Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mebop (cont.)

Had a great crowd—and a tremendous response—at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard. I was in the super-swank Foundation Room, with Matt Yeakley on guitar and Bill Markus on bass, and we did ourselves some serious swinging. Here's a video (very much bootleg) of my take on Thelonious Monk's "Ba-lue Bolivar Blues"—which I've retitled "Poppa's Resolution"—followed by my lyrics.

The clouds rollin’ in, the tide’s rollin’ out
But Poppa been standin’ still
You know you can’t win, you know it’s a rout
If you don’t climb up that hill
I’m through playin’ games, I’m taking down names
I’m stakin’ my claims, James

The wind’s comin’ up, the shit’s goin’ down
But Poppa been cool as ice
If you don’t stand up, can’t make it your town
Ain’t nobody tell you twice
I’m ending the wait, it’s never too late
I’m filling my plate, Nate

The band’s playin’ on, the crowd’s getting’ off
But Poppa been sailin’ through
You can’t throw no shade, got no right to scoff
If you ain’t done somethin’ new
I’m fillin’ my tank, I’m pullin’ my rank
I’m betting the bank, Frank
I'm hoping to bring the show to a New York venue next. In the meantime, I'm working on new material—writing lyrics to additional bebop classics by composers I haven't yet taken on—and with a little luck I'll be able to keep doing this for some time to come. Meantime, I am havin' me some righteous good times.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


As some of you know, I've got an alternate career as a vocalist; and in my new show, I've finally managed to integrate my musical and literary pursuits. "Mebop" is a collection of classic bebop tunes by composers like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane—most of which have never had lyrics written for them. 

Until now.

I debuted the material last month in Chicago. Here's a clip, of Sonny Rollins's "Oleo"—which I've retitled, "That's Miles."

And for the record, here are my lyrics:
Eyes like fire, mind like sky
That's the passion of improbable play
Toss a curve, drop a sigh
Then a jubilant swoon
Oh yeah, that's Miles
The shorthand of God

Fleet of feed, deft of hand
That's the algebra of mojo and mood
First is last, last is vast
From a trickster a prince
Oh yeah, that's Miles to me

There isn't any reason
The laws of physics shouldn't apply
Logic's out of season
No one can cop it, don't even try

Swift as wind, deep as wells
That's the lexicon of legerdemain
Burns that chill, won'ts that will
Every paradox squared
Oh yeah, that's Miles to me
I'll be doing the show again this weekend—with a smaller ensemble (just bass and guitar)—at House of Blues in West Hollywood. If you're in the neighborhood, swing on by. (And I do mean swing).