02.07.14Parranderos to Puerto Rico

Well, we're off! Off to San Juan to record at Playbach Studio with multi-Grammy Award winning producer Ramón Martínez. Hard to believe, given the snow and chilly temps in Des Moines, not to mention the busy work-, music- and family-filled weeks leading up to this weekend. Not that it snuck up on me - we've been heads-down rehearsing and gigging in preparation for this next week, but my head's been packed so tightly with everything under the sun that I haven't been able to be 100% with anything, and I haven't slowed down at all to take this opportunity in and appreciate it yet. I have a feeling that won't happen until our plane rises from the Des Moines runway. While I will sorely miss Lori, Seth and Julian (we haven't had nearly enough time together to relax and just be silly), I am looking forward to this block of time that will allow me to be a fulltime musician, even if for a week, where I can truly focus on my horn, this awesome group of guys and our music. If you haven't yet experienced Parranderos in Des Moines, and you appreciate the different styles of this music, grab some friends and come hang with us!

I'm also looking forward to just being in Puerto Rico and taking in the people, the sites, the ocean, the music, the slower pace, the food. And since Seth's doing his next report on the great Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente, especially his charity work, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for anything related to him while we're there.

Mother Nature -- please don't bring any more snow to Des Moines in the next week. Lori would not appreciate having to shovel the driveway while I'm in the salty air and sun, playing my horn all week. Thanks...I could really use the points, you dig? Lori, thank you for keeping it all together - you're amazing! And to the family all supporting us next week with help - you rock! Boys, be good, and don't get sick or get injured in some bizarre way, like, oh, I don't know, busting your lip open on a cajon.


11.12.13Big Breath - Diving Into the Deep End - Nov/Dec 2013

Greetings, Friends! Thanks to an amazing Fall season of weather, I'm pretty sure this is The Most Beautiful that Iowa has looked since we moved back, some 6 years ago now (omg, not possible!). This summer marked the longest we had stayed in one place in about 25 years. I'm loving experiencing Fall with my wife and boys (now 3 & 8) - the Red Sox winning the World Series, the brilliant fall foliage, seeing our oldest with a full Jacoby Ellsbury beard for Halloween (trimming his beard was a little surreal), we added two 1 y.o. cats to the Fam, and hearing lots of great music from local and visiting pros! **NOTE: There's so much going on, but I hope you Des Moines area folks (especially you trumpet students across Des Moines...I've got my eye on you!) at least have Thursday Dec 5, Dave Douglas Quintet @ Caspe Terrace on your calendar!

The more I immerse myself in the Iowa/Midwest music scene, the more I'm inspired - both from the new and incredible music being made by stellar local artists and also by the TONS of room to explore and push our music!

This is the time of year when things get a little crazy for my family and music, and this year may be the most intense yet. Rest assured, I'm doing my best to balance family and music and day work as carefully as one can. Family-wise, I'm going to do everything I can to spend as much time as possible with my immediate and extended families - there have been WAY too many "life is short" stories recently for our family, and really, across the globe. I'm also growing more concerned about how to grow closer to, and support, our community. I hope you all make time to think about doing the same. We truly need more music, love, volunteerism, civil discourse, acts of kindness, and respect around us, you know what I'm saying?

Musically, most of the creative stuff that I need to get out of my head needs to happen in Alpha State Agents or other projects coming up, and for those opportunities, I'll have to be a little more patient - early months of 2014! In the meantime, however, I'm excited to get opportunities to play pretty much everything else! A couple of cool announcements - I'm back in a Broadway pit for the holidays, and I rejoin the Des Moines Big Band (after a little 20-year hiatus)!

Check out the Calendar to see when I and my friends go nuts these next couple months: you've got your Max Wellman Quintet at Little Big Fest on Friday, our Synergy Jazz Foundation hosting the Dan Haerle Trio on Saturday, Salsa Vibe & Parranderos invading Star Bar a couple times in two weeks (accompanied by your favorite Salsa Des Moines dancers...you get the joy of deciding which is spicier), The Tighten Up Horn Band heating up your soul & moving your feet, and then I pretty much turn into post-angel George Bailey, running around the city shouting "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"...I join the Civic Center Orchestra for Irving Berlin's White Christmas, opening December 10, and then Max & band once again get you into the holiday spirit with our Annual Home For the Holidays Concert on Dec 21. And in case you like your holidays freaky and funky, The Tighten Up Horn lays it down holiday style on Dec 23. Now, sure, you'll want to take a moment to say "Hi" to your Fam & Friends and open gifts and eat and drink and nap and play with your toys. But don't get comfy - we then hit you in the ear with some Des Moines Big Band highlighted by a possible visit from Mr. Trombone Santa himself, Paul McKee. And Parranderos Latin Combo hosts a huge fundraiser at Americana on Dec 28 in support for our February 2014 Puerto Rico recording with Grammy Award Winning Producer Ramon Martinez (PLEASE come and learn about this project (also see the Links section) and show us your love!...um, that means your donations and groovy salsa dance moves, folks), and finally you can ring in 2014 with Salsa Vibe & Parranderos at the Raccoon River Brewery! I may be taking a nap following, but then I'll be back at it.

Interesting Teasers for 2014 --
* Premier of Mike Conrad's COLOSSUS Big Band
* Premier of Erick Thompson's Fun-Time Music Hour
* Return of Dave Rezek's Alpha State Agents
* Collaborations with some KC musicians
* More but I can't tell you yet

Head to the Contact section and submit your email address so that I can add you to the mailing list (which I'm still creating, so be patient, but I should have it going soon). I also do my best to post on my FB page (that familiar blue "f" icon at the bottom of these screens), where you can "friend" me if you haven't already, and keep an eye on that as well. See you out there for lots of this stuff, I hope!

Cheers, and and early Happy Thanksgiving! On that note, I'm very grateful for all of you, as well the blessings around me and those on the way. All the best to you and yours...