Solitaire Miles' Christmas Show at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

What do Solitaire Miles and Jen Zias have in common?...They were high school friends in Erie, Pennsylvania, they were both at Chicago's Jazz Showcase last night, and Oh yea, they sing a bit too!

Solitaire Miles
 What do Willie Pickens (piano), Robert Shy (drums), Jack Gallagher (baritone trumpet & vocals)Dave Gordon (piano) Brian Gephart (tenor sax), Chris Greene (soprano sax) and Brian Sandstrom (bass) doing what he always does keeping everybody together...have in common?
Jack Gallagher, baritone trumpet & vocal.

 ...they are all musicians, Yes! you got it. But if you were at the Showcase last night you would also know how "straight up " jazz is supposed to be jammed, as they took turns WOWin' their Christmas week audience. 

The event put together by Solitaire, stressed the '"Holiday Spirit" as much as the jazz....
"play it like it should be" attitude. Everything from Coltrane to White Christmas was on the bill.

This wonderful ensemble rotated solos, shared the stage and demonstrated their understanding of swing,
with a touch of progressive as they ran away with a list of the classics and some holiday tunes: "Christmas Time Is Here", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "Let It Snow", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Santa Baby"...done so sassy and sexy by Solitaire...and "Baby It's Cold Outside" a duet with Solitaire and Jack Gallagher...once again Solitaire putting together a book of just the right tunes for the event.

Brian Gephart
 Vocalist, Jennifer Zias, took her jamm in set II, with a wonderful, respectful swing version of "White Christmas"it was spirited and her range and wonderful crisp sound was a holiday treat.

So many good things happened at this show musically, it would violate the Cardinal rule of blogging, (to be brief), if I went on and on.
A perfect event for the season, I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2012, what a great show!

BTW, the sugar cookies and cup cakes and gingerbread cookies baked by Solitaire took their solo at the intermission, they were also well received! 

So get out Chicago! see Solitaire's next gig...and make sure you stay for the second set!!

Solitaire will be at:  Andy's...  Hubbard Street, Chicago  -Feb 16th & 17th

I'm Pete, follow me at:



"My love is a voice, it's a sound, if you hear it then it's yours too. And it's coming to remind you of your own voice"...On.

 "On" a unique, talented sound brought to my attention by another of New York City's unique personalities Sara Zar *

To get acquainted with "On" I spoke with  Naaran Barzilay.
...and asked him to answer the two question I ask everyone.

If you were leaving the planet and could take only one album with you, which would you take?
Naaran...this album will be an old record that I would find in the street
and pick it up just because of his unusual cover... it will have female voices followed by strings and orchestra of drums and pianos.... it will be so beautiful that right away I will look for the artist name
and surprisingly there will be none, just an underline for the listener to name it himself :)

If you could perform with anyone who would you choose?
Naaran...We would love to preform with great inspiring artists that are unfamiliar to us...
the things we already know are less exiting then what we're about to learn:)

"On's" current album is "A Box of  Costumes" is the current video from it "It's Good You're Here"

 "On" will be at: Rockwood Music Hall, March 16th.

I'm Pete, follow me...


Sinatra '66 12/12

...I met Sinatra on two occasions, briefly, once in Atlantic City and once in Vegas.
On both occasions he went out of his way to stop and chat...but

...the time when I knew history was being made was 1966 in the Copa Room at the Sands.
It was one of my first moves to Vegas from New York City.  Sinatra was there for five days, that meant five shows, he only did one a night, others did two. No dinner show, too much noise for the man!

I was young and dumb but one thing was clear, this was the end of an era. The corporate powers to be would soon turn the town into a get 'em in get 'em out cash machine, and the days of seeing Sinatra, and Basie for a few bucks and two drinks in a cozy venue was on death watch.

I was with strangely enough with a girl from Hoboken! She had never been more then twenty miles from home so for her to be in a room with every mob guy in America, Grace Kelly, Betty Grable, Joe Di Maggio, Liberace, Judy Garland was well, huge!

We did not have reservations for the show, but I caught a monster hand at the crap table and slipped the MaitreD $50 at the door he called a Captain and said G2 for Mister C, as we walked to G2, I slipped the Captain another $50, he went off the floor and came back with two piano like chairs and put them and us right up against the stage, our elbows could rest on stage..Remember this is 1966, $50 was like 200 now.

One of the shows that week was recorded and little did I think I would have it on a disc playing on a desktop or in my car 45 years later. 

To hear the Basie Band, Sinatra, with the Count at the keys, and the great Quincy Jones as a young man conducting and writing the charts...well, I knew this was something to savor, as the Beatles and the bubble gum music was about to fill the airways. was January '66, from the stage Francis announced that he had fallen off the wagon the night before, and this night he was gonna celebrate his 51st, birthday three weeks late.
...he introduced Quincy as a "bright new star" in the music business.
..he explained his bad luck at the tables had spread to his personal life, he said him and Basie went up to see the Grand Canyon, and it was closed!

The band did several tunes alone, and Frank fired five or six classics then the band again, a full show was what they ovation as the intro to each number started, and another at it's conclusion!
I've heard the Basie Band of the late 50's early 60's many times live, and the sound is still fresh in my head today, but at this show,  Vegas, The Sands, everyone was at the top of their game, it was "that moment".

If I remember right, excluding the $100 zuk, the total tab was like $23!
So this is my small tribute to the "man" ...The show was billed as "The Man and His Music"

...this is my favorite Sinatra number, when done with Basie....It's an old Don Costa arrangement that was given a "Hip" transplant by Quincy Jones... was the show stopper! (this Vid is not from the show, but the same era)

...this is one of the only videos I could find that is from that show at The Sands...

 So, for the many, many great memories...Francis, on the day of your birth, 12/12..."cent' anni"

I'm Pete, follow me at...


"Right On Time"... by Mary C me, a guy weened on R&B back in the day,  
Mary C is like finding an uncut diamond!

 I was in New York City for a week back in November. My time was all accounted for, except for Sunday afternoon. So, as I am always looking to contact new talent to bring to you, I looked on line to see if I could find a set to see. Mary C had a gig at 5 PM. most great things happen purely by chance, I stopped in to see Mary C.

We chatted for a minute and then she hit the stage, for a set without her full band.

From the jump, her stage presents, her beauty, her music and her pipes rocked the room!

Since, Mary has sent me an online preview of her soon to be released CD "Right On Time"

The CD is perfect...what does that mean? I mean I can not recall a Funky, Soulful, R&B CD that I have ever owned in which every tune hits the mark!

"Get Me Through" ...the opening high -energy number will get you movin',  a solid, solid get up and move
piece of funk!

"Love Automatic"...Mary's performance here is the ultimate sassy, soulful, attitude of a "got to have it" woman, in an "Automatic" affair, I really loved this tune!

"Paper Moons"...gets down as deep as soul can get. Mary's range and ability to funkify the phrasing of her terrific lyrics make this tune special. "I just want to be with you... under a paper moon, ...dancin' in the night, while you hold me tight....wish you knew my name."

"Out of My Mind"...another bulls eye! up beat 21st Century neo/soul...this one could be bound for the Dance Charts.

"Changing Spaces"...could be the "ever green" tune of this work. Mary's universal words of a broken heart are lent to a melody of passion. "Hear the sound of my heart break"  "Love or hate" "Gone or hold on"
...she tells it like it can be, and we have all been there.

...Seven tunes in all, on the preview I reviewed, all written by Mary C.

This CD just confirms what I saw live;
Mary C, expresses her emotions and keeps the music as real as it can be. She is able to blast her stage presents out like an explosion and yet maintain an intimacy with her audience!

...for me this work came "Right On Time"!


Mary C
Mary C has a great show planned for: Pianos, NYC, December 13th 7PM.

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