Monday, November 08, 2004

Fall update

If the weather of this past week is any indication, we will have a very cold winter. It has been in the 30s every night for the last week or so, and we've made our yearly shift to the flannel covers and down comforters. This is particularly good news to our cat Ollie, who likes to sleep on the pillow just above June's head, but ONLY if there's a flannel pillowcase on it.

Healthwise, the news is mixed. I had my back operation in September, and felt really good for a few weeks. Now, however, the same old symptoms are reappearing. I'm definitely in better shape than I was before the operation, but it seems that I'm regressing. I can still walk without a cane most of the time, but that may not last. I'm still having fun playing with the 7th Street Jazz Band. We could use a few more horn players, particularly trombone, but it's still a lot of fun to play those old tunes. It's good exercise for my sight-reading, too.

I've also started doing a few more casual jam sessions, which is great fun. I have a number of side projects in motion, some of which I can talk about and a few I can't. I just finished mastering 3-CD set of a live recording from Paul Bass' 50th birthday party. This has been a long-term project, and I'll manufacture and ship as many as are requested, in honor of my late music partner. I'm also about halfway through archiving all of my recorded song demos to CD. So far, this amounts to about 30 CDs. Some of the tunes are not too bad! I also want to transcribe as many of my tunes as possible to leadsheets. I'll probably get a high-end notation program like Finale or Sibelius next year to help with this. It'll be a rather large book, tentatively titled, "Steve Pinkston -- Less Than a Fake Book." Those familiar with Charles Mingus will get the joke.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Summer update

Hot weather comes to the Pacific Northwest! Today's high will crack 100 degrees. Fortunately, this kind of weather never lasts very long here. A few days, then it's gone.

The big-band work continues to be fun. The band is called the 7th Street Jazz Band. My buddy Ethan Richardson got the guitar chair in the band, and he's turning in some excellent Freddie Green comping and some tasty soloing when he gets the chance. We've played a few outdoor festival-type gigs and we've gotten good feedback from the audiences. Of course, my bald head takes a bit of a beating from the sun at these gigs, but I got permission to wear a hat, so that helps a bit.

Fortunately, I get to sit down to play with this band, since I cannot stand or walk for more than about 10 minutes at a time now. My doctors have made a diagnosis, and I will be having an operation to de-compress a pinched nerve bundle in my back in mid-September. I'll have to miss some gigs, though, so if anyone knows a bass player in the Portland area who can read and works cheap, please let me know!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Spring update

Lots going on this Spring! First of all, the new Proto-Kaw album is finally released. No, I did not have anything to do with it, other than attending the release party, but some of these guys are old friends of mine, and I think you'll enjoy the album. It comes in two flavors -- a standard edition and a "Special Edition." By all means, get the Special Edition! You can buy it from or several other sources. Go to the Proto-Kaw website for more details.

Also, I've started playing regularly with a jazz big-band out of Oregon City. It's pretty much just a bunch of folks getting together for the love of music once a week, and I'm having a ball. There's lots of chart-reading involved, and I'm pretty good at that.

Last week I purchased -- off of eBay -- an album put out in the 1970s by a group I didn't even know I was in! The group was called "Departure," and I'll post more details later.

CNET is launching a service similar to the erstwhile Today I uploaded 8 tunes of mine and 3 tunes of Paul Bass' which should be available soon  for download.

On the downside, I've been having a tough time getting around lately. I have to walk with a cane all the time now, and I think someday soon I will have to have a hip joint replaced or repaired. Aging totally sucks.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Back from Kansas

A belated Happy New Year to all! I'm finally catching my breath after last week's trip to Kansas. Why would anyone take a vacation in Kansas in January? The simple answer is, family, friends, and music.

First, and most important, I went to visit my sister. She's a very talented and creative person, and I spent a wonderful couple of days with her in her art-filled house in Leonardville, near Manhattan. Then I spent three days with my old buddy Dave Zerfas (aka Zerf) and his family (Kim and Karl) at their home -- "the K Z Ranche" -- near Manhattan. They are terrific folks and made me feel very welcome. Zerf and I ate at some of our old haunts like Taco Hut and Vista Burger, and took in a K-State women's basketball game.

On Friday, we drove to Kansas City for a CD release party and concert by the band "Proto-Kaw." This was a night to remember! Proto-Kaw is the band that was called Kansas in the '70s. Go to their website to read the whole story. A couple of old bandmates of mine are in that group, and the evening was a bit of a musician's class reunion. I saw folks there that I had not seen in more than 30 years. I'll get some pictures up as soon as I can scan them.

Oh, yeah...I even got a chance to crawl up on stage and do a set (on guitar!) with Zerf, Tom Bolton, and Derek, as a reconstituted version of Zerf's band Plastique. And as a bonus, Lynn Meredith from Proto-Kaw got up and did a couple of numbers with us! Lynn is still one of the most soulful singers I've ever heard.

It was an exciting week. Of course, the weather helped with the excitement. Blizzards in Oregon just as I was getting ready to leave threatened the trip, ice storms and extreme cold in Kansas made travel somewhat of an adventure, and more snow and ice back in Portland kept the airport closed until just before I returned. I was very fortunate through the whole trip that nothing bad happened.