Blog -- June 24, 2007 (Part 1)
11/18/2017 6:24:44 AM - BLOG - July 24, 2007

Just thought I'd write a blog to record where things are at right now.

The covers album MY EVER CHANGING MOODS Is about to come out in Japan and I'm gearing up for the Japan tour just two weeks away. The jacket artwork color print check came to me and it looks okay. I've gotten positive comments on the album jacket, certainly different from anything I've done 'til now which is a good thing, but I'm not 100% happy with the quality of the picture and photography. I got an email last week asking which song should be pushed as the single, and they suggested "Call Me" or "I'm Gonna Love You," both which I thought came out good but I'm not sure if it would stand out in the radio play as something people would listen to and be propelled to go out and buy. I suggested "Journey to the Light" which I know is long but I'm sure could be edited, and I feel has a lot more pazzaz to it to stand up to the gluttony of pop music out there.

The live last week at Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm Party was fantastic. As usual I felt under-prepared and was extremely stressed out over a ton of things, mostly feeling that I had an overwhelming amount of preparation and work to do before the tour and not having enough time to do everything. As is always the case, preparing for the live also is quite time consuming, things people never foresee. The rehearsal was a bit of a disaster as we came late (how embarrassing to come late to your own rehearsal -- we'd gotten caught in terrible traffic on the way in, plus Sasha insisted on parking the car close to my parents' place uptown before heading downtown for the rehearsal), the percussionist Pernell had to split by 3pm, I'd forgotten to bring a piece of music with me (fortunately it was in the computer so we were able to print it out later before the gig), and I had a faint fever probably due to all the stress. To make matters worse, the sound at the rehearsal studio was awful -- I sounded like I was coming out of a can -- and Sasha and I were bickering in front of everyone, another embarrassment. I was trying out a new drummer, Obed Calvaire who Henry had introduced me to, as well as Pernell who was recommended by Antonio Sanchez and they felt good during the rehearsal, very professional and easy comprehension of the music and styles.

Sound check the following day was a bit of a disaster. Everyone came on time but the set up by the house engineer as well as Paul, our sound man, was taking longer than probably they had anticipated. The club was made to be a DJ club and they had to make a stage and reset all the monitors, etc. After a some tense moments, though, things began to gel, and actually sounded great at the end. The staff there were really great, so respectful and really took care of us. When the night came, I so wanted to hear Joe's DJ set and got a little sampling for a good 20 minutes or so before we hit. He was playing some really great stuff on the afro beat tip and the audience was loving it. He introduced us in the sweetest way and off we went. The sound was not the best in the beginning, but by the 3rd tune I felt something kicking in both in the sound system and also my voice, and the band was sounding really hot. I practically performed a parade of house hits, doing the songs Joe and I had worked on together, "Mysteries of Life" and "Chasing After the Sun," as well as my version of "Higher" which was the first time I'd ever performed this song live, "Star Suite," "Sunshine After the Rain," and "The Right Time." I stuck "Yellow Bird" in there for good effect. The crowd was so responsive and as one friend who was there put it afterwards, it felt like a lovefest. I really felt great about this night and Joe sent me the sweetest note afterwards, words which I treasure.

This last week has been spent creating material from the "My Ever Changing Moods" recordings to upload onto the program we use to generate parts for our upcoming tour in Japan. Really mundane stuff that uses a part of my noggin that refuses to work properly. In fact, this is the type of tedious work that I HATE the most as I feel it just drains my creativity but is an unnecessary evil in order for us to continue touring with the small budgets that are allowed us these days. Reality. I have another week of work to do with this, something I'm not looking forward to.

On an upswing, there are two more projects coming up this week that I'm really looking forward to although they are both under a time crunch! One is a recording that suddenly came up -- Hashimoto-san of the Free Soul compilation fame is putting together an Antonio Carlos Jobim 80th anniversary tribute album, and I have been invited to be featured in one of the tracks. They gave me two choices, to either just be featured as a vocalist with someone arranging it, or doing the arrangement myself. I first chose the former as I realized I didn't have the time to get into arranging with all I had to do before the tour and the deadline was the beginning of July before I went to Japan, but after discussing things with Sasha, he said he could take on the arrangement which I knew he would do a great job and to be able to use our pool of great musicians here in New York who would really do the songs justice seemed like a smart move. So that recording is coming up tomorrow as I write this, June 25th. Another project that I'm excited about is the opportunity to do a remix, something I always love to get my head around for the challenge, for a young Japanese singer named Kim Bianca. She has a very nice voice, looks great in the photos, and works with some staff members who I'm friends with. I still don't have any idea what I'm going to do with it, and the recording is coming up on June 30th!! Yikes! Pressure, pressure...

(cont'd)
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