Playing this music called jazz is not for the faint of heart. I have watched throughout the new millennium the marginalization of this music with each passing year. To be sure, there is an overarching misunderstanding as to what the true nature of music is; it’s spiritual nature, purpose and proper alignment in the human world. This has always been since the days of antiquity. Many loved, yet feared it’s beauty and power and sought to covet it down through the ages. But it’s commercialization as a commodity to be bought and sold in the current era is truly at a new all-time low for many have lost the ability to even hear it. I’ve seen friends really trying to like, but are completely unmoved by the beauty of Charlie Parker and Strings playing “Just Friends”, saying it just sounds like gobblety-gook to them. Many of us who understand the importance of this music continue to perform it strictly to keep it from disappearing off the face of the earth. It is with this in mind that I booked my most current performance on January 7th at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, CA way back in the summer of 2016. I wanted to make sure that this music got played in the year 2017 as a counter-weight against all the deterrent forces and energies so prevalent in our world in the wake of the U.S. 2016 elections. I had the strange feeling that it may be quite a while before we get another chance to perform, as the new administration plans to eliminate things like the National Endowment for the Arts among many other artistic endeavors that has been deemed unimportant. They need to cut these things to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Throughout the country and the world, club after club and venue after venue are closing as well. Such is our reality to bear witness to the dying off of these old fear-based ideologies who gasp for their last breaths and appear stronger than they truly are; but are truly on their way out on earth due to those of us willing to hold to the Light. We are in many different areas and endeavors working independently, yet intersectionally, but we are all Light-Bearers. I felt it supremely important that my music should be out there in our world at this time of the beginning of 2017. This was the understanding I personally had taking the stage at Alvas on the evening of January 7th.
Nothing is more important and crucial at this time in history as we each enter the year 2017 than spending as much time as possible being who you authentically ARE. Being anything less than your true self, you may find it difficult to traverse the adversity we all are experiencing as we enter the year 2017. We are now in our “spiritual maturity”, no longer children and are given more in terms of life experiences, to process, to balance and handle. In my own life, I am seeing this as experiencing moments of great joy, accomplishments, and benefit along with moments of great difficulty and challenge. Exhibit A: my initial 2017 gig at Alvas in these video clips where I started the new year out doing what I love most beyond all else in this life. But along with enjoying a great performance with my band, midway through the performance, I also experienced a debilitating sickness on stage; my body hyperventilated to the point that I was virtually passing out and began violently vomiting due to food poisoning! Some serious karma was being expiated that night!
Listen and view this video of “Patience’s Patience” which is the only tune from our new 20th Anniversary CD “RESILIENCE!” played that evening; -this is who we are being our true selves. This tune featuring our pianist, the great Jane Getz, clocked in at the spiritual universal portal time of 11:11 minutes, proved to be a magical and auspicious performance indeed. Some of you who are more spiritually and metaphysically inclined will know what I am talking about and what the 11:11 Gateway means.
Click above link to go to the video playlist of all 8 tunes performed that evening: DFQ @ALVAS 1.7.2017: 1. Patience’s Patience / 2. Afternoon in New York / 3. C-Speed 4. Trentino / 5. Intrigue / 6. Stella By Starlight [Trio] / 7. April In Paris / 8. Invitation
This was our one “masterpiece” performance of the evening, IMHO. A virtually flawless and flowing performance by any account. I was very happy to capture us in a relaxed moment very close to the ideal I have in my head for this tune, this band, and have seen many nights on the bandstand for 21 years when no mic or camera was on. Little did I know that 2 tunes later, on my composition: “Intrigue”, I would leave the stage feeling intensely ill and concerned that I would pass out any minute. I remember thinking “at least don’t pass out on the stage in front of everyone! Get off the stage!” I made it backstage, collapsed, and started sweating profusely, hyper-ventilating. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong until I made it to the garbage can in time to violently vomit for well over 10 minutes. I realized the Chinese food I ate before the gig apparently gave me food poisoning. But it was more than that I feel. I have mentioned elsewhere that 2016 was the most challenging year for the DFQ. We were fortunate to have 8 major performances, -the least amount of gigs ever in a year. Where once we could count on two or three “big-score out of town” gigs, we watched them become one or two, then one for a while to eventually none. At least we had our local LA gigs at great venues, but in 2016 we watched in horror as one by one these clubs closed or changed music policies. 2016 was the first year that venues who paid a band a salary for the night were fewer or non-existent then venues that paid you by the door. It’s now unheard of for a venue to pay you a low, but guaranteed salary for the night. Most venues now want you to work for the door AND be solely responsible for promoting your gig and bringing the audience. It’s not their responsibility to promote your performance in their venue. Really! WTF ???!!! Welcome to the new era! All of this weighed heavily on my mind coming into 2017 as well as the personal and financial challenges of keeping a band and record company afloat; and I’m sure the stress of this contributed to my illness that night.
I am really appreciative to Jane Getz, Bill Markus and Thomas White for putting me on their backs that evening and kept our audience entertained until I could return to the stage. They are my true friends and the love and respect I have for them knows no bounds for hanging with me for 22 years! Also let me give a shout out to our newest member, vocalist Rita Edmond, who was scheduled to perform with us that night, but came down with the flu, -a nasty one that kept her out of commission for another week. Did she know something? Me and her certainly were in step with each other, eh? I hope you enjoy listening and viewing the performance on the YouTube playlist here. As I find myself saying lately, “enjoy this performance! Because you never know if it’s the last!”
DFQ @Alvas Showroom | Saturday January 7, 2017