About Me

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Atlanta, GA, United States
When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We Be Jammin'

Earlier this afternoon, I hosted the first ever Zen Tea Sunday Jam. What fun! The turnout was higher than I expected. When I sent invitations, there were a few people I REALLY hoped could be there to kick this whole thing off. These folks expressed interested in coming to the next one, but they already had plans that conflicted with this first one. Aside from myself, there were only two people who confirmed they were coming, so I was thinking that this would be a tiny (but fun) gathering. As it turned out, 9 musicians showed up, and a few people wandered into the back room to enjoy the music.

Nine musicians may sound like a small amount, but frankly, I don't want the Zen Tea Sunday Jam to be much bigger. I enjoyed the variety of styles and levels, and nine was a manageable number. We each had the opportunity to lead several songs, take solos, and play along without getting in each other's way. The turnout will increase as the jam becomes more established, but I think I'd like to keep this at around fifteen participants – twenty at most.

I feel that this first Zen Tea Sunday Jam was a success. Turnout was larger than expected, there was a diverse array of styles and abilities, and, most important, everyone seemed to have a good time. I'm looking forward to the next one on October 28!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Zen Tea Jam

A couple months ago, I was talking to Connie, the owner of Zen Tea, where I play at least twice a month. We were talking about the back room, which she plans on expanding into a small concert venue. It struck me that the back room could also be used to hold a jam session. I was speaking hypothetically, but Connie's eyes lit up, and the next thing I knew, she had me agreeing to host a monthly jam session.

The first Zen Tea Sunday Jam will take place this Sunday (9/23) from 2-5, and I'm really looking forward to it. It'll evolve over time as I figure out what works and what doesn't, but for now, it is going to be a round robin style session. We'll go around the circle and take turns leading songs. There may also be instrumentalists who don't necessarily want to lead a song, but would like to play along. While we don't need everybody to be playing all the time, I do want this to be an inclusive group, so I'm asking the musicians to bring chord/lead sheets if a song has a lot of chord changes, or to walk us through a song if the changes aren't too complicated.

Ideally, this will be an eclectic experience. I've extended invitations to musicians of various backgrounds, including folk, jazz, and Latin. Several people will have original songs, too. Of course, the music being played ultimately depends on who shows up, but I'm hoping for a mix of styles.

I have no idea how many people will show up to this first jam session. Even if just four or five musicians show up, it'll be a start. I've heard from a handful of musicians who are already busy on Sunday but are interested in coming in the future. It may take a little while to establish this as a regular thing, but I feel that this will eventually become a monthly event that many people will look forward to.

Mainly, I want to use the Zen Tea Sunday Jam as an opportunity to support Zen Tea. It's such a lovely little place to play, and Connie is very serious about expanding the back room into a concert venue…basically a mini Eddie's Attic for you Atlanta music lovers. If we musicians do what we can to support Zen Tea and help bring in business, we'll be doing our part to help bring a new concert venue to life.

If you are interested in keeping up with the Zen Tea Sunday Jam, please visit www.facebook.com/ZenTeaJam and "like" our page.