Monday, February 23, 2015

[students only] Humming House in concert Tuesday, March 3rd

The band Humming House performs on 3/3 at 7:00 pm as part of the new Red Barn Series on Auburn's campus. It's free and open exclusively to current students at Auburn in case any of those read my posts. Here's an event page of sortsThis is the first I've heard of the group. They sound good on YouTube, and it looks like it'll be fun.

Below is edited from a news release they sent me. I know, I'm like press, now! Here's the full unedited release. Go and write a review. I'll post it on my site, and for your trouble, you can get in free to my next gig.

This is the picture they sent with the release. Click it to see a
totally different look in a video of them playing music.
Nashville quintet Humming House is set to release a new album, Revelries, on March 24, 2015, via Nashville label Rock Ridge Music (with distribution via ADA). With self-described interwoven threads of folk, soul, bluegrass and more, the band presents acoustic instrumentation—mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and bass.

American Songwriter called their music “infectious and grin-inducing.” Roughstock dubbed Humming House “darned close to perfect.” Huffington Post just named the band one of the “peak musical performers of 2014.”

Says band founder Justin Wade Tam: “We’re thrilled to release a new set of musical narratives into the world. Revelries embodies our adventures on the road, our evolution as a band, our love of storytelling, and our insatiable desire to have a good time on stage and off.”

Produced by Grammy winner Mitch Dane and mixed by Grammy winner Vance Powell (Jack White, Buddy Guy), Revelries is the third recording bearing the name Humming House.

Friday, February 20, 2015

[interview] Brazilian Choral Music Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015

The AU Chamber Choir will perform Sunday (2/22) at 2:30 pm at Auburn First Baptist Church. Writing about these things is time consuming, but what with all the Brazilian music, the guest conductor/composer, and the two world premiers, I really wanted to cover it, so I thought maybe I could record an interview instead. William Powell came over at lunchtime while I was making hot dogs for me and my son John's lunch (it comes up).

Click here for the event page. Click the big arrow below to hear the interview.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


When Winter is gone,
I will miss the trees,
Pointing with their fleshless fingers
To all the different heavens
And tempting me with death.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Poem from the Paaaaaaast

Valentine's Day is my birthday, and we had family to the house today for cake and coffee. Mom read a poem she found that I wrote when I was 7, almost 8. I was in second grade at Clemmons School (Clemmons, NC) my one childhood year I spent away from Auburn.

Of course, I've scanned it and embedded the images of both pages on this blog post below.

I have no memory whatsoever of writing this, but I have to agree with Ms. Atwood's underlined "Good" and "A" grade, because what is art without its critics. And look how nice the cursive was! Here's the poem...
Valentine's Day 
A cupid, a heart, and a dove
And a sweet little message of love —
Oh, that's what I got
For the one who alot
Of this day I have spent thinking "ove"
I feel flippy,
I feel fizzy,
I feel whoopy,
I feel whizzy.
I feel wonderful.
Im feeling just fine.
Because you just gave me,
A valentine.
Don't give me any wine,
Don't rub your hand down my spine,
Come on be tough.
Don't do all that stuff —
Just be my valentine. 
Awesome job, 7-year-old Patrick.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chicago Improvisors Kick off Southern Tour in Auburn (1/22, 1/23)

If you've arrived at this page to support the Coach's Lounge show using PayPal, click the button below to proceed. You do not have to have a PayPal account. $10 is the suggested donation, but you are welcome to give any amount.

Among other great players, famed saxophonist Mars Williams will appear for two shows with an improvised music quartet from Chicago.
An improvised-music group from Chicago will do two shows in Auburn this week. One is at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at noon today (Thursday, 1/22). The other will be at Coach's Lounge (Facebook page), the bar (under new management) at the Clarion on College St. tomorrow (Friday, 1/23) at 7:30.

Here's a link to a Facebook event for the Friday night show. Cullars Improvisational Rotation, the trio I'm in with guitarist Dan Mackowski and bassist Jason DeBlanc, will open for them at 7:30. A $10 donation is suggested in lieu of cover.

Musicians in the Chicago group are saxophonist Mars Williams, saxophonist Nick Mazzarella, guitarist Steve Marquette, and bassist Anton Hatwich. Click their names for websites, or you can read bios about them on the museum's schedule page for the series at this link.

"This is high powered heavy hitting musician stuff... Bring a bucket to pick up your blown mind. True art. True culture. Truly not to be missed if you fancy yourself a musician or music lover. Support Live Music!!" -Louis Williams
Marquette is leading the tour, and it was his idea, though I think he's hesitant to say he is the leader of the band. It is truly an improvised group without any repertoire, per se, and the music itself is not necessarily driven by the vision of any one individual.

Auburn's are the first two shows on the tour that will end up at the Open Ears Music Series in New Orleans. This and Marquette's 2013-14 project with New Orleans improvisors is part of a larger, loosely organized collaborative effort between this genre's musicians in Chicago and New Orleans.

I interviewed Marquette for an article at this link: Musicians from Chicago’s free­‐jazz tradition improvise program for "A Little Lunch Music". Incidentally that article will be featured in a new underground local arts publication called The Revelator coming out, though unfortunately delayed, any minute now.

The players have amazing credits to their names. If you are not necessarily into improvised music (you can call it free jazz, though don't expect much of it to sound jazzy), or don't feel adventurous enough to come try something new, you might be interested in simply being in the same room with Mars Williams. Aside from being leader of a Grammy-nominated band Liquid Soul, he has toured and recorded with groups like (from his bio)...

...The Psychedelic Furs, Billy Idol, Massacre, Fred Frith, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Power Station, Die Warzau, The Waitresses, Kiki Dee, Pete Cosey, Billy Squier, DJ Logic, Wayne Kramer, John Scoffield, Charlie Hunter, Kurt Elling, Swollen Monkeys, Mike Clark, Jerry Garcia, Naked Raygun, Friendly Fires, The Untouchables, Blow Monkeys...

So you've heard him, even if you don't know you've heard him.

Coach's Lounge owner Louis Williams who, like Marquette, has ties to Chicago and New Orleans, said it well over on Facebook, better than I can say stuff like this. But he's right. See inset above.

See you there.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


My wife sleeps in our parents' spare rooms,
Her work's bloodless compulsions bar her from our children.
Bilingual strangers swarm our home,
Destroying, laughing,
Cursing, building.

Here in the mountains, small, pajama'd gods, Norse, momentarily coexist,
Spawning and coercing a paper world, a fantasy's shadow, and more real.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amazing Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti Performs Wednesday (4/23/2014) in Auburn

Allen Vizzutti with the Airmen of Note, from jazzybugler's YouTube channel.
There is contrary opinion on everything, but even as a saxophonist I feel pretty secure in stating that Allen Vizzutti is one of the world's greatest trumpet players. His mom thinks so (see bio below), but she's not the only one.

He performs Wednesday night (4/23) at 7:30 PM with the AU Jazz Band and the AU Symphonic Winds in the Auburn University Student Center Ballroom. The address is 255 Heismann Dr. This is the building kind of on the Heismann-sculpture side of Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Ballroom is on the third floor. Doors will open at 6:30. Tickets are $10/$5. Here's the event page on the AU Music calendar.

In addition to being able to do things with the instrument (musical things) that really shouldn't be possible, Vizzutti is also a passionate educator. He seems just as comfortable working with junior high school band students as performing with the world's top orchestras. He'll do a masterclass, open to the public, Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 PM in Goodwin Recital Hall (320 W. Samford).

To recap:
  • Masterclass Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 3:00 PM at Goodwin Recital Hall - free
  • Concert Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 7:30 PM at the AU Student Center - $10/$5 <= seriously


Why should we go to this thing?


Silly question? This is an opportunity to hear great art music at a level we don't get to hear too often in our rural Alabama community. Ok, but it is also an opportunity to let the AU deciders know that we, in fact, are a rural Alabama community who is interested in more of this. That is, if we are.

It is not often that faculty get permission to spend the money to bring someone like this in. Jazz-wise, it's been decades (citation needed). But I'm not seeing the appropriate media promotion for an artist appearance of this stature. I have to assume that this is due to lack of budget, even with sponsorship help from Gadsden Music Company and Yamaha.

Point being, if we turn out, it presumably could support the case for greater budget allocation for more visits by the world's top musicians and artists. Let's turn out.

Besides the obvious help of music chair Sara Lynn Baird, thanks are due to saxophone/jazz instructor Mike Pendowski for making it happen. Trumpet professor Mark DeGoti has been a huge support to the cause, has a deep respect for Vizzutti's talent, and even uses the trumpeter's method and ├ętude books for his students.

It's Where, Now?


If you haven't been to the new Student Center, it's easier to find than you might think. The Jordan-Hare Stadium Parking Deck is the closest parking area, and after 5 pm, it's free in spaces marked A, B or C, which I think is most of the deck. For GPS users, the deck is located at 425 Heismann Dr., but you can also get to it by turning north off of Samford Ave. onto Duncan Dr. (at Telfair-Peet Theatre) toward the stadium. Duncan becomes Varsity Dr. for a blip, and the parking deck is at the end of that road.

Tickets are available at the door. You can also pick them up Tuesday and Wednesday (4/22-4/23) until 5:00 PM at the Music Office in Goodwin Music Hall (320 W. Samford). Good luck parking to pick up a ticket at Goodwin or for the masterclass. Actually, you can get a visitor's pass pretty easily at the AU Parking Services (330 Lem Morrison Dr.) which will help you get pretty close. Best, though, to have a friend drive you to the door or ride a bike.

More about the Artist 


There's plenty on Vizzutti's website to read and hear if you need more convincing. But I wanted to include one of his bios here. I'm partial to a good bio, and tend to skim over most of them or skip them completely when they are crammed with schools and venues and awards. The one I put below is refreshing.

Allen Vizzutti’s Favorite Bio (from


Allen Vizzutti has never been in prison. He has never jumped out of a flying airplane. He has gone swimming with sharks in the South Seas, which prepared him for later life in Hollywood.

He attended college at the Eastman School of Music, which proved to be a very positive springboard from which he dove into the weird and twisted world of professional music. It was there he met a marvelous and beautiful pianist named Laura who married him much later - after listening to 17 years of his begging.

Allen grew up in Montana, USA, land of the grizzly bear, full sized pickups, cattle, sheep, rednecks, watery beer, cowboy boots and the right to bear arms but not arm bears…. and he still managed to become a musician. His Dad did not own any guns, did not chew tobacco, and did not rope cows. He owned a music store and taught Allen to play trumpet. There were no beatings involved. Allen’s Mom helped too, and if you had asked her she would have told you Allen is the best trumpet player in the world.

Mr. Vizzutti has never really been employed. After the last note of the last piece of any given concert he is unemployed again. So he has learned to play some jazz and some classical and some other stuff that we don’t know how to describe, with the hopes of staying busy. Along with having written a few books and lots of confused music he is almost successful enough to be deemed ‘successful’. Almost.

After hearing Mr. Vizzutti in concert, listeners in 60 countries and every state in the USA have asked the question, “What the heck was that?” His many CDs in varied styles have been ignored worldwide. He has performed on 100’s of movie sound tracks but not ‘Star Wars.” They recorded that in London so don’t ask him about it. “Motel Hell”? Now that’s another matter. He played on that. “Back to the Future”? Yup.

His educational video called “Steps To Excellence” is now an out of print classic. An updated podcast version can be viewed at [This link -- -- might get you to it. -PM]

Mr. Vizzutti is proud of and outclassed by his wife and collaborator, Laura. She plays music beautifully and is a lot better to look at than he is. They live in Seattle, have 3 pretty cool offspring and no current pets. Marcella the rabbit was choked by a dog, Fluffy the fish was found floating upside down and subsequently flushed, and Hobs the hamster, was smacked in the middle of the night by Grandma, in her bedroom, with a shoe.

Though these artisans of hand crafted musical instruments are loath to admit it: Allen Vizzutti is a Yamaha performing artist.