San Francisco in March

I was scheduled to do five solo performances at the Rrazz starting today, through Sunday. Yet I am writing these words at home in Santa Fe. What happened?

The Rrazz called my agent on Monday and cancelled my performances. The club is currently closed due to a San Francisco noise ordinance. Here is a statement the club made in February, and which, as of today, is no longer linked from the homepage of the Rrazz website – maybe it will get updated later today:

At this time, through March 5, 2013 only, the SF Entertainment Commission has required us to pause our performances while we investigate a possible sound issue at our new home on Van Ness Avenue and rectify it as needed.  Since RRAZZ has always been considerate of our performers, audiences and neighbors, we stand to right unjustness whether on a broad spectrum or a narrow one.  Therefore, we feel obliged to postpone any performances through March 5 while we tend to the matter.  We are so very sorry for your inconvenience.

This is a temporary situation through March 5, 2013 only.

I assume the club had to delay re-opening to finish noise-related renovations.

Apparently the new home of the Rrazz – they moved from the Nikko Hotel location to a new room at 1000 Van Ness at the beginning of the year – is next door to an AMC movie theater. That proximity creates a two-way sound problem: loud R&B or Rock & Roll acts at the club might disturb quiet movies in the cinema and action movies at the cinema could disturb softer performances, such as solo guitar concerts. It is not an easy problem to tackle and I hope the Rrazz will find a solution.

Believe me, I would have enjoyed a few days in March in San Francisco: the city culture, the coffee, great audiences and so on…

I will, however, perform in San Francisco later this year, with the band, at Yoshi’s in the Summer.

PS: just noticed this statement that was linked from Twitter:

Unfortunately, there will be no Rrazz Room shows until May as the new club does construction. All March and April dates are officially cancelled.

If you’ve purchased tickets, you’ll be getting a full refund directly from the club shortly.

We look forward to opening the new club on the first Monday in May!

Saturday in San Francisco

We are in San Francisco this weekend, for six performances at Yoshi’s. This afternoon I will also do a solo performance at the Fillmore Jazz Festival – at 2PM on the Fillmore street at Sutter street stage.

I have been watching Houman Orei play the traditional Persian Tonbak drum with us, a gorgeous instrument carved from a solid piece of Walnut wood. It has a lovely sound, darker than the bright Darbuka, which is also called Dumbek. The playing technique of the Tonbak involves mostly finger slapping, compared to, say, the palm slapping of a conga or djembe. These finger techniques are exactly the same as rasgueados, the strumming technique used in flamenco guitar music. Since the Tonbak is a very old Persian instrument, it seems likely that Moorish musicians in Spain played those, or similar drums. It seems logical to me that guitarists observed these drum techniques and copied them to enhance their rhythmic playing, especially in view of accompanying dancers.

Sunday in San Francisco

I had an idea for a new OL logo and quickly sketched it in a notebook. When I tried to re-create one of them on my computer I realized that drawing with a computer suffers from the same problem we have fitting musical events within the constrains of a Midi grid. Creating the design on a computer involves deconstructing the logo into geometric figures and lines that are available in the software… mind-numbing, in other words. I think I’d rather send my sketch to the designer we have been using and let him translate it into machine-speak. Remembered an interesting conversation with a friend, who is an architect, a year ago, regarding translating complex hand-drawn curves into a CAD program – which he claimed was nearly impossible and seemed to involve making many compromises.

A few photos of the stage:

The first show went well yesterday. The second one started out well, but suddenly, during Sixteen Hours, the stage became a rather warm place. And then uncomfortable and hot enough to make the guitar’s g-string suddenly turn sharp during Heart Still/Beating. Michael noticed the sudden heat-wave on stage as well. Was it when the DJ set in the other room started to kick in and maybe the AC was overwhelmed by too many bodies? We don’t know.

Loading out of Yoshi’s was hell, I am told, and lasted until 01:30 in the morning. Tight parking lot. Some helpful and some not so helpful Yoshi’s people. I was blissfully unaware as I was told to go back to the hotel a little after midnight. In my room I turned on the TV for the first time and discovered the Argentinia : Germany game on ESPN. Watched most of it and remembered my father, who was a big fan.

A few links:

A beautiful story and music by Canton:

Chanson pour Monsieur Du Serf (1993) | Canton Becker
“Il y’a un truque que m’a frappé: Tu a quatre-vingnt ans, il y’a des vins que tu ne boiras jamais.”

(This is the thing that struck me: You’re eighty years old, there are some wines that you’ll never drink.)

A bicycle joke:

Bike Joke « Urban Velo
What do you call an Indian bike messenger?

An explanation of a worm hole

Consumer Report blog entry regarding the iPhone 4 – no, I don’t have any problems with it either.

Beautiful video on YouTube, about Japanese motorcycle designer/builder Shinya Kimura

Saturday in San Francisco

The band rocked Friday night! Jon’s bass was fixed and he sounded great, really inventive and creative. We had some very fine moments and I believe Jaron captured it all. This is the strong suit of the trio, improvisation and creative exploration of the material.

Here are some photos from Thursday evening, when Jon and Matt discovered that the replacement potentiometer Lakland had sent for Jon’s bass, was different and the nut for the broken pot didn’t fit the new pot.

Tools of the trade:

The new t-shirt for men.

Michael suggested using a piece of a laminate to create a temporary nut that would hold the volume knob in place. It worked and actually looked pretty cool. Jon couldn’t use the knob that evening – he likes to use it instead of the foot pedal for swells – but it all held together.

I must wonder about Yoshi’s. I love playing there, but they had a DJ night in the other room, the sounds of which apparently spilled into the theater at times. I am told we got the DJ to turn down, but still, we had two sold out shows – why did they also do a DJ night, unless they really need the money? Here is hoping that Yoshi’s will be around for a long time!