January 29, 2007

Thanks, Ken

I went to see my friend Ken Aldcroft play at the Yardbird Suite on Friday, a great guy I attended college and university with who now lives in Toronto and is making a living doing just that. It was really great seeing him, as it's been years, and really wild hearing him and his new group "Convergence Ensemble". (btw, I should donate my services to upgrade his website... yeech)

It was an interesting night, right after work I and my fellow coworkers went to a nearby 'restaurant/pub' where they have dueling pianos.. yeah... dueling pianos. We were there to see off one of the more senior of our tech support who has become a traitor and going to the dark side. So I walk into this (what looks like) classy place and am greeted by the loud sounds of 70's- 80's rock ... oh yay, perfect music to highlight the dueling pianos. We're sitting eating some damn good steak sandwiches and I notice the artwork adorning the place: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, some blues artists, and other non-pop/rock/crap musician posters all over the place. "It's nice to see them keeping with one theme" I thought to myself as I heard 'They built this city on rock and roll' belting out over the PA.

I get to the Yardbird and talk about 2 worlds, I went from a crowd of '9 to 5'ers to an audience of about 20ish people there to open their ears. I submerged myself in the music for about 3 hours or so and returned in my mind to the 'self' I was about 12 years ago. It really is a different life, when your main goal is NOT to generate revenue, or profit, or cater to everyone, but to do something you feel is right and enjoyable and creating things that are unique to yourself. During that 3 hours I temporarily didn't think about the insurmountable debt or the diapers that need buying, or the school volunteering or the car payments. The only thing that tarnished it was my throbbing headache that I attempted to ignore. To feel like you're contributing something that is yours and no-one else's, that is what it is to be a performer/composer, and I definitely miss that. I could probably pull it off still, but it would take a lot of willpower and time management, two things I need work on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience though, they played wonderful thought provoking music that didn't tear your head off in it's madness as sometimes happens in free improvisation. Thanks Ken.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

Comeback baby

You know, I just can't say enough good things about the band Metric. I know, you're probably thinking to yourself "Whoa, like, where the hell has this guy been? Metric is SO 2005!" Yeah well screw you whoever you are, Metric is undying, unending, and their album "Live it Out" will live on even after the local radiostation kills their hit songs by unrelentingly throwing them at us at least once every hour. I never f#$@ing understood that mentality, I guess it goes along with "If X = good, then X * 5000 = SUPER good and unsurpassed wealth" train of thought.

I recently ( I know, once again way behind the times) purchased said album, and I thorougly dig it. Thoughful and twisted lyrics with a great voice and kickass band... what's not to love? Unfortunately I can't listen to "Monster Hospital" and "Poster of a Girl" because the bastards at the local radiostation complete f#@$ed up that up for me.

My favorite tunes lately are "Empty", "Handshakes", and "Glass Ceiling".

Ok, enough of that, maybe soon I'll post something else... I've been a right slackass lately.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 20, 2006


Just found out probably one of the coolest things that's happened to me in a long time: one of the bands I play in is opening up for Maraca at Saskatoon Jazz Festival on July 2nd.

If you've never heard of Maraca, that's fine, they aren't played on public radio in Canada or most of the US, but they are an absolutely wicked band from Cuba. I was right pissed that I was going to miss them in my home town on June 30th when they were playing, but now I'll see them live anyways, maybe even finagle my way in with the band and have some drinks, shoot some shit. Infinitely cool.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

Ear training, Theory and 12 tone oh my!

For all of you with no interest in learning music, you may want to skip this post. Ok so sometimes I'm a music geek, but I see no issue with reinforcing fundamentals if you feel they are lacking, or just for the sheer fun of it. I recently found a couple of great ear training / theory sites, one called Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net and the other called Good-ear.com. Worthwhile references if you are looking to sharpen your ear and expand your aural vocabulary.

The epiphany of free and open, Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net actually has a link to download the entire site and run it offline. That's the coolest thing I've seen so far, and the lessons/trainers/utilities are all in friendly easy to use flash programs (if your Firefox will run Flash, mine doesn't right now for some effing reason). I did find the ear training lacked any advanced chords, scales etc., but it sounds pretty good and keeps a running tally w/ scoring.

Good-ear is a nice site, I ran across it about 2 weeks ago, it's only focused on ear training, but it goes much farther than Ricci's, into Jazz chords and funky scales etc. It's powered by quicktime and ads, so it tends to be a little slow sometimes, and I noticed the clickthru on the ads almost never works. I was in contact with the developer and he was quick to respond which was pretty refreshing. I like the fact there's a section in the Chord recognition that I will have to work at for awhile before I can get it: it merely says "All", meaning you have to specify what is being played based on every chord in the site, and that's pretty extensive.

I studied all of this stuff back back in college and university, but memory wanes and wax builds up in the cornes of the ear that used to be finely tuned instruments.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

Sony's Anti-customer Technology

Boing Boing today is showing a neatly organized timeline of Sony and the DRM rootkit saga. I wasn't going to buy Sony electronics ever again after my dealings with their Net MD Sonicstage software, well now I am going to extend this loathing to their Music CDs.

Boing Boing: Sony anti-customer technology roundup and time-line

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Arrange the arranger

So I just finished watching Napoleon Dynamite, what, am I the last person n this planet to have watched it? Well it was funny enough, the beer I had consumed pushed it over the edge of fucked up to funny.

Well that's not the point of this post, on this of my 2 weekends off from gigs I finally got around to workjing on some old original songs that I made back in ... oh... a while back... and it was inspiring, it really was. I am working at getting a few (probably 3) songs arranged for sextet, trumpet alto sax, trombone, and getting them recorded so I can finish my ill fated degree (well Ok I don't know if it' s entirely ill-fated, it hasn't been completely killed yet).

I realized a couple of things while working on this old stuff. I'm rusty at it, which is to be imagined, and there were mistakes in the originals which I apparently overlooked at the time. It also kept me up late Saturday night, well into 3 am. This in itself greatly reminded me of the old days, when I did these late night creative things, and the juices flowed, and I thought deep thoughts. I had a great time.

I've also come to enlightenment in the last while that I'm not really a writer per se, because I can't take the time to doublecheck all my facts, or check whether that was the correct word to say in that instance, or sometimes whether my grammar checks out. I don't think I will ever be that guy, I just don't have the focus or background in writing. I'm also the type to start many many things but never fin

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

Chaos in Cowtown

Well my holiday (such as it was) is over, back at work, grind grind grind.

Quite the interesting weekend though, one of the bands I play in was opening for a big named (not to be named) merengue (pronounced mair-en-gay) bands from New York both Friday and Saturday night. I was fairly excited, even though I'm not a big merengue fan, because they were billed as an 18 piece band, that's gotta be good.

Friday's gig went fairly poorly, we didn't play at our best, it was kind of loose etc. Saturday on the way to Calgary I heard there were a few complaints about the friday gig, but not about OUR band, about the big NY band. Turns out they showed up with 7 singers, a set of congas and a turntable. They went from a cool big live band to a karaoke show.

Saturday we played at the latin festival and it was lots of fun other than the sweltering heat, later that night was our second night opening for the NY band. Everything seemed to be going ok, the crowd was really enjoying what we were doing, my chops felt good, and I wasn't screwing up very often (always good).

The big NY band comes on stage about 45 minutes or more after we get off. It was just as I feared, bad. These 6 guys and 1 girl were up on the stage singing, or some extremely loose definition of the word; it sounded more like a lame dj, not an exciting show worth the $35 admission.

The lady that had organized the event was not happy at all, after their first set she apparently had a conversation with them saying something like "I'm not paying you the 20 some THOUSAND we agreed, as you are not the band that you portrayed yourself to be". Over twenty freaking thousand dollars USD. They asked us to get up and play another set, offering us more money to do so, of course we agreed. As soon as we were ready to play, the dj music went down and one of the putzes who organized the event got on the mike saying how the NY band wouldn't be playing again tonight bla bla bla bla, it didn't sound too flattering even though my Spanish is not that hot. The crowd started yelling and booing and chanting the other bands name. We started playing and they continued for a little bit until they realized how good the music was. In between tunes we still had the odd straggler yelling moronities, but all in all they settled down.

We only were on stage for about 15 minutes when the organizer came up and asked us to stop as there was an incident, the police were there and they were shutting the party down. We stopped, the dj came back on for about 10 minutes, then the lights came up and about 5 police approached the dj, he shut down the music and they announced the party was over because there was an "incident" with the other band in the hallway. You thought they were upset before! Now they started chanting "REFUND! REFUND!" and other obscenities, and 1/2 hour later after 50% of the people STILL hadn't left, we had drunken fucks banging merengue rhythms on the stage, getting up and playing the congas and just being pains in the ass.

I found out later that a member of the other band pushed the organizer lady when she told them she wasn't honoring their contract, so she called the cops and they shut the place down. What kind of cocaine haze were these guys in when they decided that they could get away with a scam like this? Did they actually believe Albertans were so gullible and naive that they wouldn't notice the missing band or the general lack of quality of the music? Maybe they thought there were no latin bands in Alberta and we would worship them like gods when they arrived in their huge Hummer limo. Maybe it was delusions of grandeur for the singers, thinking that THEY were all that mattered in the band. But really, for 20+ K they could ship out at least 4 horn players, percussionists, bass and piano.

The brighter side to all of this, the pressure must have lit a fire in us because we performed better than we have ever before. I had chops I haven't seen before, everything was tight and the rhythm section rocked.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

This seems to be a trend

Jack Johnson "Good People"

Whatever you say,
Turn on the boobtube
I'm in the mood to obey
So lead me astray,
And by the way now…

Where'd all the good people go
I've been changing channels
I don't see them on the TV shows
Where'd all the good people go
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow

First it was Sam Roberts "Where have all the good people gone" now it's Jack Johnson, it's a great song if you haven't heard it yet.

I along with many folks lately have been wondering exactly that, where are all the good people, are they laying silent? Are they becoming slowly extinct or endangered? I don't know, but I'm trying to make a point of being nicer to people, saying please and thank you and going out of my way to show my appreciation when people reciprocate.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

Blowing a gasket

A little view of our gig from Sunday, here's me during a solo.

(edited a little to blur out things)

I think it looks like I'm having an aneurysm....

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005


What a weekend, what a gig, and what a load of shit that lead up to it.

Thursday night I'm talking to the bandleader/singer Roberto, about the gig in Saskatoon on Sunday, turns out no one told him that the tenor player wouldn't be able to make it, and it just so happens the alto player got a new job and couldn't take the Monday off. Oh joy! AND then he said the only contact for the trombone player was the Tenor sax player... and so we had no horn players but me.

As luck would have it my friend Jerrold moved back into town just a month ago, he's a monster sax player so I gave him a call and he was actually free and able to go! He also had the number for a friend of his that he went to Rutgers with (in New York) who happens to live in Saskatoon now, and he also is a monster sax player. I give Marc a call in Sask and luck of luck he can make it too! Whew! That's all taken care of. I get a call later that the Tenor book was missing and nowhere to be found, luckily it showed up under a pile of stuff in the back room at the bar we played at last.

Sunday morning after about 4 hours of sleep I get up at 5:30 am, shower, Jerrold and Troy (trombone sub) show up about 6:30, on time great! 2 secs before the bandleader shows up Jer realizes he's left his clothes at home in his hurry to get out of the house and be there on time. We decide that Jer and I will take his car to Saskatoon, tell the guys, and take off for his house. A half hour later we're on the way out of town, probably about 15 minutes east of the city and I get a call on my cell "Troy is here waiting and he says he's going to leave in 5 minutes". I'm like "What?!? What's he doin there?" I talk to him a bit and apparently they thought we were going together.. we turn the car around. Got out of the city about 7:45, on a 5 hour drive, for a sound check at 12:30, not looking so good.

We got into the thriving metropolis of Saskatoon about 12:45 or so, had a 5 minute soundcheck, left. The gig started at 3, 4 bands or something like that playing, we were supposed to play at 6. At 3 o'clock I pop by to see if my parents are there yet, and I overhear "Because of medical problems, the first band will not be playing, everything will be starting an hour earlier". Oh crap. Got a hold of the guy from Sask and cleared the new time with him. All good right? Yeah.

Gig starts, seems ok but I can't hear myself in the monitors, all I hear is sax and it keeps getting louder, (I notice the sax players going to the sound guy alot). I pretty much blew my chops the first 3 songs, playing too loud in an attempt to hear myself. Later that night I find out they had mixed up the monitors when they set us up... they had shifted them one over, the Tbone player had mine. That didn't make me that happy.

Oh, and did I mention that it started pouring rain halfway through the trip and until about 15 minutes after we started? Yeah, it did.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005


After last nights Jam, a list of daily music stuff I have to do this summer
(this post is just a reminder to me)

1. Pick a new song
2. Play the melody
2. Listen to it (if I have it)
3. Play the chord changes on the piano
4. Practice soloing over the changes w/ trumpet, with metronome clickin'

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

June 29, 2004


Woot! So I just found out our band is playing at this years Jazz Festival in Edmonton. We're is playing at the Sidetrack Cafe, $10 at the door, a good time for all.

How often do you get to play at 2 different jazz festivals for 2 different bands? Not often for me, that's for sure.

I'm pumped, this means I can go see some wicked jazz for free this week.... sweeeet...

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

June 28, 2004

I learned my lesson well

Saturday's gig went really well, people were raving about how well we did.

We were scheduled to leave at 7:30 am Sat. but about 10 miles out of Edmonton the back tire on the bandleaders car blew... so we spent about an hour and a half putting on the donut and driving into Sherwood Park to get a new tire.

I didn't personally feel the gig was our best, I think we were a bit nervous. I was having issues with running out of air, perhaps it was because of the fuzz floating around in the air, perhaps just because my abs aren't what they should be. It could also have been nerves or overheating, it was a pretty big event, and the temp was pretty high. Oh yeah and I almost forgot that the bandleader left my chart book at home... YAY!

We had some excellent chinese food at (I believe it was) Saigon on 3rd in downtown Saskatoon, then walked about 20 minutes to get beer, and proceeded to drink for the rest of the night. Damn... I am not that young anymore, all day Sunday I was sicker 'n a dog... so Sunday was a right-off. I got home and Amber had a migraine, so she was pretty happy to let me take over taking care of Xavier. He was, of course very happy to see me, and I him. He's such a cool kid.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

June 25, 2004

Saskatoon Jazzfest

Hey, if anyone is in Saskatoon this weekend, I'm playing at the Delta Bessborough Gardens for the Saskatoon Jazz Festival. Our band is alongside Jesse Cook, and the Robin Nolan Trio. Should be a good event!

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (2)

May 25, 2004

Takin' it to the streets

YOU Telling me the things you're gonna do for me.
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see.

You don't know me but I'm your brother
I was raised here in this living hell
You don't know my kind in your world
Fairly soon the time will tell

You, telling me the things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see
Takin' it to the steeets, takin' it to the streets
Takin it to the streets, takin' it to the streets

Take this message to my brother
You will find him ev'rywhere
Wherever people live together
Tied in poverty's despair

You, telling me the things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see
Takin' it to the steeets, takin' it to the streets
Takin' it to the streets, takin' it to the streets

The Doobie Brothers

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

May 21, 2004

Odd circumstance

So in the past month, since I realized that it's been 10 years since I attended ST FX University Music Program, I've run into about 5 people that attended or are attending the school. I also was listening to WJYC Jazz y Clave" and I heard a great jazz tune, looked up the performers, it was a guy I went to school with. Did some more research and turns out he's the flippin' Administrator at the Miles Davis Jazz Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Wow, I feel great for Steve, but man... I'm jealous!

I forgot to mention that I have/had 10 years to complete my degree (missing a couple of electives I took her but never transferred the credit back), so the current circumstances have lit a fire under my ass to get things in order.

Also part of the reason I'm going back to the Jazz Jams at the Yardbird Suite

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

May 19, 2004

missed that


Tuesday night jazz jam.

Out on a limb, exposed
Renewing, reviving my past.
On stage,
notes fighting for priority
in a queue of time.
Attempting musicality.

So little time,
no judges, still
being judged.
Striving for expression,
bring back what was.
Seems smoother now,
aged perhaps,
less angry and bitter.

Off stage,
questions, background,
numbers given
and received.
Old friends found,
laughter, optimism.
Like old times,
but not.

Appreciation of what was.


Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

That'll learn ya

That's what I get for going into a situation unprepared.

Last night I went to the Jam at the Yardbird Suite here in Edmonton.
I should have probably honed up my tune knowledge before I wentmonton.
Because of my ego I wouldn't pull out the sheet-o.
And so the song sort of went kinda deadmonton.

There's my ultra-super bad poetry for the week.

Damn I feel stupid though... bah.. and it was a huge jazz standard that everyone (including myself a few years back) has played hundreds of times. That's what I get for taking almost a 6 year jazz haitus "I used ta be a contenda"

Next time... Next time... It will be mine...


Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)

July 25, 2002

Grandma was a cover girl

OH man... I ran across this CD that a guy I knew in college recently put out, just by accident really. Wow... was it bad, I mean... whoooeeee... The music itself was not that horrible, but when he started singing I wanted to run and hide. I got a good laugh about it though, and then I laughed again, and again. I should phone him and thank him.
We saw the baby yesterday! Yaaaay! Rambunctious little thing, didn't want anything to do with the ultrasound technician. Ran away at every point :) We figure it's got attitude, just like my wife :)
Oh yeah, and today is our 4 year anniversary! Woooot!
My car is being a pain in the ass, after the rain it started hesitating, and chugging when you step on the gas. It's kept it up, the mechanic I took it to says it's probably the fuel filter. I'm gonna try and replace it myself (BOOM! heheheh). Hey, I have the tools, the manual, all I need is a filter... shouldn't be that hard.

Posted by Oorgo - Permalink - Category: Music | Comments (0)