Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008


So I spent an hour this afternoon teaching a class ("Guest Lecturer, '' actually) and I had a great time, passing off my opinions as facts.

I'm trying my best not to listen while I'm being introduced. The students are staring at me as the instructor reads a way over-the-top and way, way too long intro about how I was:

"The youngest contestant on NBC-TV's NAME THAT TUNE, an author, attorney, pop culture expert..." (it went on-and-on and always grosses me out that they read the hype that was obviously written or approved by me). So I start to hum to drown out the flattery, and my mind goes back to the first time I ever spoke to a class.

It was a political lecture and one of the few listening was a seventeen-year-old MATT WALLACE. I later learned that he wasn't that into my speech at all, but was buddies with the candidate's children (I think he dated the daughter...Matt was always dating somebody's daughter).

So he comes up after and tells me about this 18-piece Big Band he's playing sax in and I end up checking them out. It turns out that the producer of my SUNDAY WITH SINATRA radio show, Tony Anzaldo, knew Matt (who was prolly dating Tony's sister) and so, to make a long story longer, Matt and I became fast friends. A 17 year old handsome, pretty good and soon-to-be great saxophone player!

It wasn't too many years later that Matt went on the road with the great Maynard Ferguson band, stealing shows all over the world with his big and powerful solos. After becoming Musical Director and a few years before Maynard died, the talented Mr. Wallace came to Las Vegas, doing shows at the Riviera, on the dark night of a show I was representing, An Evening at La Cage.

We hung out. Turned out he had become friends with the son of my close friend Vinnie Falcone. (Note: Vinnie has two talented sons, Jeff and Danny, the latter who now is blowing up a storm, backing Bette Midler here at Caesars.)

Anyway, back to school, where the teacher is STILL reading my intro. Man! It seems like she's doing an opening act. So I loosen my tie and interrupt her (students like that) and go into my guest lecture. Since the topic is Pop Culture, and I almost always let the students decide where we take it, I start out talking about "Jazz," a real American treasure, and, if you agree with my definition, a topic I know a bit about. So... do I lead-off with Sinatra, Basie, Harry Connick, Jr, Jamie Cullum or maybe Lionel Hampton? Nope. Met em all, and there's a great new book celebrating the career of Hamp, but me? I start with MATT WALLACE, and aside from my taking credit for discovering him, it was straight-forward well -deserved praise of a now 40-something jazzman, a sensational player who is helping keep Jazz alive and very well. Using Matt as an example, my opinion was accepted by the freshmen class at UNLV.

I was a hit. (It was easy- there was no cover charge, they weren't forced to buy my book, and let's face it: anybody is better than Mrs. What's Her Name and her boring ass introductions.

I hope to work with Matt on an upcoming project but until I do, I just wanted to thank my old friend for helping me through another speech.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I just returned from a fantastic visit to a great record store. Um, yup, that's right... RECORD STORE!
Amoeba Records ( for those of you not near Hollywood, Berkeley or San Francisco) is a place to discover music- all kinds of music!

So I pick up JACKSON BROWN'S first album, released in 1971. The cover art with the instruction to 'saturate before using' was designed to make the record look like a water bag. Most assumed that the title was: 'Saturate Before Using' but nope, that's wrong and I'm told that the art director's decision drove Asylum Records executives CRAZY. I love that! So much so, that I am officially adding SATURATE BEFORE USING as directions to how best consume HOUSE OF H2O-get it good & wet. (The album's actual title is... "Los Angeles, California." Check it out for yourself above).

Can you imagine that a young Jackson Browne wrote and performed 'Doctor My Eyes' on his very first album? He said that he wrote it as a kid on a broken piano, and I always listen and smile during the first few repetitive notes on that one.

To write such meaningful lyrics so early in his career? Just think about it--
Over the next couple of years, he'd release the albums "For Everyman" and "Late for The Sky,'' containing such all-time great Pop songs as "Take it Easy," "These Days,'' "Fountain Of Sorrow," and "For A Dancer."


"Take It Easy,'' has that great advice about not letting the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. And me? I'm still lookin' for a lover who won't blow my cover, but she's just a little hard to find, ya know?

I grew up in Southern California, the youngest brother in a house full of music and musicians. Bluegrass and banjos from my oldest brother's room, Country from another, Joe Cocker and Dylan from two more corners. ( I think I was heavy into the Soundtrack from Mary Poppins at the time. I was pretty hip for a 5 year-old). To combine all of the sounds of music in my house, Pop, Rock, Folk and Country, you'd end up with: JACKSON BROWNE

Tonight I'm thinking about those sensitive and introspective (so-called 'confessional') Southern California songs that were composed and performed by a twenty-something Jackson Browne; they came before-and not after- Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks." I think maybe young Jackson influenced (and was not merely influenced by) Dylan.

Little wonder that when my pal Cody texted me some lyric lines from Jason Mraz's "Love For A Child" I immediately got-and got into-what MR A-Z was doing and making me feel. Cody usually makes me pay my respect to his favorite, Brandon Boyd. (And I usually do. I'm kinda into Incubus. After all, BB & the boys grew up close to WW-them in nearby Van Nuys, me in Glendale).

Being surrounded today by all of these great records (and CD's, too) at Amoeba in Hollywood made me think back to when record stores were cool, and cool people recommended records. Tonight I'm driving back, playing Jackson Browne Solo Acoustic (Vol. 1) and hearing him introduce "These Days" as a song he wrote when he was 15. Man, I SO love Jackson Browne!

He wrote what I felt before I felt it. He makes me confront my failures, reminding us that he hasn't forgotten his.

If you want to visit a great record store, give a click on their logo to the left of my blog. And if you ever wanna just rap about music, gimme a shout.

Thursday, June 12, 2008



Sondre Lerche is great. And I mean GREAT!

Jamie Cullum bangs out a sensational rendition of Cole Porter's "I Get A Kick Out of You" and Robbie Williams did a pretty damn good job on Porter's "Well, Did Ya Evah?" (oh, and I did a pretty ok new lyric to that Cole Porter song as a Las Vegas promotion a few years back) but...

the ALL TIME Cole Porter classic is "Night and Day." Sinatra so loved ''Night And Day" that he did more versions of that song than any other (a 40's ballad, a 50's Nelson Riddle swinger, a 60's Don Costa string thing, a 70's disco Joe Beck thumper and an 80's Vinnie Falcone small group show stopper). Young Blue Eyes was so nervous when he heard Cole Porter was in the audience at an early gig that the singer forgot the words-- boom- went right up on the lyrics!

"Night And Day" is so special that when I first heard SONDRE LERCHE do it, on just guitar, I fell in love all over again. He changes tempo, accents interesting phrases and makes the song sound brand new. THAT'S what real artists do! When you listen to Sondre sing ''Night And Day," you'll have absolutely NO QUESTION that he loves the song. "In the roaring traffic's boom, in the silence of MY LONELY ROOM..." he's so feeling it, making you feel it, him. HE IS THE ONE!

Sondre's got the super duper hot model wife, thousands of screaming fans, but, when he leans into his guitar and brings forth this Cole Porter classic, you'll swear he's singing to and for only you. THAT'S what great performers do.

Sondre slides from his beautiful deep and rich notes up into his falsetto in flawless fashion. Hearing him sing his own compositions or covers, is to hear the joy of life sound. He "conqures and captures" every song.
If you are interested in hearing some really great Pop/Jazz, give a listen to The Duper Sessions. How good is Sondre Lerche? Great. He's great.

I hear that the cool-looking Norwegian grew up listening to all kinds of music, taught himself English, took guitar from a Brazilian teacher, and the result is a Jobim-ish, laid-back pop jazz groove that is sensational. I mean, his favorite singer is PEGGY LEE... I'm just sayin: how cool is that?

Now if you wanna flat-out rock out, Sondre's 'Phantom Punch' will get you there, man. We danced our socks off!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I like animals. My best friend is a dog, Apollo, named after the Greek god. I've had lions, tigers, and other Big Cats as friends, too. My newest pal is a kangaroo (they call them "roos.", I call him "Hop Sing")

Wednesday, June 4, 2008



Do you like girls? How about three multi-talented beautiful young women? The savvy Mr. Farrington has ALIZMA headlining in China (again) and throughout Europe as well as doing sensational special events here in Las Vegas.

Meet them at:

Monday, June 2, 2008


Isn't JAMIE CULLUM cool as shit? If you ever get the chance to see him 'live,' then just do it. He's funky, punky, hip-hoppy, sloppy, but above all, a sensational jazz artist. Cool as shit and hot as hell. He's the nuts!

If you want to download some good Jamie songs, consider "21st Century Kid," "These Are The Days,' and, of course, "I Get a Kick Out Of You."

About Me

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My profile is considered: "HIGH" 40-ish, 6 foot-ish, slim-ish, trim-ish straight-ish, late-ish, creative-ish... I am an unashamed HETRO* *Heterochromatic(one green eye, one hazel-ish).