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Thus Endeth Jazz Appreciation Month 

After landing in Louisville, and settling in at the downtown Louisville Marriott, the first thing on the agenda of some Touroids was getting out of Louisville. Getting out of the whole damned state of Kentucky, in fact, and heading across a big bridge into the next-door state of Indiana, and the charming little town of New Albany. The lure was a performance by a jazz musician born and raised and still living in New Albany. His name is Jamey Aebersold, and he is legendary in the jazz world, and beyond, as a…

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Norton Futilities 

Back in 2014, we did a pre-tour tour, promoting the tour that was coming up the following year. We went to New York and to London, doing TV appearances, including one on the Graham Norton show. 

If you want to hear my boss sing or me play on this clip, save your time. The version on YouTube has been stripped of our performance. I don’t know if that’s because of music clearance issues. my appearance being too frightening, or some other reason, but I won’t be hurt if you skip watching it all. 

I saw it all…

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Four Years Ago in Boston 

Wait--it wasn't Boston. It was across the bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I'm hanging out in a cute little club/art gallery called the Lilypad where the moment captured in this photo occurred. I was uncharacteristically  sitting in with some serious jazzers, most notably a drummer with whom I had played many years before, back in Indiana. Drummer Joe Hunt is now on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, but when I met him he was playing around Bloomington, shortly before heading east to meet up…

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Airing of the Green 

This is a the day when we like to look back at our many visits to Ireland over the years. We did a lot of memorable shows there, met a lot of special people, and lingered post-tour multiple times to ramble around the countryside. 

We had tremendous audiences in Dublin, enthusiastic and ready to party. Irish audiences always clapped and sang along, even on songs where it was unexpected. I never thought of “I Am…I Said” as an audience participation number, but they made it one. 

Among the fine friends we made…

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A Big Thumbs up for Women 

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and I found myself looking back at a couple of my first gigs when I arrived in Los Angeles, both of them with remarkable women. 

The first was at a club called the Ruddy Duck, quite near where we now live, playing Hammond B3 organ with the Mary Kaye Trio. Mary came from a royal musical family in Hawaii and Las Vegas, where she was a giant star in the early days. 

I wasn’t really an organist, but I managed to cover it, and it was great to have a steady gig. Serious…

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Grammy, How I Love Ya 

I apparently enjoyed watching the Grammys last night a lot more than others, but sometimes I’m easy to please. 

I first went to the Grammy awards in the early 1970s, when I was new in town and happy to be part of the scene, to arrive in a limo and walk on a red carpet, even if nobody knew or cared who I was, particularly me. It was held at the Shrine Auditorium then, and much more intimate than it is now. The after-party was at the Ambassador Hotel, and my wife and I got to dance to Count Basie and his…

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First Bass 

With all the nonsense coming out of the White House these days, the only people I can talk to who make sense are musicians.So I had lunch yesterday with Alan Lindgren and Larry Brown. We three collaborated on a few albums, under the name the Joy Circuit, back around the turn of the century. And of course Alan was there for almost all of my 40 years with Neil Diamond. One conversation topic that came up was Reinie Press. Alan declared that Reinie was the finest bass player he'd ever played with. 

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A Birthday Flashback 

Today is the birthday of my long-time boss, bandleader, vocalist and chum, Neil Leslie Diamond. 

When I was very new in town, I somehow was invited to audition to join his band. On a warm summer afternoon, I drove to Modern Musical Services, on Cole Place, just off Sunset Boulevard. Cole Place had a tiny left-turn lane and I got my first and only LA traffic ticket for not negotiating it skillfully enough. So I was admittedly a little grumpy when I arrived (at the appropriate time, thank you) and was told…

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One Year Later 

On January 22nd it will have been a year since Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring. It also marked my retirement from touring, so I am collateral damage, in a sense. 

So what have I done in the last year? 

Not much, it seems to the naked or semi-nude eye, but actually it’s more than it appears. 

During the course of my 40 years of touring with “the best band in the land,” as Mr. Diamond effusively referred to us, there were regular pauses, some longer than others, when we went back to…

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At Work and At Play 

Parade Magazine has posted a lovely video of our performance of Cherry Cherry at the Greek Theatre in 2012, from the upcoming (the 17th) release of Hot August Night III. The band is featured in this video, so I have an airtight alibi for that night, even if you claim to have security camera footage of me stealing your hubcaps.