The KSBR Bash 2003 was great! It happens every year during the Memorial Day weekend and serves as the primary fund raiser for KSBR, 88.5 Smooth Jazz; a Jazz Radio Station that is supported by its listeners.
For me, the real treat this year was playing with Tom Scott. The first 2 records (the big black things that got scratched way too easy) I got from my Mom back in 1976 were Tom Scott doing the theme to 'Starsky and Hutch' and Phil Woods with the Michael Legrand Orchestra. I wore out that record with Tom Scott because it was the first instrumental pop fusion I ever heard. It was life changing for me and got me in big trouble with my High School band director, but I digress.
There I was, on stage with my first sax hero; felt like I was kid all over again. I just kept freaking that Tom Scott was on the same stage I was. Tom is an amazing Musician and Sax Player. He can do Tom Scott better than anyone can because… well; it is obvious; He is Tom Scott! Tom was way cool too. He was taking pictures, hanging hard and really seemed to enjoy the mayhem.
Other players that day included Diane Schuur, Peter White, Paul Taylor, Michael Lington, Marion Meadows, Brian Bromberg, Grant Geissman, Slim Man, Greg Adams, Evan Stone, Scott Wilkie, Steve Reid, Gregg Karukas, Jennifer York, Ramon Yslas, Kevin Toney, Blake Aaron, Chris Standring, Amber Whitlock, Gannin Arnold, Richard Smith, Rob Whitlock, Tim Landers, Nathaniel Scott, Adam Watts, Eddie Drayton, Mombo Hernandez, Art Rodriguez and Tony Guerrero. I think I have worked with all these players except for the other Sax Players on Concerts over the past few years.
Go to my friends site to see the pics of the 2003 KSBR BASH. Brian and Kaye Runner have been taking pictures of Jazz shows for years now. They are so good I used their work on my Gospel CD for all the art work. Another great job this year guys!!
Whether you like your Jazz hot or cool, mainstream or contemporary, the place to be was the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano, for The KSBR All-Star Birthday Bash. The party started to cook around six in the evening on May 25, 2003 and didn't stop until about 10:00 o'clock. Horn man Tony Guerrero once again emceed this musical fest which brought together a great lineup of vocalists and instrumentalists, all to benefit 88.5 KSBR.
Anyone that has not attended a KSBR Bash Event in the past would need an explanation of what takes place each year for the KSBR BASH and how it differs from what you see when these guys play a concert with their own bands.
When I worked with Peter White, for instance, the band was rehearsed, had regular band members for each chair with substitute players for each person, that could fill in if someone missed a gig. New guys had a lot of work to do before a nice long rehearsal or two before playing the show. I was at nearly every show for 6 years, missing maybe 3 times total. Johnny Menzano was the only guy that was with Peter White Band before me, but he missed on occasion too. All the other personal changed over the years or just went away after a while. The show changed with a new segment each time a new CD was released. We all had some rehearsal at that point.
All this to show why the BASH is so weird.
In the old days, "Jazz" was performed and recorded live. Jazz Players represented the very best musicians on their instruments that could be found anywhere. As Jazz became more Pop oriented, the recording techniques used in Pop and Rock began moving into Jazz – Contemporary Jazz and now Smooth Jazz. The approach to live performance then became more and more reproducing the new CD for tour support to sell the new CD.
The music is written by the Artist or outside writer and taken to the studio for recording. If there is an existing band, they might get to work on parts of the CD but most the recording is done by session guys in that town, recorded one piece or person at a time, fixing anything that the Solo Artist or Producer might dislike, until the guys in the recording booth love what the musician in the studio just did. You then have one instruments performance and then have to record the next guy. The process is called multi-tracking and eventually will provide the 20-40 or more different parts/tracks that mix together to be what you hear on the radio. Later the band guys have to learn what ended up on the CD to play the live shows and promote the new CD for the next year or two.
Repeat over and over again; throw in a lot of computer recording and Keyboards providing Drums, Bass, Strings, whatever and that is a CD.
The main issue I have with this process is it is not true to the concept of what Jazz is. Historically, Jazz was great players, creating audio interaction as they worked together, playing off each other and sharing true inspiration and passion as they fed off each others creative genius. It was the energy that came from the moment, each other, and their life disposition at that moment. It produced a sort of collective energy that spoke to people’s souls. It was 'real' in every sense of the term.
The best example of this now is found in sports. A football team has 'defined roles' for each guy. They practice each part and practice it together. When it comes to game day, they perform from there 'personal skills' they have spent years to develop, and interact in an 'open system', using the plays they practiced to achieve dominance and victory. How long is the bomb? It is not to a certain line on the field but adjusts to where the guy is going at that moment. Throwing the ball to the place you practiced means nothing; getting the ball to the guy that is open means everything and it could be different guy right then. It takes everything you are and everything you know, and applies to a fresh new situation every game.
Said even simpler… In Basketball it is the tallest doods WORKING TOGETHER and interacting with each other to beat the other team. Music is supposed to be a 'TEAM SPORT.' Most music today is 2 guys, a computer and lame.
The KSBR BASH…
The KSBR Bash takes a giant group of 'Smooth Jazz gods' in their own right, and strips them of their own band, rehearsed jive, cute dance steps, 10+ songs to make a musical statement, ect…
Each Jazz Artist is given ONE song to choose as a personal feature for the evening. They must use the Musicians that are also at the event as the back-up band for their featured song. They can request certain musicians or a smaller band's instrumentation, but will probably get 'who they get' for their band with 'dictated full instrumentation' and NO PRACTICE time. They have to bring copies of their song that day for everyone to sight read and can talk to the guys scheduled for their song if they can get them all together or even find them much before that song comes up. We are told to choose our song knowing all this.
Now to pull this off, one must be a Great Leader; good enough to lead your confused musicians through bad sheet music, ending together, while trying to show off your playing abilities on your featured song. Not an easy task…
Based on the huge success year after year, one can assume we have the great Artist/Leaders that want to play this unusual event and you’re right.
Funny thing is, 25-30 'Great Leaders' (Chief/Boss) have to spend most the night being a 'sideman' (indian/employee) to everyone else. Most of these guys are the 'Boss' in their world, wearing this sideman hat maybe once a year and it is at the BASH. We draw the best local and national talent to lead the impossible musical adventure, and then expect them to step out of the spot light and support everyone else for the rest of the 4 hour event.
I Love KSBR and I LOVE this BASH Thing!!!
It is truly amazing, and despite the possible disasters both musically and relationally; each year a new group of Musicians take on this event, shine like the stars they are, and rekindle the heart of Jazz for themselves and two thousand plus <>B>Jazz fans that get to see the 'real stuff' going on before their very eyes. 'Interaction' with 'Tallent' creating something 'different and fresh.'
It is amazing! It happens every Memorial Day Weekend, on the Sunday 6PM to 10PM.
The talent on this stage is always amazing! Michael Lington, Marian Meadows, Tom Scott, Greg Adams, Tony Guerrero, Paul Taylor and me, Greg Vail, make up the horn section for this tune. What a trip to play horns with these guys! I had a ball playing Bari Sax and can't wait to hear the recordings. Tom Scott asked and I was very happy to bring it out since I really don't get to play Bari very often. I also played Alto Sax, Tenor Sax and Flute thru the night and never got to the Soprano Sax because Paul Taylor and Marian Meadows were covering the Soprano Saxophone very nicely.
Peter White and I toured together for 6 years. The whole story and More Peter White Band Photo's are here at Leaving The Peter White Band. It is always great to see my old friend and play with him. Miss you Peter.
The Bash is always a funny gig for me because half these guys are now, our have been my employers. On most jobs you have one boss, but here there can be 5 on stage at the same time. It can be a bit strange when they send opposite messages at the same time. Who is still paying the bills, but they are all good friends... damn...
For anyone who knows me, their a few facts that can't be denied. I never look the same from month to month and I have opinions about everything under the sun (not even politically correct). For the Photo record; this next few photo's show ongoing change in Greg’s World.
The 2003 Bash was a brown nose event for me. I have caused problems in the past and just wanted to go this year and have a good time. I am seen in my 'brown-nose special' wearing a vintage KSBR bowling shirt of many colors. I also have been dubbed the Pen King. I have made Pens for promo for years and most of my friends laugh at the pens I have designed. For this years BASH, I had a Patriotic theme pen with the following inscription. "I Love 88.5 KSBR" "Check out my CDs and brown-nose at" "www.gregvail.com." I had my son Ben Vail and his friend hand out 2,000 that day just for fun and a little free gift from the 'Greg Man'.
Tony Guerrero said it all. He said he wanted to make a pen that said, “This is not a Greg Vail Pen, www.tonyguerrero.com.” Thanks Tony!
2002 Bash was a trip back toward long hair, but when I saw these very pictures, I decided the hair had to go. I looked at this pic and thought I looked like a chick singer from the band Meatloaf; not a very cool Smooth Jazz thing.
Vanessa Vail did some serious dancing that day in 2002 and she is seen here with Gerald Albright blowing a great solo and baby Vail stealing the show. The solo was great Gerald! Slim Man was doing his big 'Low Rider' thing... what a great combination of tallent and beauty!
Take it back one more year to 2001 KSBR Bash and here is Greg Vail, no hair, no image and total attitude just being himself and getting in big trouble. Oh Well...
That's good for now. All the Runner Photo's are linked here and a big thanks to them for letting me steal them all!
Greg's 2004 Bash Review
Greg's 2004 Bash Pic's Opens in a new window. Close Pics page when done.
All the 2003 Artist Pictures
All the 2002 Artist Pictures
KSBR 88.5 Official Website