Saturday, January 29, 2011

Recent Gigs and Activities

Rayannah Kroeker
I'm just mini-posting regarding my musical activities this past weekend in Winnipeg. First, on Friday night, I brought a trio into a small bookstore cafe called McNally-Robinson. This was not my usual trio, however. I asked bassist Steve Kirby and vocalist Rayannah Kroeker to join me in presenting some new music for the first time. To back track a bit, I've been on a songwriting/lyric-writing kick since November of 2010, and unfortunately, my own singing voice sounds like yodeling Slim Whitman on PCP. So I enlisted Miss Kroeker to lend her lovely voice to my music. She clearly put in a lot of time on the songs, and some of them are not easy to learn. Professor Kirby eliminated the need for a drummer with his consistent pulse and deep groove; many of the tunes had a funky edge, and Kirby seemed to be channeling a combination of James Jamerson and Jimmy Garrison all at once.

The music performance is unfortunately a bit of an afterthought in this bookstore cafe;many of the audience members are there mostly to eat dinner. However, it's a decent sounding venue and some friends came out to listen:local young phenoms Will Bonness sat in on piano, as did Luke Sellick on bass. All in all, a great night and I was pleasantly surprised as to how the songs came out (thanks to Kroeker's wonderful interpretation and Kirby's supportive bass). The last time I really wrote lyrics before last year was when I wrote the Centennial High School Fight Song in 1987, but that's another story for another blog.

Kelly Hughes, proprietor of Aqua Books
Saturday was a long day. I began the day with an open rehearsal at the new hot spot for music in Winnipeg:Aqua Books. I've been preparing for my stint as the Songwriter-in Residence at Aqua Books, something that Kelly Hughes, the proprietor of the bookstore/cultural venue asked me to do a few months ago. My idea for the residency was to present my songs in the form of two concerts, and feature singers affiliated with the University of Manitoba Jazz Program. I realize that it might have been easier to sing the songs myself, (Did I mention that my singing voice sounds like yodeling Slim Whitman on PCP?), but I thought that it would be interesting to see how these young singers interpreted the music.

We rehearsed from around 3:30 to 6pm, and boy, was it fun! Instructor Anna- Lisa Kirby and her students Amber Epp, Heitha Forsythe, Brooke Van Ryssel, Joanna Majoko,  and Erin Propp were all outstanding. All of them clearly did their homework. and brought something special to the music. The performances will be February 10th at 9pm and March 12th at 8pm. I'm really excited about it, and somewhat relieved, now that I have heard the material sung by real singers! Also, we will be joined by genius bassist Karl Kohut and drum wizard Curtis Nowasad.

After a light dinner at the Eat!Bistro, which is connected to the bookstore, I played drums with the Kerry Politzer trio. Kerry is my wife, and she is not only a brilliant jazz pianist, but an amazingly prolific singer-songwriter. Karl Kohut stayed to play bass with us. This night was not only the first time Kerry has sung in three years, it is kind of a comeback- after the birth of our son Liam over a year ago.

Furthermore, this was Kerry's first time playing guitar in public-a fact which even a guitarist in the audience was surprised to hear, due to Kerry's proficiency on the instrument.  Kerry's easily one of the most talented people I know, and I am a fan of her songs and her singing. I believe that the audience was pleasantly surprised and impressed, if not also emotionally moved. After a moving ballad entitled "Joseph", a woman in the front row was in tears.( or maybe it was because of my terrible drumming. Not sure about that one....)I'm hoping Kerry will get more chances to perform in Winnipeg later in the year.

A long day, but a satisfying one. Songs, songs, and more songs!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Now you're comparing your singing voice to Slim Whitman? (I'm starting to miss the Chipmunk references!)

    But seriously, both you and Kerry are perhaps the most talented people I know, and hope you realize I don't say that lightly!

  3. Ask the band leader and other more experienced players what they liked about your playing and more importantly what they didn't like about your playing. Most people will probably say "Oh you sounded great", but occasionally you will get some very insightful words of wisdom that can lead to some fruitful practicing and musical growth. fulvic ionic mineralsπλαστικοι χειρουργοι

  4. menopause supplementsDJ Whoo Kid mixtapesNow you're comparing your singing voice to Slim Whitman? (I'm starting to miss the Chipmunk references!)

    But seriously, both you and Kerry are perhaps the most talented people I know, and hope you realize I don't say that lightly!


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