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 étude 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 vizzutti.com)


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 yamaha.com. [This link -- bit.ly/1hlbMdr -- 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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series presents Darryl Purpose in Concert 5/2/2014 (Press Release)

I'm posting this straight from the performer's news release. Sundilla will have an earlier concert this Friday (3/28) by Gretchen Peters. I posted about it here. This series is one of our community's treasures. I think it's still largely unknown around here. Any ideas why?


"Darryl Purpose ends a seven year silence with a stunning ten-song comeback" -A.W., Maverick Magazine

Friday, May 2nd at 7:30pm / 450 Thatch Ave., Auburn, AL 36830 (Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship)

Tickets $12. Limited number of $10 Advance tickets available at Spicer's Music and Mama Mocha's Coffee
Sundilla: 334-741-7169 / www.sundillamusic.com


Listen to Tracks from the new CD "Next Time Around" 

When Darryl Purpose was 16 years old, his mother put a book called Beat the Dealer in his Christmas stocking leading to a celebrated career as a professional card player.

After years of playing in casino’s across the country, Darryl switched gears, took time to walk across the country for peace and, in 1996, he began to tour nationally as a solo singer-songwriter. Eight years, six CD’s and a thousand-plus shows later, in 2005, he inexplicably set down his guitar, taking a much needed sabbatical in the rocky mountains.

Now, after years away from the music scene, Darryl Purpose is back! With a new energy and a new flair for connecting with audiences. In 2012, Darryl recorded his first CD of original material in 10 years - “Next Time Around”, produced by Billy Crockett for the Blue Rock Artists label. Called “a masterpiece” and “Purpose’s best effort yet” by Dj’s [sic].

Live performance is his strength as he connects his audience to his songs with a storyteller’s heart. And, oh, by the way, in 2009, Darryl was inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame, one of only 17 members.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sax Quartets, Jazz at the Musuem (Expires 4/3/2014)

Below is from an e-mail update I sent out tonight. To get on my e-mail list and avoid missing an update in case I forget to post it here, click this link and fill out the form.

Saxophone Quartets Performing for Lunch Music 3/20

Thursday (3/20) three sax quartets from the AU sax studio will perform a free concert at noon for A Little Lunch Music. There's an interesting (*I* think) post about that on the museum's blog at this link: Auburn Students Bring Saxophone Quartet Music to A Little Lunch Music. For those interested in saxophones, ragtime, Gershwin, 20th-century music and a little percussion, you should come out. For others, consider that last sentence to be your "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" sign. The café will be open from 11-2.

Next Thursday, 3/27, Duo Amico will perform. Read their impressive bios on the schedule page for A Little Lunch Music.

Fine Tuning Weekly Jazz at Museum

As I mentioned last week, the weekly jazz continues at the museum. This (3/20) being the third Thursday, jazz will be in the lobby from 6-7, with the Third Thursday Poetry Series (JCSM Welcomes Poetry Series) meeting from 7-8. And integrating new programming into an established system can cause some blips. One of which is that both jazz and café will be unavailable after hours on March 27 due to a long-standing private reservation of the space.

So the upcoming after-hours jazz at the museum is...
  • Dan Mackowski (guitar) and Sam Altonji (bass) on 3/20. Some press reports included me, but I have an conflicting gig that day.
  • Closed on 3/27
  • Dan, Jason DeBlanc (bass) and myself starting April 3, and that should be the personnel throughout April


 That's All I Have

There's more going on, but I can't get to it right now. My Event Sources page will help you find it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gretchen Peters Plays Sundilla Series 3/28/2014

"Hello Cruel World" by Gretchen Peters from recent CD release of same name. Video is from Gretchen Peters' YouTube channel. Click here for more about the CD on her website.
Below is a partial post by Bailey Jones who runs the Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series. Click the link at the bottom for the full article on Sundilla's website.


The insert-your-favorite-adjective-for-“GREAT” Gretchen Peters will make her Sundilla debut on Friday, March 28, in what is sure to be an evening of music that will never be forgotten. Showtime at the [Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship] is 7:30; admission at the door will be $15, but a limited number of $12 advance tickets will be available at Spicer’s Music, Mama Mocha’s Coffee, and online at www.sundillamusic.com.
We’ll have free coffee, tea, water and food, though as always attendees are welcome to bring whatever food or beverage they prefer.

Gretchen Peters
The Associated Press says “This is not jukebox music – the stuff that exists to fill in the pauses in conversation. This IS the conversation.” Since arriving in Nashville in the late-80s, Gretchen Peters has become one of the most successful, and revered, songwriters in music...
[click here for full article]

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Classical Soprano, Guitar, Jazz and Blues in Coming Days (expires 3/13/2014)

Below is an update of an e-mail I sent out Monday. If you want to get those e-mails, you can sign up using the form at right or by clicking here.

AHS Grad, now Professional Soprano Kathleen Buccleugh Performs Thursday

Kathleen Farrar Bucccleugh
Not too long ago, Kathleen Buccleugh (ancient Scottish spelling of "Buckley") was a student at Auburn High. Thursday, the prodigal singer returns with a couple of music degrees and a lot of opera, recital, sacred, and new-music experience under her belt. AU piano faculty Laurelie Gheesling will join her for A Little Lunch Music at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, and AU student and special guest Hunter Hayes will share a Mozart piano sonata. Here's a post I did for the museum's blog: A Little Lunch Music: Can Journalism for Truckers Inform Opera Singing.

Classical Guitarist Francois Fowler Plays Goodwin

Classical guitarist and composer Francois Fowler will perform Thursday night (3/6) at 7:30 PM. His bio boasts performances throughout North America, national and international awards, and faculty credit at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Here's a link to my post with video of him playing one of his own compositions.

AU Spring Break Lunch Music Added - Marc Karam Returns 3/13

We will do a concert during AU's Spring Break for A Little Lunch Music, and the Museum Café will be open. Performing on that date (3/13) will be vocalist and pianist Marc Karam. The weather forced a change in his February concert from 2/13 to 2/14, and we heard about several who, having not heard of the date change, came to a closed museum! So we're bringing him back. Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art website is here.

Classical Guitar, Jazz, Blues in the Coming Days

Weekly jazz continues at the museum from 4:45 to 6:00 PM. I'll be there March 6 with guitarist Dan Mackowski and bassist Jason DeBlanc. Previous blog post about this new endeavor here. At 5:00, the film Aquí y Allá (Here and There) begins in the museum's auditorium, so you'll have to choose. See the trailer and read the synopsis at the museum's film page. I think the scheduling overlaps will improve as time goes on.

Atlanta blues singer Francine Reed will perform for the Columbus Jazz Society's quarterly concert on March 11 at 7:00 PM EST. A good way to get a taste of her amazing voice through the years is through YouTube search results. She toured with Lyle Lovett back in the day, and has a long list of great jazz artists she has performed with. The CJS website has all the info.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Guitarist, Composer Francois Fowler to Play Goodwin Hall Thursday, 3/6/14

Francois Fowler performing his composition, Meditiation. Video is from GuitarDana's YouTube channel.
Guitarist Francois Fowler is completing a short concert tour of colleges and universities in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and South Carolina. He will play Goodwin Hall (map) on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 7:30 PM. The recital will feature bluegrass music, Spanish music, music by J.S. Bach, and three of Fowler’s own compositions including his latest, Wavelength Sonata. Click here for the event page with full program info.

From his bio...

Guitarist Francois Fowler has given recitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico...is the recipient of national and international prizes...A faculty member at the Dana School of Music (Youngstown State University, Ohio)...For more information please visit www.francoisfowler.com.