Wishing everybody happiness, good health, and success in the new year!
Looking back at 2018, there have been quite a few highlights for me and the trio (Justin Grinnell and Julien Cantelm, and I wanted to share some of them here. I am very grateful for everyone who has supported us along the way. With that, here are my 2018 highlights and reflections:
-Releasing One Day It Will on Origin Records. This album was a major undertaking for me, both musically and logistically. It was an amazing few months seeing how it was received in the press and radio worlds as well as with the public. I was very fortunate to work with a great team of promoters including publicist Ann Braithwaite, Joshua Ellman and Mark Rini of Groov Marketing, and John Bishop from Origin Records. I was also extremely fortunate to have the support of some awesome friends and fans who banded together under the name “The Producers Club.”
-Going on multiple tours with Justin & Julien. We played in Portland, Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver (our international debut), Baltimore, Washington D.C., NYC, Buffalo, Middletown, CT, Boston, San Luis Obispo, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Altos Hills, Huntington, NY, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Chandler, Tucson, Fresno, Auberry, and I’m sure I’m leaving some out. Huge thanks to all the venues for having us! Thinking back to all these gigs, each one of these venues are truly special places run by people who have such great passion and drive for keeping jazz thriving in their communities. Also, a huge thanks to Marian Liebowitz Artist Management and my wife for making all these gigs happen!
-Collaborations! As you all know, I love playing in the trio format, but it’s also a pure joy bringing other artists into the mix. This year, we’ve had the opportunity to perform with some incredible artists including Chico Pinheiro, Eva Scow, Anton Schwartz, Téka Penteriche. I also had a number of opportunities to collaborate with some amazing string musicians for my Trio Plus Strings concerts. They included Kate Hatmaker, Erica Erenyi, Travis Maril, Isaac Allen, Bram Goldstein, Coco Shih, Ben Brown, Renee Renée Delgado, Marina Kifferstein, Leah Asher, Clara Kennedy, Alisa Rose, Keith Lawrence, Shain Carrasco, Luis Mascaro, Jennifer Wu, and Simon Huber. Such a pleasure and honor to work with you all and I look forward to more in the future!
– LP And The Vinyl. My trio has been playing with vocalist Leonard Patton over the years, and this year we officially formed LP And The Vinyl. We went on a few very fun tours and had a very successful showcase at the Western Arts Alliance conference in Las Vegas. We’ve been adding more songs to the repertoire including some originals, and we have some great tours lining up for 2019 and 2020, thanks to Marian Liebowitz.
-Duo with Tripp Sprague! I love playing in the duo setting, and Tripp is an amazing musician to play with in this format (and any other format). We had a super fun house concert here in November. You can catch us at the Handlery Hotel on January 25.
-Peter Sprague’s Christmas concert. It’s always a blast playing with Peter and playing his amazing music. As usual, his Christmas concert made it to my list of highlights.
-I was very humbled and thankful to win jazz artist of the year at the 2018 San Diego Music Awards. It was quite an honor for me, and it felt great to have my work recognized in that way.
Over the last few years, I’ve been hooked on a number of different podcasts. Here are a couple of my favorite shows/episodes from 2018.
My very favorite episode was on the Ezra Klein Show and it was entitled “Will Storr on why you are not yourself.” I actually listened to it twice in a row and bought Storr’s book, which I am immensely enjoying.
I recently listened to the latest season of Serial. This season was an in depth look at the justice system, through the scope of Cincinnati. As usual, it was extremely well done.
I’ve been really hooked on the You’ll Hear It podcast by Peter Martin and Adam Maness from Open Studio. They do an amazing job breaking down jazz concepts, sharing what they love about other artists, and much more. It’s a great mix of material that is helpful for beginning jazz musicians, and inspiring to musicians and jazz fans of all levels.
I went through a cult podcast phase for a few weeks earlier in the year. I listened to Heaven’s Gate, and Dear Franklin. Pretty crazy is all I can say!
Another podcast that I checked out a bit was Freakonomics Radio. They had a series all about sports which I found fascinating. I rarely watch or play sports, even though I do enjoy watching them (and sometimes playing them if I don’t have to get my heart rate up). I think there are a lot of similarities between striving for greatness in the arts and sports, and it was very interesting getting insights from the athletic world.
Other podcast go-to’s for me have been WTF, Fresh Air, the Axe Files, and San Diego’s very own San Diego Sessions.
I wish I could remember all the TV shows I’ve watched over the last year. Some favorites though include Narcos, Kidding, Maniac (almost done with the first season), Peaky Blinders, Glow, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shameless, Orange Is The New Black, Black Mirror, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Billions.