my room & doing my cycle of internet, reading &, sometimes, trying to find something on TV in English that's interesting. It's a chilly, rainy day here & our hotel is located in a residential neighborhood which is a bit odd. We took a mini tour of the city yesterday curtousey of one of our drivers &, pretty as it is, there's not much to do or see. I'm guessing that during the summer season things get much more lively. Our show is tonight & I leave for soundcheck in about 1/2 hour so things will pick up a bit. Tomorrow it's onto the 1st of 2 shows in Brazil.
 

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Transmitting from Punta del Este, Uruguay... We're in a very pretty seaside resort town. The weather is more fall-like so the energy of the city is not at its peak but you can surely see the potential by the surroundings. I'm in the lobby of the hotel with 3 others from our contingent as it's the only place where the WiFi signal works. The shows have been going very well & the audiences have been great. So far, the highlight for me as a tourist was visiting the cemetery in Buenos Aires where Eva Peron is buried. Well, not actually buried: The cemetery is comprised entirely of masoleums where everything is above ground. You can view many, many coffins...some of them totally exposed to the elements from lack of care. I could easily have reached into a number of them & tried to pry open the lids! I hadn't ever seen anything quite like it. Literally right out of a horror movie. Today's travel was fairly uneventful except for the 6AM departure time from the hotel. As the shows here have been starting on the late side, I managed about 3 hours of sleep. Think I'll try to catch up on that now. More soon...
 

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Transmitting from Buenos Aires, Argentina... Well, another day of a lesser type of travel nightmare than getting to Chile. Our flight here was delayed 2 hours at the Santiago airport. A nice touch was that, because of the delay, we were allowed a free lunch at any nearby restaurant (although our menu choices were limited pretty much to soup or salad & a burger). Upon arrival here it was an extremely long wait at baggage claim for our luggage to arrive & then a bit of a struggle to get all of our people in the same place for the drive to the hotel. The bottom line is that we left our hotel in Chile this morning at 11:30AM & it's now a little after 10PM here. The flight time was 90 minutes! Oh well, here's hoping our travels from here are a bit smoother. Tomorrow is a day off so I should have things to write about other than travel woes.
 

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Transmitting from Santiago, Chile... It was quite an adventure getting here, 24 hours door-to-door. Included was a 2 hour wait on the runway at JFK airport, the airport of our connecting city (Sao Paulo, Brazil) being closed due to fog, being diverted to Rio De Janeiro airport, waiting there on the plane for an hour or more until Sao Paulo re-opened, getting to Sao Paulo & running to our connecting flight (which, luckily for us, was also delayed), finally getting to Santiago only to find out that our bags missed the connecting flight and 2 of our crew members missed the connection &, finally, at 6:30AM this morning, getting a phone call that our bags had arrived. I left home in NYC at 4PM on Friday & arrived at our hotel here a little after 4PM Saturday. (There's no time change down here). So, yet another story of the glamorous life out here on the road. Hopefully, there'll be happier tales to tell soon.
 

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A Little Thrill From NYC... Just found out that my "Sanctuaries" CD was #1 on the playlist for the month of May over at Scott Raymond's show at WVKR-FM. Thanks Scott & thanks to anyone & everyone who may have helped in achieving this little milestone. I'm off to South America on Friday for 2 weeks. More from the road...
 

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Transmitting From Las Vegas, NV... Time passes slowly on the road sometimes. Even though we're only here for the long holiday weekend, it can be an effort to find ways to pass the time during the day until going to work at night. For me, a town like Las Vegas is especially challenging in this regard as I'm not into gambling & have taken many a walk down the famous strip which seems like the 2 most obvious activites one would do here. Luckily my road buddy Dave Katzenberg had the idea to rent a car to make a couple of day trips, the 2nd of which will be today. Yesterday we ventured up to Red Rock Canyon for a 13 mile scenic drive through amazing desert rock formations. Today our destination is the Valley Of Fire, which is supposed to offer even more spectacular views. Tomorrow we're headed home for about 10 days before our South America tour. If I had to guess, that will provide more interesting stories to tell other than looking at rocks in the desert. We'll see...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Just wanted to send out a special thank you to Scott Raymond at WVKR-FM operating out of Poughkeepsie, NY where I had a great time being interviewed on his show yesterday morning. He also played quite a few pieces off of my "Sanctuaries" CD as well. Scott has been doing his show for over 20 years & is a true, blue supporter of music & musicians that are living outside the realm of huge record labels with huge amounts of $$ to spend on promotion. His show airs every Sunday from 9AM-Noon & I highly recommend it. I'll be spending the Memorial Day weekend back in Las Vegas & will update here with anything noteworthy.
 

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Still in Finland... ...and still in the midst of jetlag after almost 12 days on the road! This has to be a 1st! It's around 4:25AM here &, although I did manage a couple of hours of sleep so far tonight, here I am, up & at it again at an ungodly hour. I became inspired to write this entry by reading a blog that the keyboardist on Bjork's current tour is keeping on her website. I'm going to see her at Radio City on Wed. Should be fun. Here's a couple of news items from this tour that I didn't yet mention: The stage we performed on in Stockholm is the very same one where the Nobel prizes are given out each year (with the exception of the Peace prize). Also, the president of Finland was in the audience at our show here tonight & guess what...it's a woman. Who knew? Not me. A harbinger of things to come in the U.S.? We'll see. OK..let's try sleep one more time. Goodnight...
 

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Transmitting from Helsinki, Finland... Well, it's nice to be in a normal sized hotel room after my cubicle in Stockholm. We arrived this afternoon for our last show on this tour tomorrow. Other than an above average dinner at a Mexican restaurant across from the hotel, my impressions of this city are very limited thus far. It's cold (supposed to be in the 30s tonight) & the area surrounding our hotel looks kind of bleak as far as things to do or see. The vibe here also is a huge change from the other places we've been. Way more subdued, not as pretty, not a place that's screaming out for you to walk around & take in as much as you can in the barely 2 days you'll be here. It reminds me in certain ways of cities like Berlin or Moscow where you can kind of feel the effects of past government suppresion in the air. Mind you, I could be way off the mark here. I'm just working off of intuition & a lack of energy to explore right now. There's still a full day here to come & things could turn around 180 degrees. Still, it does kind of wet my appetite for coming home on Monday. If there's anything of note to relay before heading home, I'll pass it along. I am hoping to be able to post a photo of the band crammed into one of our little Stockholm hotel rooms. That is, if my bandmate & blog fan (& international cell phone guru), Bill Hayes, remembers to email it to me! I'm going to try to become more of a camera guy on these trips in the future. It'll be nice to have more visuals to accompany these entries. No promises but I'll try.
 

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Transmitting from Stockholm, Sweden... We arrived in mid-afternoon & I just got back from a very nice dinner followed by some coffee & dessert at an outdoor cafe. The weather's beautiful here, even a bit warmer than Copenhagen which I wasn't expecting. Right on the spring/summer borderline during the day & a drop cooler at night. We had a brief false alarm when our bus driver dropped us off at the wrong hotel. Imagine our surprise when we tried to check-in & there was no record of any reservations for our entire group! Luckily he didn't drive away & we were able to find the right one fairly quickly. Last night in Copenhagen was fun as I was able to go to the Copenhagen Jazz House to hear the great jazz saxophonist Dave Liebman who was there with a quartet. Very adventurous music. It made me realize how long it'd been since going to hear music in a club. Lately it's been leaning more towards concert halls & larger venues. Made me miss the club vibe. I hope that some people I'm into pass through NYC in a club environment soon. There's nothing quite like it. What a difference a day makes dept: Yesterday I was in a luxuriously large (especially for Europe) hotel room, in an honest-to-God kingsize bed with a great water view. Today my room is more like a cubicle with a single (not full, mind you) but SINGLE bed. It feels more like a nicely furnished cell! I guess the good news is that we're only here for 2 nights. From the little bit I experienced from the drive in from the airport & walking around, Stockholm is a beautiful & very interesting city. There are parts that definitely reminded me more of the U.S. & then you'd turn a corner & be surrounded by a Parisian-like European charm. Unusual in that regard. Of course, with hardly any time to explore before heading to Finland on Sat., this, I'm sure, is far from the definitive word. It'd be nice to come back at some point & check more things out. That's the update for today. More from Finland if not sooner.
 

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Transmitting from Copenhagen, Denmark... Sitting here at around 4:30AM in the throes of jetlag, even though we've been on the road since late last week. I usually can beat it fairly quickly but not this time. Don't know why. Wow..what a beautiful city this is! It's my 1st time here & I'm greatly looking forward to the coming day off to explore. Last night we played in a concert hall within Tivoli Gardens which is a really cool combination amusement park, botanical garden, sophistcated food court with many restaurants & 4 music spaces that I counted (3 outdoor & 1 inside, which is where we played). Really beautifully laid-out & landscaped. It's like nothing I've ever seen in the U.S. with aesthetics being a major part of the thought process in its construction. In addition to the music we played at the indoor venue, there was a jazz band & chamber ensemble playing in different parts of the park on 2 of the outdoor stages. If you stood in just the right spot you could hear both of them simultaneously which was an interesting sonic mash-up. Nothing much else to report. Think I'll give sleep another try. Till next time...
 

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Transmitting from Antwerp, Belgium... It's almost 5:30AM here & I am in the throes of jetlag. I haven't gotten a normal night's sleep in 2 days due to not being very good at sleeping on planes & being a little nervous about my new job as rehearsal pianist for Ms. Minnelli & company. I was informed a day before we left for this tour that I'd be asked to play rehearsal piano for the dance rehearsals that are being held while we're out here. I always get a little nervous when asked to do some new keyboard duties. This pretty much comes from a kind of "fear of the unknown" mentality that I must work on to improve. If you didn't know, I'm originally, & still am, a drummer. All of the work I've done over the years as a keyboardist has pretty much fallen in my lap. I've been very lucky in that regard & in the fact that some not-too-shabby employers have thought enough of my playing to have me around. Still, because of the fact that I'll probably always think of myself as a drummer 1st, I do get nervous on the brink of some new keyboard experience & put myself through some pretty ruthless mental soap opera as to my qualifications. Happily, the 1st rehearsal went fine & Liza couldn't have been nicer. It's inspiring to see someone with her experience feel so energetic & youthful about the new project she's working on. Although she's known as a show business legend, she's creative in the extreme & is always looking for something new to do or add to her performance. It's a very youthful spirit & one that I think we can all learn from. Staying creatively vital keeps you young...simple as that. Well, I'm off to give sleep another try. We have a show here tonight & will hit 3 other cities before heading home. Hope to have more to tell soon...
 

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Transmitting from Niagra Falls, Ontario, Canada... Yes, there is a town called Niagra Falls in addition to the actual Falls themselves. Don't think I ever knew that. I was able to have lunch today next to a huge bay window overlooking the Falls which was pretty cool. We're here for 2 shows, tonight & tomorrow, before heading back to NYC for 4 days. Then we'll be leaving for Europe for about a week & a half. Today was a milestone in my hotel-stay history. For the 1st time, I actually requested my room be changed beause of the internet connection being painfully slow. The hotel promised that there was wireless access in every room but, in my 1st room, it varied from non-existent to slow beyond belief. I requested changing to a room that gave me the option of hardwiring with an ethernet cable & now I'm a happy guy. (Although, for some reason, the wireless hook-up in the new room works fine). Guess my 1st room was just situated in a weird spot to catch the signal adequately. I'm even putting up with being in a smoking room to get on-line. Mostly that means putting up with the smell of whatever the housecleaning department uses to hide the smell of smoke. It doesn't work at all although it doesn't smell of smoke, it smells of an attempt to cover up the smell of smoke which is almost as bad. Oh well...as long as I can log-on I'll put up with almost anything. And there you have my big news of the day! Hope to have more interesting stories to tell from Europe. More soon...
 

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Transmitting From NYC... Here's a little thought that's been rolling around in my brain for the past few days: It's more noble to be interested than to be interesting. Also, for you MySpace fans: I just uploaded a new song from my "Sanctuaries" CD to my page there. You can get there from the links page here. Hope you enjoy it!
 

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A Little Las Vegas Strangeness... Also in the hotel for the 3 days we're here is the Arthur Murray 2007 World Dance-O-Rama! It's pretty amazing. They've taken over a couple of ballrooms...all of the contestants wear numbers on their backs, similar to what marathoners wear...there's a platform with about 20 video cameras filming everything...you can see couples in lobby areas & outside the hotel practicing...they wear these extremely fancy gowns & suits (very sparkley)....and, at least yesterday, they were going from early in the morning (before 10AM when I 1st went downstairs) to late at night (I was told they'd finish at around 1AM)...and this is going on for 3 days! I walked through the ballroom to check it out. It would've been a perfect place for someone like Borat to go around asking questions..it also felt very surreal, almost David Lynch-esque. I was going to say "Only In Vegas" but, somehow, I think not.
 

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Transmitting from Las Vegas, NV... I made the mistake last night of giving in to jet lag & crashing at about 9:30PM which had me up a few times. Luckily it's now about 7:30AM which, for me, is actually getting up a bit late. I usually manage to get around 6 hrs. of sleep or less a night so having the freedom to catch up a bit is a luxury. Exciting stuff, right? I'm giving a shout-out to my Liza bandmate Bill Hayes who seems to have become a slight fan of my blog. On the flight here yesterday we discussed creating some major blog-worthy event at the airport but, sorry to say, it didn't transpire which left me having to bore you with my sleeping habits. We'll be travelling a bit through the month of April so there's still hope of some groundbreaking news to report here. (The pressure's on, Bill!) We're here for 3 days before heading home. I'll keep you posted of any noteworthy events (Bill or non-Bill related). Till next time...
 

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A Little Thrill From NYC... Last Thursday we were invited to an awards event at an explorer's club of which our friend Carol Amore is a member. Carol has been all over the world taking absolutely amazing photos of wildlife, especially tigers. She'll have an exhibit touring the country next year of her tiger photos. The centerpiece of this particular event was honoring Jane Goodall with a lifetime acheivement award. Jane, as some of you might know, gained quite a bit of fame for her work in protecting chimpanzees all over the world. I'm a huge fan of chimps & even wrote a tune called, "Dance Of The Chimps" many years ago. It was a thrill to shake her hand. She spoke for about 20-30 minutes telling us her life story, without any notes or teleprompters, by the way. She was completely captivating & is a real hero of both human & animal-kind. Listening to her tell her tale, I could only sit in awe & think to myself how I should aspire to do more towards everyone & everything's survival on this precious planet of ours. An added treat was spending a few minutes with Uma Thurman, who MC'd a segment of the proceedings. She was extremely friendly & was totally into chatting about the latest electronic games & fads with my daughter, Charlotte. It's so nice when you meet someone who "wears their celebrity well", as they say. Someone who is truly interested in what you bring to the table as opposed to a person who's more interested in being admired & showered with compliments. Uma impressed me to the extreme in this regard. A fun & special night it was!
 

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Transmitting from Naples, FL... Just arrived at the last stop of this short tour. We have a night off tonight, show tomorrow & fly home on Tues. Looks like there's some serious snow headed towards NYC to greet us on our return. Fine with me! Not much to report over the last couple of days. I had a hard time with the pillows in the last hotel. They were not foam rubber, they were bricks of foam rubber! I got up 3-4 times on the 1st night of the stay there because of pillow discomfort. (This was in Tampa, FL, by the way). Here in Naples, the pillows are wonderfully feathered, just the way I like it! Another little thrill in Tampa was getting to meet Robinson Canoe of the N. Y. Yankees. I grabbed an autograph for my son who's a huge Yankee fan. He couldn't have been nicer. It's funny but I have a certain mechanism that kicks in when I'm confronted with the chance to meet a famous sports figure. I just naturally slip into autograph mode, which doesn't usually happen with famous musicians. I can't expalin why that is. Maybe it's because, as a child, I was refused an autograph by Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton at Yankee Stadium. Maybe it's my way of making up for that. Over the years I've been able to meet Muhammad Ali, Dave Winfield & Mike Tyson as well. I especially love baseball & played it a bit as a kid. Anyway, meeting Robinson Canoe was very cool & my son is eagerly awaiting the autograph back home. The shows have been going well. The new arrangements sounding better & better. I'm getting more & more used to my 2-keyboard setup. We have an Oscar pool going with the cast, band & crew tonight. I've hardly seen any of the nominated films. Seems as though, lately, I mostly am interested in seeing lower budget, independent films. There's a great new documentary on Ralph Nader that I highly recommed called "An Unreasonable Man." He is truly one of our nation's heros regardless of what you might think of his past presidential aspirations. If you get the chance, check it out. Not sure if there'll be anything more to write about in Florida. In any case, wherever I am, till next time...
 

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Some random thoughts from Sarasota, FL... I was just sitting by the hotel pool killing some time before our soundcheck & show tonight. It occured to me that many people might say this is paradise. In the middle of February, it's 80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, sitting by the pool...paradise. I, on the other hand, was trying to figure out exactly why it is that I'm much happier in NYC, even in the winter, even with the cold & everything else that winter brings. Besides the obvious reason of the unlimited energy & choices of activities in any area under the sun, I think it also has to do with the wide variety of people that you encounter every day. A walk to the subway can be an adventure. A ride on the subway can be one as well. You'll see a ton of interesting people on an average subway ride. I love to imagine who each one of them are, what they do & what their lives are like. It's one of my favorite NYC pastimes. You also stand the chance of seeing some amazing street performers....acapella groups, musicians, even dancers. All of this on any average day. There's none of that down here. All of the beautiful weather & mellower vibe is certainly nice for a change but it's more along the lines of "Nice place to visit but wouldn't want to live there" for me. Nothing beats NYC. That will always be home. Really looking forward to getting back. Show tonight & then a drive & show tomorrow before another 2 days off. Show Monday, home Tuesday. Can't wait...
 

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Transmitting from Coral Springs, FL... We're here for a 10-day tour of 4 Florida cities. Just did the 1st show last night which went well. We've added 7 new arrangements to the show which are very challenging. They're written by master arranger Don Sebesky who always keeps you on your toes. I've added a 2nd keyboard to my road rig to accomodate the extra sounds I need. While most of the parts themselves aren't the most difficult as far as playing the notes on the page, the "choreography" of getting from one sound to the next within a second or 2 can be a challenge. If any keyboard players are reading this, they'll know just what I'm talking about. For those of you who are not musicians, my apologies for the slight technical rant. For the non-techies, all this means is that I have to push a lot of buttons really fast & make sure I do it on the right instrument. (Remember there are 2 now). Liza has added 4 singers who are doing a great job of singing very tight & sometimes complex harmonies. Our next show isn't until Thurs. so I have the problem of finding ways to kill time until then. For today, I'll hit the hotel gym & attend a birthday party at the home of Liza's manager. We're driving ourselves from town-to-town in mini-vans which is actually kinda fun. Even though Florida isn't even close to my favorite place on Earth, it's nice to be in some warmer weather with some down time. I'll write again soon with any interesting updates.
 

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Back in West Palm Beach, Florida... One of the nice perks of being a musician on the road sometimes is when your intinerary lands you in a place where temperatures are in the 60s, 70s & 80s while, back home, it's big-time winter weather. This is our 2nd trip to Florida so far this year...another short one...to be followed by a 10-day tour of Florida starting next weekend. So, I'm getting some summer mixed in with my winter. Nice when it happens. A couple of the guys in Liza's band recently discovered that I've been writing this blog so here's a special shout-out to them. As you'll see, I only tell the truth here...as bitter & ugly as it is. (That's a joke, folks...not about telling the truth....the bitter & ugly part). As I mentioned above, I'll be back down here in a week or so. Hopefully there'll be some interesting stories to tell. Till then...
 

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Transmitting from Palm Beach, Florida... 1st road trip of the year & it's a short one. We arrived here yesterday, are doing a show tonight & will return home tomorrow. There are a few little bits of news to report. 1st off, I was recently contacted by an internet radio station called Never Ending Wonder who was interested in playing my "Sanctuaries" CD. I sent them a copy as well as doing a station ID for them so, if you're so inclined, give a listen. They're also supposed to have a copy of the CD available for listeners who make a small donation to the station as a gift. The station is based in Portland, OR & it's nice to know that the music is getting out there to some degree. I recently had the thrill of shaking the hand of film director David Lynch at a book signing in NYC. I've been a huge fan of his for many years & it's always very special when you're able to share a moment or 2 with people who's work you've absolutely loved for a long, long time. The only other time I went to the trouble of attending one of these in-store appearances was to meet Billy Cox , the last bassist with Jimi Hendrix. Also a thrill, needless to say, to be staring rock n' roll history right in the face! On the home front, our apartment is undergoing a major renovation project that's expected to last around 2 months so I'm sharing our space with the work crew on a daily basis. As they're presently working on our living room, I have no access to our piano which is a drag. I'm a prisoner of my bedroom when I'm home. I have to start getting crafty as to finding things to do & places to go to pass the downtime. With the cold weather finally here, it somewhat limits the pleasure of walking around town which I love to do. I'll figure something out here & there, don't worry. That about wraps it up for now. I'll be spending a fair amount of time in Florida over the next month or so. A nice break from the winter cold. Looks like there might be some nice tours overseas later in the year as well. I'll keep you posted with any news worth mentioning as it comes in. Till then...
 

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Happy New Year!!!... My 2007 started with a bang....literally!!! I was doing a cabaret show with my buddy Frank Perowsky from Liza's band at a club called Don't Tell Mama in midtown Manhattan. Above the stage there's a dome-shaped skylight. In the middle of our 2nd show, just a few minutes after ringing in the new year, a champagne bottle came crashing through the skylight at very high velocity. Thankfully no one was injured but unfortunately our bassist's instrument was damaged. It brought our show to an ubrupt end & put a bit of a damper on the festivities as we waited for the police to arrive so a report could be filed. I'll tell you, if anyone had been in the line of fire of that bottle, serious injury would've been the result. It's also unfortunate that it appears as though we won't ever find out who the culprit was as the police hadn't arrived before we all left. I'm hoping that our bassist is able to get his instrument repaired & working in good order ASAP & that, with his insurance, the financial damage will be minimal at most. Even with this little mini-horror story, please accept my wishes for the best 2007 that you could imagine. I hope my next report brings news of a happier nature.
 

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Transmitting from NYC... Last night we played to over 7,000 people at the Mohegan Sun hotel & casino. The show went very well although the bigger adventure occured on our drive home. We were in a 9-passenger van, going at about 60 m.p.h. when we hit a deer in the middle of the highway. It was in a portion of the highway where it was almost completely dark, except for car lights, so our driver was definitely not at fault. It's a shame for the poor animal (who was making its way across a 3-line highway as though it was taking a leisurely stroll through the park) & our driver was a bit shaken up. Luckily no one was hurt & the van sustained minor damage. Still, the driver had to report this to the casino & we had to wait for another van which took about an hour. It was our good fortune that a local inn, that was closing for the night when we walked in, was gracious enough to stay open & serve us food & drink while we waited for the backup van to arrive. The inn's manager happened to also be a musician. Very fortunate, as I said. I also want to mention a fun gig that I'll be doing on New Year's Eve here with my friend Frank Perowsky who's a great woodwind player as well as being another member of the Liza band. HIs talents will expland to include singing & tap dancing on this night as he'll be bringing his cabaret act out for the occasion. There'll also be some special guests as well. It should be much fun (in addition to being about 4 blocks from the ball dropping in Times Square!). So, if you're in the area & feel so inclined, please stop by. The info is on the calendar page. Let me wish all of you the happiest & healthiest of holiday seasons. I'll be back in the New Year (if not before) with more stories to tell.
 

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Killing time in my Las Vegas hotel room... It's 4AM. We got off the stage about 1/2 hour ago & I have all of 30 minutes before I have to leave for the airport. No sleep tonight unless I'm lucky enough to grab a little nap on the plane. Looking forward to about 16-17 hours from now when my head will hit the pillow in my Chicago hotel room. Luckily, when a day is busy, time seems to move faster somehow. Hope that's true today & that the next hotel room doesn't have foam-rubber pillows. This one did & it was very annoying. Well, there you have it. This entry killed about 5-7 minutes. Maybe I'll put on the TV for the remaining 20 minutes before I leave. Wish me some sleep on the plane. Greatly looking forward to getting back to NYC.
 

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Happy Thanksgiving from Las Vegas... I arrived here yesterday to do 4 shows with Liza to be followed by a short trip to Chicago to do a Jewish holiday concert on Sunday before heading home on Monday. Sunday will be especially challenging because we'll be doing a late show on Sat. night (actually Sun. morning) starting at 1AM. We'll probably be off the stage no later than 3AM. Then I have to decide if it's worth trying to sleep for an hour or so before heading to the airport for my 6:30AM flight to Chicago. I arrive there at around noon, have a rehearsal at 2PM & then a show at night. Needless to say, I'll be fried beyond recognition at the end of all of that. Luckily my flight home is at a slightly more tolerable time (9AM) so I do have a chance of catching up on some sleep on Sunday night. Tonight, I'm saving my appetite till after the show when there'll be a Thanksgiving dinner for us which is nice. Just wish my family could be here as well. The concept of taking a special day to give thanks is a nice one, I think. I try to be thankful all year round for the special gifts that life has given me. Still, with everyone's day-to-day existences whirling around, it's sometimes hard to remember. My wife, Julie, is just amazing in this regard & is surely a role model for me to never take any blessings for granted. I sincerely hope that everyone who visits the site here can find some things to be thankful for & to give them their due, today & all year round. Have a great Thanksgiving & enjoy the upcoming holiday season (one of my favorite times in NYC, by the way!!). Till next time...
 

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PS regarding yesterday's entry.... I meant absolutely no disrespect to the fine residents of Escondido, Fayetteville or Skokie. I'm sure there are many wonderful spots in their towns to explore. My main point was that, given the location of our hotel & the time frame we have to work with, our choices are very few. Oh, and by the way, today our hotel gym is being renovated. So much for that workout. Still, it was a nice walk to the Barnes & Noble where I got a free sample of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. Only 3 more hours till we leave for tonight's show.
 

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Transmitting from Escondido, CA... If you look at the calendar page, you'll see that I'm listed to be in San Diego, CA today & tomorrow. Well, here's how it works on the road sometimes: You may get a call for a gig in San Diego, Little Rock or Chicago only to find that, once you get there, the gig is actually in Escondido, Fayetteville or Skokie. This can lead to a situation similar to the one I'm now in. Our hotel is slightly off the beaten path. You find yourself thinking, "How am I going to spend the downtime with nothing to do & nowhere to go?" Things that usually are routine become major events. For example: Today, luckily, we're leaving for our soundcheck at 3PM which doesn't leave that much time to try to fill after taking advantage of being able to sleep a little later & having a leisurely breakfast. Tomorrow, on the other hand, has me looking at, pretty much, an entire day to fill before our show in the evening. So far, I've thought of 2 things to do under the category of "Routine Things Becoming Major Events." Hopefully, I'll get in a 1/2-way decent workout in the hotel gym to be followed by a walk of, maybe, a mile or so to a Barnes & Noble I saw in the distance yesterday. That's it, so far. I've been working out pretty religiously for over 20 years & going to book & record stores have been near the top of my list of leusire activities for as long as I can remember, especially in a new town. I love music, I love reading, so it makes sense. So there you have it...a workout & a trip to a bookstore....major events tomorrow! Life on the road is not always so glamorous. There are also plenty of exceptional times too. If you look back over the journal here, you can find more than a few. So, if you're an up & coming young musician, don't be discouraged, it's still worth it. For every Skokie, there's a Paris. For every Fayetteville, there's a Rome & for every Escondido, there's a Tokyo.
 

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Some random thoughts from NYC... Tonight I'll be playing drums at a very nice club in midtown Manhattan called Enzo's with the extremely talented pianist David Budway who I met last Spring when he filled-in one night with Liza. There are many, many well-kept secrets in the NYC music world & he is surely one of them. Someone who deserves much wider exposure & recognition. We're supposed to be doing a night of Beatles tunes which should be much fun, especially without any rehearsal!! Also, I've started searching out ways of doing more PR (radio play, press, etc.) for my CD, "Sanctuaries." It's the way of the indie artist & I've just begun to look into how to play that game. I was hoping to delve more into this during the Spring & Summer but was so busy with our move & all that it entailed that I got totally sidetracked. I'm happy to say that I'm back on the case & will be trying to get the music heard more & more. If there's any news along these lines, I'll mention it here. I've also been loving NYC more than ever & appreciating all it has to offer, from the greatest in all of the arts to the incredible collection of people you see on any given day on the streets & subways. It's hard to believe I ever thought I wanted to leave. Next week I'm off to San Diego for 2 days with Liza. I'll update here with any interesting news. Till then...
 

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Transmitting from Las Vegas, NV... I 1st played here exactly 30 years ago with disco queen Gloria Gaynor (remember "I Will Survive"?). Now I'm here with Liza & will be back again on Thanksgiving week. I have some nice memories of times spent here, especially with Gregory Hines in the '80s & '90s. With Greg, many times we were the opening act which consisted of exactly 35 minutes on-stage each night. That's it! For the rest of the day, you're free to do as you please. Talk about a paid vacation!! Sometimes a professional musician's life ain't so bad! Of course, you have to balance it out with all of the dues that one pays. Things like long gigs with little or no pay, gigs with little or no audience, people in the business who are less than honest, bounced checks, etc. etc. One of my favorite dues paying experiences was having to wheel my entire drumset across the West Side Highway in NYC, after getting the directions confused as to where my gig was. I was wheeling 5-6 pieces of equipment alone, all over lower Manhattan, trying to find the club or restaurant where I was supposed to be. Don't remember if I made it on time or not......or how about getting a flat tire on the way to a gig in the middle of a rainstorm & having to change it in the pouring rain, by myself, while dressed in a tuxedo! I was not a pretty site upon arrival! Still, I must admit that the good times have outweighed the bad & I consider myself a very lucky guy in the music business. I've worked with some amazing people & continue to do so. Tomorrow it'll be another 3AM wake-up call to catch a 6AM plane to Lincoln, Nebraska. Dues, yes, but the happy kind as I'll be attending my sister-in-law's wedding. Should be fun.
 

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Still here in Minot.... For all of those who think that the life of a musician on the road is especially glamorous, I'd just like to let you know that tonight, after soundcheck & dinner, when we had about an hour & a half to kill before the show, we were all sitting around in our dressing room looking in total silence at a strangely colored bug walking and/or flying around the room. It was quite something when someone said, "I can't believe it...we're just sitting here looking at a bug!!." Also, we're leaving for the airport at 3:45AM for the 1st of 2 flights that'll get us to Vegas. We've all ready been told not to expect our hotel rooms to be ready that early. Ahh, showbiz.
 

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Transmitting from Minot, ND... We're playing tonight at a huge Scandanvian festival. In a very nice show of hospitality, last night we were taken to the home of one of the main hosts of the festival. He has a big, beautiful custom designed log cabin-type place. In it, he has TONS of stuffed animals that he's hunted all over the world on display. I've never seen anything like it. Entire bodies of bears, moose, lions, zebras and much more.....and they were EVERYWHERE!! Plus he's a big collector of native american artifacts. He had a ceremonial indian shirt duplicated "bead-for-bead" by the costume designer for "Dances With Wolves." There were also tons of headresses, indian drums & smaller things as well. It truly was like a museum. Then he took us to a smaller cabin for dinner. To get there we had to drive down a local street that became a gravel road that became a dirt road that became kind of a road with tire marks surrounded by grass that finally became just driving through hills & valleys in the middle of nowhere on no road of any kind! It was wild. In the cabin were more stuffed animals, indian artifacts & plenty of good food & drink. Honestly, I just don't get hunting. Still, it was really something to see & our host couldn't have been nicer. The festival tonight should also be quite something. Tomorrow we'll be on a plane at the wonderful hour of 5AM on our way to Las Vegas. More soon...
 

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Greetings from NYC... Just added a few dates to the calendar that I wanted to mention briefly. I'll be doing some upcoming gigs on drums with the great jazz singer Catherine Dupuis. I'll be part of pianist Russ Kassoff's trio on that one. Russ is one of the best pianists you'd ever want to hear so it'll be a double dose of some excellent music there. Also, another extremely talented musician, David Budway, has asked me to play drums on a Beatles night he's doing toward the end of the month. I met Dave when he subbed playing piano for Liza earlier in the year. We haven't rehearsed for this yet & don't know if we will but it should be lots of fun & a very high quality of playing, not to mention Beatles tunes!! There are also some shows coming up with Tiyee, the excellent rock singer I've mentioned here before. All in all, a nice variety of music & all of it with great musicians & singers. Hope you can check some of it out. The info is on the calendar page. Tomorrow I leave for a little whirlwind week that has me going to Minot, ND & Las Vegas with Liza before ending next weekend in Lincoln, NE where I'll be honored to play for the ceremony of my sister-in-law's wedding! She requested a piece off of my CD which made me feel good. It'll actually be the 1st performance of any of that music live in a solo piano context! WIsh me luck!
 

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Transmitting tonight from Los Angeles, CA... Just finished playing drums on the Chabad Telethon. Considering that it was a 6-hr. live national TV broadcast, things went amazingly well. The band was excellent & was made up of some old friends from NYC so it was much fun to do some hanging. Got to meet the actor Jon Voight who seemed like a very nice guy. Wish I could've said hello to Elliot Gould, who made a short appearance. I was a huge fan of his back in the day. If you haven't seen the film, "Little Murders", in which he stars, I highly recommend it. It's one of my all-time favorites. Also got to see my old dear friend Barry Saperstein who was my bandmate & road buddy for 18 years with Gregory Hines. It always brings back alot of beautiful memories when I see anyone from the Hines "family", as we called it. We were all so lucky to be in Greg's orbit. He shared a lot of love & laughs & it all lives on in those of us who are still here. Tomorrow it's back to NYC until next weekend when I'm off to Bangor, Maine for a Liza show. I'll keep you posted on any new or interesting developments on all fronts.
 

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Greetings from NYC... The gig last night with Tiyee went very well. I'm kind of acting as musical director/bandleader/point man with this project & I was very lucky to assemble a great band for her. She'd been going through some management problems so we hadn't worked together in almost a year. It's a testament to the musicianship of the band that we were able to totally kick ass on-stage last night after not playing for so long & having only 1 rehearsal the day before. Tiyee is an extremely talented rock singer & is totally worth checking out. Her webiste is www.tiyee.com. Playing rock drums is a blast for me & I'm really hoping that we'll have some more gigs soon. I'll put them up here as I get the info. This weekend I'm off to Los Angeles to play drums in the house band of the Chabad Telethon which will be broadcast live this coming Sunday. It's alot of fun. Last year we got to play with everyone from traditional Jewish singers to Perry Farrell (of Jane's Addiction & Lolapalooza fame). Can't wait to see what this year brings. Check your local TV listings & check it out!
 

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Just a quick note to let you know about a gig coming up next Sun. Sept. 3 where I'll be playing drums with a very talented singer named Tiyee. We'll be at The Cutting Room in NYC. Showtime is 9:30PM. It's rock n' roll & I'm gonna have some fun! It's a great band. More info is on the calendar page. Hope to see you there!
 

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Transmitting from NYC... I just had a rather unique experience. The other day I got a call from my old friend Lou Forestieri who I used to do quite a bit of work with here before he moved to Los Angeles where he's become quite successful composing music for TV & films. He's about to begin working on music for a film that's being shot in Prague. In it, there's an actor that plays the part of a jazz drummer. The only thing is, the actor hired for the part has no idea how to play drums. Lou asked me to spend a little time with him & show him enough of the basic ingredients that would make someone look like they knew what they were doing when sitting behind a drumset. Basically faking it, but realistic enough to make it believable to the movie-going public. I just met with him & gave him his drum "lesson", basically showing him how to hold the sticks along with the basic body language that most drummers have. He leaves for Prague tomorrow & starts filming next week. I forgot to ask him the name of the film but it sounds like it will be a foreign film that may or may not see release here. If I find out the name I'll pass it along. Then you'll know that it was me who taught the drummer in the film all he knows about drumming in 1 short lesson! Obviously, his talent as an actor will be the final touch in making it all believable. Hope I get to see it. It'll be fun to know that I had some small part in helping him with his performance.
 

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It's a rainy night in Moscow... Just got back to the hotel from a great show with Liza where I got to play drums, instead of my usual keyboards. It was a blast! She was just fantastic on-stage as she made an outdoor show, done in the pouring rain, into an evening that, I'm sure, the audience will never forget. (Luckily the stage was covered so there was a minimum of water in our vicinity, although the floor was continually being mopped). We were driven to the venue with a police escort through major rush hour traffic. Our van lost the rest of the motorcade & was pulled over for driving as though we were in an action film. The event was an anniversary celebration for one of Russia's biggest radio stations. It included tons of performance artists, dancers, circus-type performers & music. A real indication of how varied the entertainment was can be summed up by the fact that as soon as we left the stage, the music that started coming out of the PA was avant-garde jazz! Earlier we were able to do a little sightseeing although the major attractions were closed. Still, we did get to see all of the biggest sights, at least from the outside. The other main impression I had was the complete confusion (to the point of dizziness) as to the Russian alphabet. I'm going to do a Google search on it but, let me tell you, it's rough. Plus, there's hardly ever even a word of English anywhere to give you a little clue as to what's going on. Did you ever look closely at Russian letters? Give it a try. You'll see backward N's, backward R's, backward E's (or 3's) right next to normal letters, in addition to symbols that resemble tennis raquets, triangles & footstools. I'm sure there's a very intellegent design to it all but, for an American, it's total confusion. In any case, I'm so happy to have had the chance to come here & experience yet another place that, up until now, I'd only seen in photos or on TV. Thanks so much to everyone here who made this short trip so enjoyable & memorable.
 

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Greetings from NYC, the best city on Earth!!!.. Just a short note to say that I am a VERY happy guy being back in my hometown!!! Leaving for Moscow tomorrow for a short 3 day trip. More to come...
 

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Still here in Athens... Did our 1st of 2 shows at Herod Atticus last night which was just amazing. I can safely say that there is not another venue like it on Earth. Just beautiful! We divided our down time between the island of Aegina, where we rented motor-scooters & whizzed around while taking in some breathtaking scenery & the amazing ruins of ancient Greece, with the Acropolis being the centerpiece. It's been a very fun trip & I even have a bit of a tan. (There never seems to be a cloud in the sky here). That's kind of rare for me as I'm not the world's biggest outdoorsman, to say the least. The real fun for me, though, will be going home tomorrow to our new NYC apartment for the 1st time. I've been working for months to make this happen & it'll be so nice to begin to reap the rewards. (Even though we'll be sharing the space with tons of boxes to unpack!). So, there you have it for now. Next week , I'll be in Moscow for a short trip. I'm sure I'll have something to say about that! Till then...
 

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Transmitting tonight from Athens, Greece... We just arrived today for 2 shows in mid-week here. It's pretty late now & I'm pretty tired but just wanted to mention that I just uploaded a photo of the venue we'll be playing. It's called The Theatre of Herod Atticus & is part of the Acropolis. It was originally built around 160 AD & has gone through many stages of repair & disrepair since then. It's now used for many types of performances. I performed here with Liza in 1996 & remember it well. The coolest thing is that the performers on-stage are actually facing the Acropolis so we have an amazing view! Also on this trip I'm hoping to visit one of the Greek islands. I wasn't able to do that last time &, from what everyone seems to say, the islands are where you'll find the most beautiful parts of the country. Well, off to grab some sleep. Goodnite...
 

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Transmitting from Bonn, Germany... We just arrived this morning to begin our 10-day tour. Usually, on the road, you'll try to be placed in a hotel that's convenient to the venue where you're playing. Sometimes that'll be right in the middle of town where there's tons to do & see, & sometimes it'll be in the middle of nowhere where you have to work to create adventures for yourself. (Not that I'm Mr. Adventure, but I do like to enjoy the sites of wherever I happen to be, especailly when travelling to new places). Here, we're gonna have to work. The hotel is extremely nice but located in the middle of what looks like an industrial park. The good news is that there appears to be a train station nearby which could be the answer to all of our problems in getting around. Luckily, tonight one of the local crew is having a little get together for us in his home so we'll be well entertained by his hospitality. Tomorrow is our show to be followed by 2 days off where we'll see how valuable that train station turns out to be. One very interesting thing is that Bonn is the birthplace of Beethoven. His childhood home is now a museum which is very close to the top of my list of places to check out. I'll let you know how I do in my explorations. More soon...
 

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Greetings.... It's been quite awhile since I last wrote an update here. I've been spending tons of time on the phone dealing with matters of moving to NYC which, I'm happy to report, will be happening next week. The funny thing is that I'll be taking quite a circuitous route from our current home in upstate NY to our new one. Next Tuesday I'll be leaving our upstate home for the last time but instead of heading to our new one, will be going to the airport for a 10-day tour that will take us to Bonn, Germany & Athens, Greece. Only upon my return will I then head directly to our new NYC pad for the 1st time. I'm greatly looking forward to a return to city life as I know now that NYC will always be my real home. Out of the drudgery of going through tons of boxes & throwing out lots of old stuff so as to adequately downsize to accomodate the move to a smaller space, was discovering a number of manuscripts of old music I'd written, some of which I will surely include on the next CD. I'm sure I'll write a bit more from the road as I usually do. There's bound to be stories to tell. Till then...
 

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Back in Berlin for a short stay... We're doing a private show here tomorrow night. Just flew in early this morning & going home on Sunday. It's been awhile since I last wrote here. I've been spending hours & hours over the past few weeks in the world of real estate! Concentrating on the sale of our home in upstate NY & acquiring our new one in NYC. Glad to report that it looks like we'll be new residents of lower Manhattan sometime in mid-July! As any of you who've read some of these previous entries know, I cannot wait to get back to NYC! As I was driving to the airport yesterday afternoon, going over the GWB, onto the Harlem River Drive & over the Triborough Bridge, I was drinking in every traffic jam, every steel pipe lying in the middle of the highway just waiting for someone to run over it & every crazy driver as though it were the most delicious meal you could imagine! I can't guarantee , after I'm back in-town for awhile, that all of this will remain as poetic, but for now, I'm devouring the energy like crazy! Musically, we're supposed to do a tour in July of some interesting places concentrated in & around the Middle East & there's still that rock n' roll project looming that I'll be playing drums for. Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll have more to report on that soon. Also, continuing to gather music for the next CD &, after our move is complete, hoping to pick up more of the ball in getting "Sanctuaries" into the hands of more people. It's VERY widely distributed online, I'm happy to say, & the downloads are slow but steady. Thanks to those of you who've checked it out. More soon...
 

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Back in NY... Even though there's not a whole lot of new stuff to report, I feel it'd be just plain rude not to mention the beauty of the city of Budapest. We were barely there for 2 days & I had no real time to be a tourist, but it certainly wetted my appetite for a return trip someday when I can do the tourist thing more completely. It was about 17 hours door-to-door to my home here in upstate NY. I was able to sleep for about 4 hours before having around 20 minutes to say goodbye to my wife & daughter who are on their way to Montreal for a school trip. I have some free-lance things coming up as well as some shows with Liza in the coming months. There also might be some rock n' roll in my future (playing drums, yes!). I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, Happy Spring!
 

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Transmitting from Amsterdam... Back in Europe for a few days for 2 shows. One here tonight, then off to Budapest tomorrow for one on Monday night. Looking forward to that as it'll be my 1st time there. It's always fun to experience a country for the 1st time. I recently heard that songs from my CD will soon be available for download for customers of Verizon Wireless. Think I might partake of that myself! It'd be fun to have one of my own songs as a ringtone on my cell. April is a big month of travel for me & my family. I only wish that we could be together for more of it! Both my wife Julie & I are on the road at different times on work-related projects. Me to Europe, her to Arizona. As soon as I get back, she'll be leaving with my daughter to Montreal for a school trip. I'll be holding down the fort at home. Luckily, we all end the month together on a short vacation to Maui. I'm not a huge fan of water sports or activities but Maui is so beautiful it doesn't matter. It'll be my 2nd trip there (& the 1st purely for vacation) so I'm looking forward to it. Then it'll be back to NY to start our search for our new NYC home. As I've already stated here, I can't wait to get back & have already heard from friends things like "When you get back...etc.etc." meaning that there could be some fun music on the horizon. Hope so!
 

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Greetings.... This past Monday, my wife & I attended a screening of a newly remastered special called, "Liza With A Z" that Ms. Minnelli did in the early '70s. She's just an amazingly talented performer &, as one speaker said at the event, we should be paying more attention to her talent than the tales told about her in the tabloids. It'll be on the Showtime network in April as well as being released on DVD. I'd recommend any aspiring singer/dancer/actor to check it out & see how it's done for real! The after-party was fun. I love to look for celebs on the occasions when I get to mingle in this kind of company. My favorite citing was a table consisting of John Waters, Parker Posey & Antonio Banderas. Wish I had the nerve to go up & tell John & Parker how much I love their work! Check out Parker in "Waiting For Guffman" or "Best In Show"....amazing! John Waters is a film legend, of course. I'll never forget seeing "Pink Flamingos" for the 1st time. A true original. Just got my travel plans for shows in April that'll have us back in Amsterdam & then Budapest. I'm sure I'll check-in with updates from there, if not sooner.
 

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Back in NY.....YES!!!! It's great being home after being on the road for a few weeks. It's funny but, after all of the excitement of visiting & playing in European cities I've never been to, coming back to the peace of my house in the country is nice. It's very quiet up here &, once we're back in NYC, I'll miss the calm of country life after the storm of a tour. Still, I can't wait to get back to NYC!!! I wanted to mention a new CD I'm playing drums on. It's by my oldest, dearest friend, an incredible trumpeter-keyboardist-composer named Steve Lampert. We've been friends since the 4th grade & I think of him more as a brother than a friend. He's family. Anyway, he just finished his 2nd CD. It's called, "Music From There." He's going to begin shopping for a label to release it. The music is just amazing. He's heavily influenced by everyone from Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix to composers like Webern & Schoenberg. It's very adventurous & beautiful stuff combining elements of jazz, funk & classical. If you ever see it, by all means, check it out! You can also check out his 1st CD, "Venus Perplexed" which is on Steeplechase Records & can probably be ordered at most of the online stores. I play drums on that as well. It'll be fun for those of you who only know me through "Sanctuaries" or my work with Gregory Hines or Liza to hear me do what I started out (& am still) doing which was playing jazz drums. I never thought of this site as a forum for turning visitors on to new music but that's part of the beauty of the web, isn't it? It's boundless! Till next time...
 

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The end of the tour is upon us.... We're here in Frankfurt, Germany gearing up for our final show of this 3+ week European tour. Quite a number of highlights, new places seen, many laughs in ways that only seem to happen on the road. When travelling on tours like this, you become a resident of a kind of fantasy world where your only repsonsibility is to show up & play your instrument to the best of your ability each night. Still, after a few weeks, I do miss the "real" world of home, family & friends (and the day-to-day responsibilities that come with that) & am so looking forward to getting back. We have other, shorter, European trips scheduled in April & May. I'll keep you posted on that along with any other news of note. I'm sure that will include gearing up for our move back to NYC & to try to find the time to do more hands-on promoting of "Sanctuaries." Thanks to the people who've bought the CD & downloaded songs from iTunes. There'll be more music on the way!
 

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Transmitting today from Dusseldorf, Germany... I'm about 5 minutes away from heading out for soundcheck & then our show here tonight but just wanted to mention that humanrick.com just recently passed the 10,000 hit mark. Thanks to all of you for stopping by & hope you're enjoying your visits. A show here tonight & then one Sunday in Frankfurt before heading home. I'll try for one more update before leaving Europe. Hope there's some good stories to tell.
 

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Transmitting tonight from Hamburg, Germany... A special thank you to the nice people at the Liza Minnelli German homepage for adding a section featuring the members of the orchestra (titled, "Here's To The Band"). It's easy for the support team in a production like this to get overlooked but so nice when we're made to feel especially appreciated. Our friends at the German site did just that in a matter of days since we 1st met them in Berlin. Thanks! You can check it out at www.lizaminnelli.de. The show last night in Brussels went extremely well & now we're back in Germany for this final week. We'll be performing here in Hamburg tomorrow night before heading to Dusseldorf & finally Frankfurt. Brussels has old-style European charm to spare &, even though our time there was short, it was much fun. I'll write more soon...
 

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It's a Saturday morning in Paris.... Last night we performed at the Paris Opera House which was built in the mid-1800s. Probably the most ornate hall I've ever played in. Absolutely beautiful! The ceiling is taken up by an original Marc Chagall. He must've painted it while lying on his back! It was just amazing being able to look up from my vantage point on the stage & see it. I'm told the painting is a tribute to a number of composers. I'll have to do a web search to find out the details. The performance was a huge success with the president's wife & a few members of the French cabinet in attendance. Today we move onto Brussels for our show there tomorrow & then back to Germany for 3 more before coming home.
 

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Greetings... I'm transmitting tonight from Berlin where I just finished a very intense day of sightseeing. It's my 1st time here & the city is very cool but it's also quite unreal to be staying in such close proximity to where all of the atrocities of World War 2 were planned..things that, up until today, were just pictures in books or documentaries on TV. To see buidlings still riddled with bullet holes, to see the remnants of the headquarters of the SS & Gestapo & the especially wide main streets where so many soldiers marched & battled, was quite unnerving. We also paid a visit to Checkpoint Charlie, the former dividing line between East & West Berlin. There's a museum located there that's amazing. In it, you can see photos & actual remnants of all of the methods that people used to try & escape from the East into the West. Everything from tunnels, to mini-airplanes, to underwater propelor-driven machines, to secret compartments in cars & many more. It's very hard to imagine the horrific living conditions that must've existed for people to routinely risk their lives to make these escapes. It's also hard to grasp that it was barely 16 years ago when the Berlin Wall fell. On the other hand, it's beautiful to see that, today, East Berlin is very much on the mend. Last night we ventured into a very hip Soho-like area filled with many shops, restaurants & clubs. I'm staying in East Berlin, by the way & my hotel is very cool, modern & aesthetically designed. I suppose what one can learn from all of this is that there's always hope. That & that we should be SO vigilant in never letting such atrocities happen again. Tomorrow we have a show here & move onto Paris (one of my favorite cities on Earth) in mid-week. More soon...
 

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Greetings from Amsterdam.... I'm here on a 3-week Eurpoean tour with Liza Minnelli. We did a show last night in Munich, Germany, will be at The Hague in the Netherlands tomorrow & then move onto Berlin, Paris, Brussels & 3 other cities in Germany before heading home in early March. The most fun, thus far, has been spending the last 2 days in the company of Al Porcino, who is kind of a living legend of big band trumpeters. I'd heard of him through the years & had seen his name on many records but always thought of him as, mainly, a studio trumpet player. Boy, was I wrong! He has a huge history of playing with tons of the major forces in jazz from the 1940s onward. What made it special was that, at 80 years young, he loves to hold court & entertain appreciative musicians with stories from his career. We literally spent hours listening to him recount many tales from all of his journeys. (My favorite being his performing with Charlie Parker & Strings at Carnegie Hall. The Bird with Strings album is definitely one of my favorites of all time so it was amazing to actually meet someone who was there & experienced it 1st hand!). He now lives in Munich & is still going strong leading a local big band. Check out his website at www.alporcino.com That's about all for now. Hope to have more to tell soon.
 

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Happy New Year!!!.. I hope you all had a great holiday season. Mine was both quiet & exciting. The quietness came from the joy of spending the holidays with my wife & daughter with a minimum of distractions. The excitment came from the fact that, because of my wife Julie accepting a new job, we'll be moving back to NYC this year!! I cannot wait!! After living in Manhattan for 32 years, I was convinced that I was ready for a quieter existence. As Julie had no problem with that, in 2004 we moved to our current home in Florida, NY (that's right...Florida the city...not the state) about 70 miles northwest of NYC. It didn't take me long to discover how wrong I was about what I need and want from my hometown. In a nutshell, I found out that I really am a city boy at heart & am so lucky that the situation arose that will allow me to move back to my "real" home...NYC!! We should be back by summer's end. It's funny how you never stop learning things about yourself...at least I don't! It makes life very interesting, to say the least! Oh yeah..music news!! I'm currently in Tampa, Florida (the state...not the city) starting a short Florida tour with Liza Minnelli. We'll be doing a few shows over the next couple of weeks (with a brief 1-day trip back to NYC for 1 show before heading back to Florida). "Sanctuaries" has begun getting some iTunes downloads which makes me very happy. I must admit that, with the holidays & all, I've been lacking a bit in my independent artist repsonsibilities of promoting the CD on my own. I will surely try to correct that soon. It's the old story of the "business" of the music business being way more foreign to most musicians than the "music" element. On a positive note, I've begun assembling a list of possible new pieces for my 2nd CD that I hope to have out in 2007. As it stands now, I have about 50% of the music chosen. Seeing that I should be on the road a bit over the next couple of months I hope to write a bit more often with some road stories, especially from Europe in February, March & April. Speak to you then!
 

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Happy Holidays... Well, my last 2 shows of the year with Liza Minnelli went smoothly. We played a casino in Brooks, CA & a beautiful performing arts center in Denver, CO. There was talk of a last-minute week of shows in Metz, France during the middle of December but it wound up being postponed until April at the earliest. The fun part of that was that I'd just sent my passport out for renewal thinking that I wouldn't need it until mid-Feb. when we're supposed to do a 3 1/2 week tour of Europe. When word of the possible Metz shows came in I began frantically calling the passport office trying to expedite the application in order to receive it in time. Finally, after doing just that, at double the normal renewal cost, the Metz shows were postponed. Oh well, at least I now have my new passport safe & sound with an updated picture, including my shaved head. My last passport photo showed me with hair well past my shoulders. Needless to say, I've received more than a few double takes from customs agents. Glad to say that all of that is now history. "Sanctuaries" has gotten some radio play in the NY area on WFMU as well as on LION 90.7 FM in University Park, PA. It's now also available on iTunes which has scored me major points with my 10 year old stepdaughter. I'm looking forward to continuing to get it heard & seen. I'll be back out on the road in mid-Jan. with, hopefully, some good stories to tell. I also hope to have some promising updates regarding "Sanctuaries." Till next time, have a great holiday season!
 

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Greetings... I'll be writing little bits of news here & there to tell you what's going on with me that I think may be of some interest. Right now I'm getting ready to head to California tomorrow to finish up a fall tour with Liza Minnelli. We'll be in Brooks, CA on Thurs. & Denver, CO on Sat. The tour took us to 10 cities since the end of Sept. The highlights for me were a show each in Arhus, Denmark & Oslo, Norway, 2 countries that I'd never been to. Only wish I could've had a bit more time in each. (By the way, I play synths in Liza's band). I was very fortunate to run into Chick Corea who was staying in our hotel in Norway & layed a CD on him. Chick was a very influential person in my life & he's one of the people I thank in the CDs credits. Chick, more than anyone else, was pretty much responsible for giving me the initial inspiration to take composing seriously & I am so thankful that I was able to study a bit with him & connect with his special brand of genius. After this week, I'll be off the road until Jan. 2006 & will be doing my utmost to get "Sanctuaries" into the hands & ears of as many people as possible. If I don't update this beforehand, have a great Thanksgiving holiday!