Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cool Gigs with Sinne Eeg

Sinne Eeg
I've had a busy May in terms of playing. I did a Northwest "tour" with my band Theoretical Planets; we did a cool night at Tula's in Seattle, Washington and then rounded back for an evening at Girasole, a venue in North Portland. Then I headed to Europe for a short tour with guitarist extraordinaire Tom Guarna; we did two nights in Rome at Gregory's, one great concert in Muri, Switzerland, and then a nice gig at A-Trane in Berlin. With little time to rest, I went into the studio with my former student and young saxophone phenom Nicole Glover to record her debut CD as a leader; we had a fun two day session at Kung Fu Bakery. In addition to some trio gigs at Jo Bar, I did a house concert and a night at Wine Up on Williams with another saxophone phenom, Rob Scheps. We had a nice trio with Paul Gabrielson on bass; Scheps had me playing piano, drums, pocket trumpet, and on one tune, drums AND pocket trumpet at the same time. (I didn't shy away from the challenge of playing one handed trumpet, riding with my left hand, and transposing a concert chart on Homecoming by Dave Holland, but if you didn't hear it, I'm cool with that. ) On the house concert, we had a special guest named John Moak, an outstanding trombonist who really knocked me out! I also got to play some drums with a nice trio consisting of piano phenom Dan Gaynor, who is one of Portland's most unsung musicians, and Jon Lakey, a great bassist and musician. We had a nice hit down in Eugene at Roaring Rapids Pizza, one of the best places to play in Oregon. Finally, I got to play on a Master's recital at Michelle's Pianos; Melissa Carroll did a great job with her repertoire selection and her performance of some challenging Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz tunes. It didn't feel like a recital- it felt like a gig! ( Which is what it;s supposed to feel like!)

But perhaps the stand out of the month so far has been two concerts with Danish vocalist Sinne Eeg. I met Eeg in 2008 in a week-long jazz camp in Denmark. We jammed a bit and hit it off musically. We did a tour of Denmark in 2009, and one other hit at the Rochester Jazz Festival in 2011. But I hadn't seen her in a while. She has been staying in Los Angeles recently, so I thought it would be cool to have her come up to Oregon to do some duo playing. We had a really nice concert here at PSU; I think our jazz vocal students were quite impressed.

Sinne Eeg is in some ways a traditional jazz singer; her roots are in Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McCrae. However, she has been writing a lot of her own music, which not only reflects a more forward looking harmonic sense but is also reflective of her own life, which is what artistry is supposed to be, in my opinion. Furthermore, Eeg has been developing her sense of the blues, which was evident in her " I'm An Evil Girl" performance. There's a maturity in her approach that I'm more impressed with now that we are collaborating again after a few years of hiatus. We also got in our two favorite Bonnie Raitt tunes, " I Can't Make You Love Me, " and " I Ain't Gonna Let You Break My Heart Again."

The day after the PSU concert, Sinne Eeg and I drove to sunny Eugene where we performed at the Broadway House Concert series. Paul and Peggy Bodin open their home to the public for jazz concerts which mostly feature musicians from Eugene but occasionally have some out-of-towners like me and Eeg. These days, the lack of venues and lack of support force people to take matters into their own hands, and I'm always interested in supporting grass roots efforts to keep the music alive and keep musicians working. We sold out the "house" and judging from the attentiveness of the audience, I think we were a hit. Hopefully it won't be another 4 years before I hit with Sinne Eeg again!

from the Broadway House Concert

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