During the rehearsal in the showroom (Caesars as I recall) we ran through Marie Osmond’s Christmas Show. There wasn’t a lot to play in the way of soloing and that wasn’t unusual for this type of show. What was unusual is that Mike Pedicin very generously passed down one of his only solos – to me. It was a solo on something like Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Knowing Mike was more than capable of playing this himself, I wondered why he passed it down to me. Whatever the case, I thought he was just sharing the wealth. I played the solo and cats around me said, “nice job” and we moved on to the next tune. At the end of the rehearsal the conductor came over to me with something in his hand. He said, “When you stand up to take the solo, put this on.” He was holding a Santa hat with antlers sticking out of it! It was then that I understood why Mike was being so generous! Thanks for the solo Mike, but I think the antlers would have looked better on you! You got me good. Still laughing about that now…
A mutual friend, Carl Cox, introduced Anibal Rojas’ playing to me. Anibal can be seen and heard playing Body and Soul on Youtube.com. It’s worth a visit. Most Recently Anibal (pronounced AH-KNEE-BALL) shared his newest Cd with me for review here. He is a wonderful talent with roots in music that give his songs a unique flare. It’s world music – saxophone style. You really must check him out at anibalrojas.com and in the review section here.
I have known Mark Hollingsworth since our days together at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He and I started on the same path some 25 years ago. When he traveled back to Chicago one Christmas I “house sat” in his apartment while he was away between semesters. I got more practicing and transcribing done in that one month than probably most of my semesters at Berklee. His journey took him to L.A. and mine to Atlantic City and Philadelphia. We have stayed in touch these many years and even reunited while he was on tour with Tom Jones in Atlantic City. It is a pleasure to hear him continuing to offer new music on this Cd, Chasing the Sun. Mark’s site is markhollingsworth.com and you can read a complete review of his new release here.
Steve Neff is not promoting a Cd, however he does have a great website and some outstanding patterns for improvisation. I’ve included a complete review of his book Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale and his other web offerings here. You can find out more about this talented saxophonist and hear some great vintage mouthpiece clips as well at neffmusic.com. Keep up the good work Steve!
Lastly, this brings us to Frank Machia. When I was around 16 or 17 years old and still in high school, I would take frequent pilgrimages to Boston. I grew up in the sleepy town of Whitinsville, Ma. About an hour west of the city. Whether by bus or friend’s car, I would take every opportunity to head into Boston for concerts at Berklee or just to hang out. It seemed that there were always posters around the Back Bay advertising Booga Booga and Frank Machia. I remember thinking, “Who is Frank Machia and what is Booga Booga?” Well it wasn’t long before I learned that Frank was among the best saxophonists at Berklee during the late 70s. He graduated the semester before I started and I never heard a thing about him for years after. Fast forward to the internet age and I found Frank alive and well in cyberspace. He was kind enough to send a promo package highlighting his latest projects and you can read all about that here. You can read more about Frank and his unique compositions at frankmachia.net
Well that’s all the news to tell for now. Until next time I’ll see you all in cyberspace.
Stay well and play well.