Jazz and Chihuly

“Jazz is the music of the body. The breath comes through brass. It is the body’s breath, and the strings’ wails and moans are echoes of the body’s music. It is the body’s vibrations which ripple from the fingers. And the mystery of the withheld theme, known to jazz musicians alone, is like the mystery of our secret life. We give to others only peripheral improvisations.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5: 1947-1955

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, Texas

jazz_chihuly

Hovercraft Halloween

Last Thursday, Halloween, was the last Patio Sessions of the season. These are really nice little free concerts held down in the Dallas Arts District – I’ve been going to as many of these as I can. It’s tough to get down there on time after work, but I rush out and grab a train and usually get there with no problems.

I had circled this one on the calendar because Home by Hovercraft was performing. I am a big fan – have seen them in Klyde Warren Park and in Deep Ellum and enjoyed their theatrical performances, music that doesn’t really fit into any genre that I’m aware of. Their concerts will be on hold for a bit as they prepare for another run of their musical, On The Eve, this time at Theater Three (I am really looking forward to this).

In Halloween style, they were in costume, as were more than a few of the folks present. By the end of the concert, there was a clot of folks decked out in bizarre outfits dancing along the edge of the reflecting pool (sorry, no photos – it was too dark by then). Pretty surreal and a lot of fun.

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Best step-dancing, xylophone playing horse I've seen in awhile.

Best step-dancing, xylophone playing horse I’ve seen in awhile.

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Home by Hovercraft, at the ATT Patio Sessions, Dallas, Texas

Naked Lunch at Lee Harvey’s

A while back we were driving down to the Cedars with a couple friends in the car, looking for something to do. We thought we’d stop by Lee Harvey’s for a beer and maybe a burger, but when we arrived there wasn’t a parking spot in blocks and the beer garden was packed. We weren’t looking for that kind of a crowd – we wanted more of a mellow scene – so we passed by. I was wondering what had attracted that many people so I looked it up later. It was a band called Naked Lunch – a Steely Dan tribute band.

Over time I kept hearing, here and there, how good Naked Lunch was. They were scheduled to play Friday Evening and I thought about going, but the week had been brutal, I was feeling my age, and decided I needed to stay home. Luckily, powerful thunderstorms tore through the Metroplex and the show (semi outdoors) was moved to Sunday afternoon.

I was checking the time out on Lee Harvey’s Facebook Page – and noticed their free food contest. Most days, the fifth commenter on their daily post gets a free drink and entree. I usually never paid attention, but this time I couldn’t help but notice that the post only had two comments. I counted to thirty… then typed “Can’t Buy A Thrill” into the comment line and was surprised to find out I had timed it right and was the winner.

So now we had to go.

Which was extra good because the weather was beautiful (there is no better weather… not even California weather… than late-summer Texas a day or two after a big storm) and the band was most excellent.

Naked Lunch has been playing Steely Dan for fifteen years now… and they have got it about figured out. At one point I was sitting at a picnic table, eating a bit and had my back turned to the band. I remember thinking, “If I didn’t know that was a tribute band playing, I would think someone was spinning some Steely Dan vinyl behind me.”

Of course, to put on a Steely Dan show you need a whale of a band (a lot more than you need for, say, Simon and Garfunkel). Three piece sax/horn section, two guitars, base, drums, xylophone/percussion, keyboards, and a couple of female backup singers. It makes for a big sound.

Since it was a rescheduled afternoon show it wasn’t quite as big a crowd as the time we had driven by. Still, there were a lot of folks, a very diverse crowd, and everybody had a great time.

At a show like this, with so much music over so long of a time, you have to think about what your favorite Steely Dan song is. For someone my age, “Reeling in the Years,” has to be the iconic piece of music, with its rambunctious guitars… or is it “Do it Again”? – man that one brings back memories, but in this, the second decade of the twenty-first century, neither are my favorite. The one I like best is “My Old School” and that amazing horn line. I’ve always had a weakness for instrumentals.

The only downside is that they didn’t do “Dirty Work” – Candy’s favorite.

Naked Lunch at Lee Harvey's

Naked Lunch at Lee Harvey’s

They may be called "Backup Singers" but they're pretty important, if you ask me.

They may be called “Backup Singers” but they’re pretty important, if you ask me.

Sax and trumpet.

Sax and trumpet.

Xylophone and percussion.

Xylophone and percussion.

Naked Lunch at Lee Harvey's

Naked Lunch at Lee Harvey’s

Another reason we like to go to Lee Harvey’s on Sundays is that they usually hold benefits for animal rescue groups and there are a lot of dogs in the garden. Candy likes that. Today, Dallas Pets Alive was having their anniversary party. They were selling raffle tickets and Candy, to support the group, bought a handful. Our luck held and we won a 50 buck gift certificate for Lee Harvey’s.

So I guess we’ll be back.

Five Friends

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
― Albert Camus

Klyde Warren Park, Dallas, Texas

“Is it possible, in the final analysis, for one human being to achieve perfect understanding of another?
We can invest enormous time and energy in serious efforts to know another person, but in the end, how close can we come to that person’s essence? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”
― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

five_friends

(click for a larger version on Flickr)

“Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become. Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Another Set List on the Green

I had a lot of fun last week at the Set List on the Green – downtown Dallas in Klyde Warren Park. So much fun that, braving a bit of chill, I hopped a train and headed down as the sun set.

What Set List is about is, on Thursdays at 6:30 PM they have six local musicians take the stage for a half-hour set each. What is cool is the wide variety of talent (and, frankly, wide range of talent) on display. Though, not surprisingly, the musical stylings tend toward the folk/acoustic/country/songwriter sort of thing… your really don’t know what to expect.

It makes for a nice evening. A chair or blanket on the grass, a bit of sustenance from a local gourmet food truck, a beer or glass of wine from a nearby stand, and some good local music. I am compiling quite a list of music that I like and am able to follow them around the city… find stuff I like. It’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

This is only the second SOG (Setlist On the Green) and it’s the last of the season. Due to the impending cold weather (yes, it does get semi-cold here in Dallas in the dead of winter) they will be on hiatus until March. I’m looking forward to it starting up again… though if they go on Thursdays, they will compete with the Patio Sessions nearby…. so little time, so many choices.

At any rate, the lineup this week:

next_week_set_list

This time, I did drag my camera along.

Arianne Gray

Arianne Gray

Tyler Lowe

Tyler Lowe

Nicholas Altobelli

Nicholas Altobelli

Claire Fowler

Claire Fowler

Carl Sullivan and the Rising Suns

Carl Sullivan and the Rising Suns