Summer Is Here

Lots going on these days. Michelle is done with school now and on summer vacation. Lizzy is back to work at the pool.

Last weekend Michelle participated in a production of Oklahoma! with her local theater group YAA. Lizzy, as an alumna came back to help out as assistant stage manager. The show was really good. Oklahoma! was one of the records in my Mum’s record collection we used to listen to in heavy rotation as kids, and I remember seeing the movie too. Although I haven’t thought of it in years, and alot of the humor went over my head at the time, I know the music inside and out. It was a really good production, and it’s great to see this kids I’ve been watching for years now in high school and capable of performing lead roles.

We put up a new version of The Global Jukebox (, mainly with navigation, UI and usability enhancements, plus better map zooming. We have another coming soon with some new content, and another lined up after that with new and deeper analytics features.

At long last I’ve finally mastered my new solo album, the third Buzzy Tonic cd Elixr. I was pretty close last week but after listening in my car a few times I decided it still needed a few tweaks to the levels and balance, and the time between tracks. I listened to the new master on my drive into work this morning and side one is perfect. Gonna listen to side two in the ride home. Next it’s on to the album artwork.

Yesterday was Father’s day, and Jeannie and the kids and I went to the beach. We usually go to Jones Beach, but this year we decided to try the beach on Robert Moses State Park, near the Fire Island lighthouse. It’s just a few miles further up the road, but feels nicer, a little cleaner and a little less crowded. Plus the walk from the parking lot to the ocean is much shorter. It was a perfect day for it, hot and sunny but still breezy. When we were done on the beach we did the nature hike over the dunes the the lighthouse. A most excellent day.

I must say the weather has been really nice lately. I can’t remember a nicer June. It’s been warm to hot in the daytime, with lots of sunshine, but not super hot, and generally cool at night. Really enjoyable to be outside, especially in the long evenings. My energy level has been really good too. I’ve been getting lots done and enjoying myself, and looking forward to doing lot more fun stuff this summer.

My only disappointment right now is that the origami convention is coming up next weekend and I haven’t put in the time I’d like to develop many new models. To be fair I spent most of my origami time last fall and winter finishing my book, doing the photography, and then haggling with the publisher about proofs and revisions. That’s all done now and I’m just waiting for the finished books to show up. And I did come up with a few new models: a Monoplane, Flying Fish and Platypus. This last one is brand-new; more on it in a future post. And I still have a few days left; maybe I can come up with something this week.

Triple Play

Lots of music news.

We had the inaugural gig for Haven Street last week. It was a fun time and a receptive place, and we had a good crowd, including a few friends who came out to see us. Musically the band was really hot. My soloing was really on, and everyone else too. We played eight of the nine songs on our records, as well as two new originals and one cover. When we were rehearsing for the recording session for our record, we got those songs really well-honed. But that was back in January and we’ve rarely played them since.

Now we’ve dusted them off and they’re still really tight, but our arrangements are sort of a jumping-off point, so they’re more free and creative than ever. At one point in the middle of King’s Hex, a song I wrote a long time ago and thought was too weird and too hard to pull off, well we were just killing it. And I thought I can’t believe I’m actually bringing this music to people, and they’re really digging it. Jeannie videotaped the show, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to put some clips up online soon.

Second, my long-awaited third Buzzy Tonic album, Elixr, finally has completed mixes. If you recall I finished tracking last fall, and made a set of mixes. I was not really satisfied but not sure how to make them better. Jay agreed to help me out, and I learned a ton from working with him. Unfortunately, as soon as the mixing sessions got underway we did the Haven Street recording, and mixing, mastering and producing that took precedence. A few weeks ago we picked this project up again, and finished it off over the weekend.

I must say this is my best sounding record yet. All that remains is the mastering, cover art, manufacturing and distribution. Fortunately, having just completed a record, the wheels are all greased for these activities. The Haven Street record has been selling online, and seems have given the earlier Buzzy Tonic discs an uptick as well.

Third, it looks like I’ve formed a new rock band. I suppose I should rewind and explain what happened with the Left Hook. Last fall we were rehearsing as a quartet and getting a new set together. Gary and I were splitting the leads and we were doing alot of new material. We were getting somewhere, but it was slow and we had no gigs on the horizon. Then Gus got sick and had to take a few months off. Then it was the Holidays and Gary was working lots of overtime and we couldn’t really rehearse.

This got me thinking that life is fragile and short, and I should try and focus more on doing the things I want while there’s still time. We auditioned a couple drummers to fill in, but nothing really clicked. By late winter Gus was ready to play again but the momentum was gone. Gary was mainly into the jazz thing and Ken was exploring other things.

Then a little while ago my friend Erik from the rehearsal studio contacted me about a singer looking to put together a group. Her name is Gina and she had a drummer Andy. I asked Ken and he was interested so we got together. We did about 2/3 songs from her set and 1/3 from the old Left Hook set. It seemed to groove well and the vibe and sound was good. Gina has a great voice, strong and brassy, and can handle a variety of styles. Andy is solid and grooves well, not super flashy. He’s one of those guys like Rich in the jazz group who hadn’t played his instrument in years, but now is retired and getting into it in a big way. I’m singing lead on a few tunes and harmony on whatever needs it, and we have a few good sax songs in addition to the keys. And Ken of course is great. The songs were a nice spread of rock, pop and dance, centered on the 80’s with some older and some newer, some hits and some eclectic.

All we needed was a guitar player, so Gina took out and ad and some dude answered, and we got together as a full band just yesterday. His name is Glenn and he fits right in sound wise, and can handle rock, blues, disco and all the sounds. He’s also just as tall is me, and it’s rare to meet someone like that. He can sing a little, so we can do three part harmony. Now we have a solid lineup and a regular rehearsal night, and already a long list of tunes we’ve banged out and more we wanna do. It’s fun that these guys are open to alot of things the old group didn’t want to do. Rock on!