Gig Journal

The Wine & Jazz Bar at Michael Timothy's Urban Bisto. Nashua, NH. March 16, 2003

The second gig at Michael Timothy's was even better than the first. It was a warm spring night, and it seems all the regulars escaped cabin fever and came to the wine bar. For the first two hours, it was so crowded that I couldn't even get a seat at the bar next to my wife, so on my breaks she came over and stood with me near the stage.

An appreciative crowd, which I appreciated.

Since I expected the crowd to thin out later in the evening, I played my strongest and most recognizable numbers in the first two hours. As best I can remember, the song list went something like this:

"Here's That Rainy Day"
"Satin Doll"
"Gentle Rain"
"Moonlight In Vermont"/"Misty"
"A Kiss To Build a Dream On"
"I Got It Bad"
"Don't Get Around Much"
"Quiet Nights"
"A Foggy Day"
"Girl From Ipamema"

and so forth...

I got applause after almost every tune. Maybe that's common in New Hampshire, but it's rare around Boston.

For the first set I played about 50 minutes. I only took about a five-minute break, since there was no place to sit, and I felt awkward just leaning against the brick wall, chatting with my wife. I felt like I should be playing.

For the second set, I played another long set. That's really hard for me, since I try to play a very full sound, with lots of chords and bass lines, so it's demanding on the left hand.

By this time it was almost nine. People were enjoying the night and the music, and I was having a ball!

Michael always feeds "the band." About 9 o'clock a seat opened up at the bar next to my wife, so I sat down and we enjoyed a big salad and a gourmet pizza. Great food! One night we'll drive up there just to have dinner at the restaurant.

By the last set, the room was still more than half full, and people were still listening and clapping occasionally. I noticed that one woman turned to me, smiled, and clapped for "The Nearness of You." Probably a favorite of hers. My arrangement of it is pretty simple, but the tune lays down great on the guitar, and sounds very lush. I enjoyed it, and I'm glad someone else did.

I had worked up a few new tunes, but I didn't try them. Still too rough. "Milano," "Tenderly," "When Sunny Gets Blue," and a few others. Since it was the night before St. Patrick's Day, I even worked up a jazzy version of "Danny Boy," in case some stout Irish lad or lassee wanted an early start. Didn't need it.

A few tunes did not go well. I had worked up Horace Silver's tune "Peace," which I felt an urge to play as a personal political statement, but I spaced out on the modulation to A, and could not recover gracefully. Well, it's the thought that counts. Also, I spaced out on some chords of "My Foolish Heart," and did not fake my way out of it well at all. Fortunately, that was in the last set and the few tables of customers were talking and not noticing too much.

There was a group of about a dozen customers who pulled their tables together and had a gathering. They talked energetically, but they also listened. On a break a couple of women from that group talked to me and said how much they enjoyed the music. One said, "We almost feel bad for talking." I said it was fine, and of course I meant it. Unlike many musicians, I don't object to playing background music. If people want to listen, they can. The music reaches them, anyway. They were a pretty savvy group, though. While I was playing "God Bless the Child," I heard one of them tell the other what tune it was. At the end of the evening one guy from that group came up to me to say he enjoyed the music. Turned out that he's a beginning guitarist. He asked who I listened to, and I said, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall, Joe Pass... He said, "Yeah, I thought I heard some Jim Hall influence. And on one tune you played some walking bass, sort of like Joe Pass..." An educated listener. That's always a treat!

The crowd hung in there for all four hours of the gig. They were listening and I felt like I should play a lot, so I was really pushing myself. I took more choruses of solo, so each tune was longer than usual. Between that and the long sets, my left hand got pretty sore. But nothing serious.

One tonal observation: I kept rolling off the bass, but even so it was a little too strong. That little alcove where I play, with the wood-trimmed windows and the brick wall, emphasized the bass. Next time, in my sound check, I need to stroll out into the room a bit and see if that area is a bass trap - with lots of bass right there, but little going out. I doubt it. The room just seems very warm. The house system sounds a bit bass-heavy, even though the speakers are up near the ceiling. There are plenty of features in the room to reflect the highs, but I think the brick and the carpet somehow eat them up. A good sound, but it does mean that I have to work a little harder with the third and fourth fingers of my right hand to get the melody notes out there.

I have two more dates booked at Michael Timothy's. I'm looking forward to them.

Last Modified 3/23/2003