John Salerno Band – Orleans Village Green - July 11, 2017
Salerno’s outfit is old school jazz, mining the society/easy listening vein, but his veterans know how to inject sufficient verve into the various chestnuts (nothing was unfamiliar to me) to keep it interesting. And hey, there’s a reason those songs are/were so popular; it’s nice to hear them presented by players who breathe them as second nature. Salerno’s association with drummer Vitali goes back decades. Ted Kennedy used to call Salerno whenever he breezed into Hyannis, to come entertain at the compound, including singing some old Irish tunes with momma Rose.
Derek Gripper - Lincoln Center Rubenstein Atrium - June 22, 2017
Solo guitarist (nylon strings) Gripper is South African, and has dedicated himself to showcasing both folk songs of his country (continent, actually) and works by its modern composers. Some of the latter need to be transposed from original instrumentation into guitar, a whole other can of worms – he seems to have staked out this unique turf to follow wherever it leads, and to my ears he does ‘em justice. He’s also assimilated plenty from the standard classical canon, blowing the socks off some Bach (who composed not a note for guitar).
Ramsey Lewis - BAM Metrotech - June 8, 2017
Jazz instrumentalist Lewis from Chicago had a few top 10 hits in the 1960′s. Of course, he had some career going before that, but once he hit it big on the pop charts, the sustain pedal on his career was to the floor, momentum carrying on until today. His stuff is fusion groove-oriented, so towards the end of the gig my focus was divided and I was ready ready to get those autographs and go.
Henry Johnson & Joshua Ramos
Charles R. Heath
Busking Rome - April 2017
Part of the reason for the delay in new material on this site is due to the twin blessings of intense genealogical research in advance of (as well as subsequent to) a trip to the ancestral Sicilian homeland. But first there was an obligatory three days in Rome, seemingly an eternal busker’s paradise. (Vatican also seems to be a beggar’s paradise, but that’s another story). The winding vicolos connecting this and that plaza, the ubiquitous al fresco dining, are conducive to wandering musicians, with a heavy emphasis on accordion and “Funiculi Funicula”. At least the jazz trio was rooted in one place long enough to allow me to settle into a groove; I was the wanderer for that one. I don’t know if the Sneaker Painter is technically a busker, but he had to get put somewhere. Verrocchi is apparently a screen actor in Italy; here he seems to be doing some stuff on the side (the image being added to the sneakers is of Frida Kahlo), at a place called “Acid Drop”; hmmmm…
Jazz Trio - Piazza Sant'Egidio
Jim Campilongo Trio – Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium - March 19, 2017
Three in a row for Greenwich Library, hats off! Campilongo is the “Master of the Telecaster”. He’s wonky into his guitar specs, and he knows what sounds he wants and which precise hardware configuration will deliver. As testimony to this outcome, Fender has a signature model of his axe in production. And the foot pedal/effects he played through: zero, no crutches. I’m still not sure how he got the tremolo effect without the whammy bar, but am beyond caring. Aside from Dion doing vocals on the cover of Cream’s “Politician”, this was an all-instrumental set. The jazz-oriented and hillbilly hiccup music was at a moderate volume, but the rock stuff was LOUD. Poor planning had the leader’s portrait spilling onto the facing page, so the two pieces reassembled in a slapdash manner. Campilongo was Sharpie-less at the merch signing table afterwards, so I left him mine to use and keep, as me & Toots departed for supper.
Ringrose & Freeman - Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium - March 12, 2017
Sometimes we just gotta drag ourselves out of home and make the effort. For this, in honor of St.Paddy’s, there was a delightful reward of expertly performed trad Irish music, a nice assortment (we’re glad there were two “friends” along), touching enough to get me teary emotional a few times – especially the parts about the journey and loss (“Wild Mountain Thyme”, the closer, in particular got to me). Ringrose took care of the humor department with a couple of wry jokes of the genre. Of course, concert not long enough for me to get the paintings to where I wanted them, but I resisted any post-retouching.
Jeanne Freeman & Mary Gardner
Dan Ringrose and Loretta Egan Murphy
Busking NYC - Satish Robertson/Nobuyuki Yamasaki - February 2017
Got waaaay too busy, common state of affairs, and wasn’t intending to be sketching at all on this day – had no proper supplies. But these guys were pretty soulful and had the chops, so I made do for a few minutes in Columbus Circle station to catch a few numbers. Then put it aside without recording the exact date. Yeah, too busy!
Satish Robertson & Nobuyuki Yamasaki
Bernard Purdie - Greenwich Library Cole Audiorium - February 4, 2017
Another senior citizen still going strong, kept vital and young at heart by making people happy doing what he loves. Purdie got touted as the most recorded drummer of all time, and he’s certainly a contender, having collaborated with an immense spectrum of musicians. And with no shortage of funk. For my little chat at the signing table, I mentioned that I caught him at the famous 1979 Carnegie Hall Dizzy Gillespie drummer summit “Unity with Diversity”; Purdie said that he was the one that actually put that concert together! He took requests during the break, resulting in a realignment of the second set. I couldn’t believe my pen crapped out before I could finish guitarist Cicala, that’s why he got the blues.
Sketchcrawl #54 - ChinaTown, NYC - January 28, 2017
We had close to 20 SketchCrawlers out for the Chinese New Year (of the Rooster). Couldn’t really get too close to the festivities, soooo crowded, but that was no impediment to the sketching. After a few hours out in the blustery cold we retired to the accommodating Empanada Mama restaurant, sketched each other, and took turns showing the work of the day.
Busking NYC - Muammer Aryar / Grupo Wayno - January 12, 2017
Two sets of buskers in the subway today; a solo and an enemble. Muammer performed at Union Square station. And Grupo Wayno, a trio, was at Herald Square, a reliable standby location; at first I thought the name was some kind of goof, but it turns out that “Wayno” is a variant of “huayno”, an Andean music genre, associated with the Quechua people. They all had pre-recorded tracks as accompaniment, a practice that I, the purist snob, have long derided on this blog. These days it’s just the way of the world, at least in the busk world. I can still enjoy. I definitely did not have enough colors with me to do justice to the serapes of the Grupo, astoundingly chromatic, I just threw whatever I had onto the paper.