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Archive for February, 2019

Playin’ The Blues With Dave Specter In Chicago

February 21st, 2019 Jorma 6 comments

So I was playing at Space up in Evanston outside of Chicago a couple of years ago and I became friends with Dave Specter, a great blues guitarist. Dave’s the one who got me fired up bout Fender Jazzmasters. (Now I have two. Thanks Dave!) I had been sitting on some lyrics I wrote some years ago called, ‘The Blues Aint’ Nothin.’ Try as I might, was never able to come up with the music for it as much as I liked the lyrics. I gave the lyrics to Dave and he set them to music and did an arrangement. He was going to include this tune on his new album and asked me to come to Chicago to play on it. ‘Count me in!’ I loaded up my truck with my Louis Electric Deltone and my Gibson Custom Shop Beano Les Paul and up the road I went.

The weather sucked all the way up. Non stop snow… but nothing was sticking. With heated seats and four wheel drive, ‘Bring it on,’ I said! I made it up to Evanston where the hotel was in about nine hours and right there in the hotel was a farm to table restaurant. The Farmhouse more than rocked. Two dinners and a breakfast. Delightful!

Anyway, back to music. Tuesday noonish I drove over to the Delmark Studios. Delmark has an almost seven decade tradition of great records. Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Anthony Braxton, Fareed Haque and more have all been a part of this amazing legacy. Julia Miller, the President and CEO is more than keeping this legacy alive. Without losing the lineage she is moving into the future with fearless artistic integrity.

Welcoming me to the nerve center!

Welcoming me to the nerve center!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We were cutting live, so I put my amp in the Ladies Room for isolation. The first of the great musicians I met was Harlan Lee Terson, bassist.

Photographer Harvey Tillis and Harlan Terson

Photographer Harvey Tillis and Harlan Terson

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Photographer Harvey Tillis was on hand to document the session and I got to pick his brain a bit about some photography geekery.

The personnel was as follows:

Dave Specter, guitar and vocals
John Kattke, piano, organ and vocals
Marty Binder, Drums
Harlan Terson, Bass
Jorma Kaukonen, guitar
Steve Wagner, engineer

Marty at the drums...

Marty at the drums...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

John Kattke at the hundred year old Steinway

John Kattke at the hundred year old Steinway

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We got the two tunes I was involved in cut in about five hours and I got ready to say goodbye to my new pals.

Harlan, Jorma, Dave, Marty and John

Harlan, Jorma, Dave, Marty and John

Foto by Harvey Tillis

It was a true honor for me to be a guest of Dave’s on this project. More than good times. It was also more than exciting to see what Julia is doing to shepherd Delmark into the 21st Century.

The job done, I loaded up the truck and drove back to the Fur Peace Ranch. Traffic, of course, getting out of Chicago in the AM and then non stop rain for the next 400 miles.

Cracker Barrel and the puzzle... I can do it.

Cracker Barrel and the puzzle... I can do it.

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

A grand trip!

A few more studio shots:

Me and Dave in situ

Me and Dave in situ

Foto by Harvey Tillis

Overdub time!

Overdub time!

Floto by Harvey Tillis

Pondering the muse

Pondering the muse

Foto by Harvey Tillis

Second Week In Sanibel… And Home…

February 10th, 2019 Jorma 36 comments
The Master... enjoying a masterful moment!

The Master... enjoying a masterful moment!

Foto by John Hurlbut

Our second week at Sanibel was a so called ‘Master’s” class. I am a little reluctant to use such terms of exalted description but the guys guys could all really play well and were all ‘masters’ in their own realm. This class was a little experiment on my part and I shall digest the results from my point of view in time. I had been thinking about what I could offer a good player in such a class. Song catching is important, but anyone can learn a song. To me it is the interpretation, the way one communicates and inflects emotion in an accessible way that is important. In my own way I tried to talk about what I consider to be the four important qualities in a musician. Technique, Tone, Timing and Taste… not necessarily in that order. I’ll wait for some feedback to determine how successful I was.

Including the jam Cruise and the four gigs Acoustic Hot Tuna did in Florida by the time I landed yesterday I had been gone a month. I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and the quality of life to be found on Sanibel, but here at home I’m not minding the sub freezing weather at all!

Anyway, Thursday night Hurl and I did a little show for friends and Ranchers in the FPR Room at the Sundial Resort.

Pure acoustic, the way it was meant to be!

Pure acoustic, the way it was meant to be!

Foto by Pete Stern

After about a half an hour with me, Johnny took center stage and I had the honor of accompanying him for about an hour!

Johhny and me...

Johhny and me...

Foto by Pete Stern

This is big fun for both of us and on Friday the 15th, we’ll be playing four our Valentine’s Day Dinner here at the Fur Peace Ranch!

As for sunny Sanibel in the winter…

Going...

Going...

Foto by John Hurlbut

Going

Going

Foto by John Hurlbut

Gone

Gone

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Home, Home, Home

FPR & Sanibel Sunshine

February 4th, 2019 Jorma 22 comments
The Songwriting Gentlemen

The Songwriting Gentlemen

Foto by John Hurlbut

Last week we hosted a songwriting workshop here at the Sundial Beach Resort in Sanibel. I never cease to be humbled by the passion and honesty that all our students in Songwriting Workshops manifest. Every writer in this year’s gaggle of guys (no ladies this session for some reason) really rose to the occasion. It was an exciting week for me! After the wrap up Friday morning John H. and I took the moments to do some walking, swimming and relaxing!

If you're a shell hunter, this is the place to be!

If you're a shell hunter, this is the place to be!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We found ourselves walking three to four miles a day which to many might not be much… but it was a move forward for me!

Not much surf but look at the sky!

Not much surf but look at the sky!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The beach was made for long walks.

The pelican tree

The pelican tree

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

People and wildlife coexist nicely here on Sanibel… there are amazing scenes everywhere!

The sunsets on the West Coast of Florida are well... you see!

The sunsets on the West Coast of Florida are well... you see!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Weather is well… weather. As the air temps rose, the juxtaposition with the cooler water made for a deep fog.

Still warm... still a potential for sunburn!

Still warm... still a potential for sunburn!

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

It is Monday today and our students are coming in for a week long master class. I look forward to all my classes, but this one should be really fun!

Onward!