Archive for the jazz Category

Night in Gotham

Posted in batman, jazz, music, musical equipment, rock, songwriting, star wars on May 13, 2010 by finerstacy

Okay, I will say it. I am a grown woman and I love Batman.  I love Batman so much that every piece of gear I own has the logo, the colors or some tie to the Dark Night.  My gloves:Batman, my pedal board:Batman, my basement:Batman colors with a yellow Batman Stripper pool…No stripping though; this is sacred ground people.  My fake entrance to the bat cave is only for show.  So when I had the good fortune to travel to Tunisia with a family friend and Tunisian native, I was caught off guard by my fast and strong connection to Star Wars.

Lying awake in my guest’s home I would listen for the first time to “Night in Tunisia” sung by Ella Fitzgerald.  I would marvel at her voice and the haunting melody.  It seemed like the night sky sprinkled with stars stood still as I listened to the song on repeat.  I got to play guitar with Tunisian jazz legend Fawzi Chekili who was beyond talented, kind and supportive.  He told me I was a good songwriter and introduced to me  to younger musicians who were also kind and talented  but schooled me while playing “The Chicken”.  Each time  beat one came around I would still be three counts behind.  Where was my utility belt when I needed it?  Some invisibility spray would have been perfect.  But I got to play some original songs and redeemed myself.

The food in Tunisia was so fresh.   The people were beautiful and the landscapes breath taking.   I brushed my teeth with salt from  the Mediterranean sea and drank freshly squeezed date juice.   My friends and I drove through the desert and literally the smell of the olive trees knocked me out.  Something the Joker would have used if he were battling the bat overseas.

So when we finally got to Matmata and  Tatouine I was a bit hazy and unsure of what we would find.  All I knew was that George Lucas and company had just finished shooting episode 2 about a week before and I was going to find out all I could about it.  We entered Luke’s home…a huge hole in the ground with windows cut out in the sand and walked deeper and deeper into the earth until we met a man who appeared to be a hotel concierge.  We were in the ground, in the desert and this was part of a hotel…keys and all behind his head.  So I turned into the ultimate tourist.  “I’m American! Star Wars! George Lucas!”  Nothing fazed the guy.  “Gold, silver! I will buy your hotel!”  Nothing.  His head and shoulders were a bit slumped.  Not even my Batman t-shirt could have riddled this situation.  And then like a force coming from a tractor beam, the concierge lifted his head slowly and said “I took a picture with Natalie Portman!” and his smile vibrated for weeks.  I said “Where is it?  Can I see it”.   “No” he said.  “It is at home on my mantel.” he said.  And I knew the force was strong with this one.  My love for Batman would remain strong, but that glimmer of hope of happiness was all I needed to see the power of the force…a beautiful girl from Long Island who went to Harvard.   Now years later as I stay up late at night watching  a New Hope and Princess Amidala’s mother.    I think to myself I am a girl from Long Island and I went to Harvard…Really I did for a whole day.

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Even better than the real thing

Posted in guitar, humor, jazz, music, musical equipment, pedals on April 28, 2009 by finerstacy

When looking at guitar pedals I always ask myself does that sound authentic or does it sound like a digitized version of the real thing?  I heard some great bands this weekend.  Whoa! Tiger, a local band doing a blend of reggae and Americana and Trent Van Plummer whose lead guitar player could have been straight out of the late 60’s.  His solos were so cool.  He was playing a Gibson with p 90 pick ups and to continue on my Clapton is God theme was playing some really hot licks.  The lead singer also has the coolest voice since Leonard Cohen.  I always leave a club and ask myself what did learn?  Well, of course I need to practice.  No kidding.   But what can I add to my sound that I didn’t know before? Well, I went home and instead of doing the dishes in the sink I  waited for the night to sink in.    Do I go all classic, big tube amp (check), awesome guitar with throw back pick ups (check-thanks SKYDOG!), bad ass pedals (check)  or do I get some of the modeling effects that combine everything and put about 50 years of research in to one box?  Well at first the latter seemed best.  I went out a few nights later and watched a band who has a lot of the same fans come and cheer them on.  One lady is SO hot, that I truly believe she is the reason for the current heat wave and any subsequent heat waves that will ever occur.  I swear not a gig goes by when I don’t hear men and woman a like commenting on her “gifts”.  In their jealousy they always question whether she was born with all of that glory or did the good folks at the plastic company help her reach mucho caliente status.   I say who cares?  She is hot!

Later in the weekend I got to witness the beautiful music stylings of the John Harden Project (Finer’s favorite saxman).  John is always smoking good and is a strong band leader.  But on Sunday, his wife and artist in her own right JP Harden had all of us speachless.  I watched an entire room fixed in her gaze and wooed by her melodies.  It was as if Billy Holiday herself was in the room giving permission for the torch to be passed.  Now mind you JP is half way through her pregancy, barefoot and glowing like mother earth herself.   But she still made it look easy like Sunday morning.  Before the show she took off her shoes to let everyone know that this was her house and we were all welcome to stay but we had to please pick up our mouths from the floor when the gig was over.  I forgot to mention that Ethan had gotten back at 7am in the morning from being on tour to make it to the gig and was doing his thing holding down the fort in the back.    An audience member stood up and started screaming “Ethan!  Ethan, I love Ethan!  He’s so good!”  The lady was mimicing his bass movements.  Grooving with him.  This was a jazz gig…I kid you not! I was about to start screaming with her. I thought hey nobody screams louder for my man then me, but then this good looking girl walked by and I forgot.