Band Called Catch at Martyrs – Record Release and 10 Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Band Called Catch played our first show? Man-o-man how time flys… This calls for a party and we’re excited to also be releasing a new record! We’re so honored to share this night with such a great lineup! The night kicks off with an acoustic set from Laura Glyda, followed by our friends Buffalo Rose, then the one and only Todd Kessler. Things keep going with the talented Friends of the Bog, followed by an hour set from Band Called Catch! THEN – STICK AROUND as many of the performers throughout the evening join forces for a closing night sing-along tribute set we’re calling the “kaleidoscope jam!”

ALSO! Past members from BCC will also be joining us on stage like Eli Plasencia, Ian Kelly Davis, Darcy Wood and more TBA! It’s gonna be some crazy good fun.

Tickets are $10 at the door.

High Hat Second Line at Simon’s

The resurrection of the High Hat Second Line continues! Strap on those dancing shoes, prepare to be filled with holiday cheer through the miracle that is Glogg, and let us lead you in a night of merriment. The thrill is in your feet as you dance to that beat called the second line.

High Hat Second Line at Simon’s

The High Hat Second Line makes it’s triumphant return to Simon’s in Andersonville after a long break! Come dance, sing, and be merry!

Four Star Brass Band – Arts in the Dark – Halloween Parade of Artists

Four Star Brass Band participates in the Arts in the Dark Parade for the City of Chicago for the 2nd year. This time with less rain!

Arts in the Dark – Halloween Parade of Artists draws together Chicago’s vast creative community, from world-renowned cultural institutions to aspiring artists in every field. Lookingglass Theatre will delight the crowd with characters from their Alice production and will partner with performers from The Actor’s Gymnasium, The Art Institute and School of the Art Institute will march in medieval-style armor, Broadway In Chicago will invite their devoted fans to dress up as their favorite Broadway characters, 1871 will have a float modeled after the Chicago Merchandise Mart, and After School Matters will have multiple programs participating including West Town Bikes with decorated cycles and riders, the Mariachi Ensemble, Aztec Dance Chicago and The Art of Drumming.

On Columbus Dr. moving north from Balbo Ave. to Monroe St.

Back to Bangkok

Two years after my last visit, I find myself back at the Swan Hotel off of Charoen Krung Road near the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. Coming back to this city for the 4th time, as a jumping off point for further travel to Indonesia, Malaysia, and parts unknown as of yet, I’m struck by how different this city is from my first visit nearly 7 years ago. Steel and glass high rises have replaced many of the low rise concrete buildings. In place of small soi’s (side streets) filled with bustling restaurants and mini-marts are now bigger plazas catering to western tastes.

It would be easy to write a commentary on gentrification, and commercializations as a vehicle to drive out the working class (especially feeling that pinch in Chicago, and the USA right now), but in Bangkok, you’ll still find the two in harmony in much of the city – for now. I’m happy to just be in the midst of a global community, seeing the new mixed in with the old, and so many people wandering, exploring, and smiling at the wonder that is Bangkok, and the promise of adventure in travel.

What seems like minimal baggage on departure.

We arrived late Thursday, January 12th after a 13 hour flight to Tokyo, followed by a 5 hour flight to Bangkok. Immediately upon exiting the plane one is hit with the sticky humidity that becomes a part of life in Southeast Asia. Warmer layers piled on in Chicago, and during the flight are quickly shed and stuffed into carry-on baggage.

Our first stop was an Air BnB off of the Phra Khanong sky train stop.

 

We booked more out of curiosity of expat Bangkok high-rise living more than out of a necessity for western comforts (the dated 60/70’s style Bangkok hotels you find everywhere, like the Swan, are just fine). However, it was nice to have a full apartment, kitchen, refrigerator, and washing machine at our disposal for the first five days.

Talking to a local Thai chef, Ying, the next evening we learned that many of these high-rises are about 70% empty, which is why it’s easy to rent for Air BnB.

Rooftop views Sukhumvit Soi 71

One amazing thing about travel is that you still run into people you know from all over the world. Our first full night here included drinks with Ryan Wizniak, the drummer for Elephant Gun (and just played with 5 days before my trip) Sky Train Jazz Bar, at a great little place near Victory Monmument. Sangsom flows, the music is good, and Ultraman watches you pee.

Bathroom views at Sky Train Jazz Bar

The first weekend was filled with that Bangkok right of passage, Chatuchak (known as JJ) market. A labyrinth of stalls selling everything from clay Buddha amulets to massive pieces of furniture, as well as any piece of clothing you could ever buy (need a fur coat in 90 degree heat, they’ve got you covered!).

Long days of walking, buying, and sweating lead to early nights of sleeping and trying to shed the jet lag, which holds on a little tighter every year that passes.

Now, sitting poolside at the Swan, we contemplate our next move, whether Myanmar, or an island, before heading south so I can collect memories, photos, and visas not yet obtained.

More updates soon, and some saxophone trouble is sure to follow.

Michelin Man Cowboys

BKK Low Rise

BKK High Rise Plaza

Why do I travel? This overused Mark Twain Quote sums it up quite nicely:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

 

 

Small Time, Big Time

It’s been a long time since I’ve written in this space, but it won’t be too long before the next entry… More about that later.

This year has been the most active in my life as a musician. If you’ve checked up on my gig calendar (one part of this site I’ve kept up with, for the most part) you’ve seen that most weeks I’ve fit in 2-3, sometimes 5+ gigs in a week while working a 9-5. It’s not the easiest schedule, but pursuit of passion and happiness… It does pay off sometimes.

This year I’ve played the regular clubs in Chicago, I’ve played basements and bars, I’ve played the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, and last night I played to an almost sold out crowd at the House of Blues. Through years of studying music, and jazz, I never in my wildest dreams envisioned a night where I would look out on around 1,000 people bopping up and down and watching the stage with awe (maybe a little inflated). 45 minutes of adrenaline, smiles, and one of the highest highs I’ve experienced on stage.

One of the most surreal, and quite frankly weirdest experiences from the evening was after I left the stage. Gear packed, I headed to the main floor to find my girlfriend, and had about 10 people recognize me from the stage, asking to take pictures, deliver compliments, and seem entirely too enthused about meeting me, TK, from an opening band. Attention from girls who I would have never sought out, guys who wanted to know about how long I’ve studied… Maybe I’ve become a bit jaded about being a local “jobbing” musician in Chicago. I’ve played sold out shows at venues like Lincoln Hall here, walked off stage to grab a beer and had nobody even give a second glance. It was flattering.

Friday night I played a storefront theater, Saturday morning I taught a saxophone lesson, Saturday night I was playing House of Blues.

Big thanks to Band Called Catch for having me, letting me write some horn parts, and jump around like a fool. A dream I didn’t know I had was realized last night. Amazing.

With that, on to my next adventure, which will be travel! On Wednesday I’ll be heading to SE Asia for two months, saxophone in hand, looking for gigs, collaborators, and taking the opportunity to reset after a hectic 2014. In this blog of sorts I’ll be posting musings, photos, videos, and generally anything on my mind.

I don’t know what I’ll be saying, but I hope to keep you informed weekly on what it’s like to be more adventurous, take risks, and throw caution to the wind. Revisiting spots I love, seeking out new adventures, it will all be right here.