Friday, January 24, 2003

Well, it looks like I'm not going to be posting too often to this page. The problem right now is that I don't want to be doing a lot of posting from work and in the evening during the week I've usually got enough other stuff to do (i.e. read, practice my guitar, guitar classes) that I don't have time for it. Also, since I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer, I'm not usually interested in using my computer at home. I'll try to make it a bit more frequent, just in case there is anyone at all reading this, but no promises.

Last night was another concert. This one was jazz/ R & B. We went to see Diane Reeves at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Since I live/work in the south bay area, this is quite a trek - particularly on a work day when you have to fight the commute traffic. And of course it turned out there was a Cal (that's University of California at Berkeley in case you were wondering) basketball game going on, which means the already scarce parking near the campus will be basically non-existant. We ended up parking about 10 blocks away and walking in.

The show was quite good. I'm not really a fan of the kind of vocal work Dianne Reeves does, but given that, I enjoyed the show. Her backing band was excellent and most of the songs had plenty of room for them to stretch out and show their chops, whether it was on piano, bass or drums The first half had some nice standards in it and Dianne Reeves does have an excellent voice when she is sticking to the melody. Her vocal acrobatics are in style but as I said above, not quite to my taste. For some reason I have a lot more tolerance for an instrumentalist indulging that way than I do for the same activity in a vocalist. For example, scat-singing usually just sound silly to me, even when done by those usually judged as expert at it.

The second half of the show was more R&B oriented and I liked it a little less. Again, the backing music by her band was the saving grace. They had some very nice funk grooves going with interesting improvisations mixed in.

In other news, a scary article on Opinion Journal today about the percentage of black students that graduate high school/pass basic testing. I'm originally from Canada and I always thought our schools were lousy, but when I compare them to things like this or to the stories my girlfriend tells about going to school in Pinole, they come out looking a lot better. I had to deal with dull teachers, incompetent staff and misguided curriculums, but I not only learned to read, I also learned the basics of math and science. That's not saying much given what schools should be teaching, but I guess in the education lottery, I came out OK.

That's it for tonight. Tomorrow I have to choose between climbing and guitar workshop during the day. Paul Mehling of the Hot Club of San Francisco is giving a clinic at Gryphon Stringed Instruments where I take a lot of my other classes. But going to that means no climbing, since I can't play worth a damn for about 8 hours after I climb. Decisions, decisions.

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