What’s in store for 2020? Curtis Salgado is gunning for me to join his band full-time. I’m giving it a lot of careful thought. Leaving Dirty Revival has been like a divorce (an ongoing, bitter one at that), so I don’t want to dive headlong into another project immediately. That said, Curtis has asked me to join the band for an appearance at the 2020 Internationales Jazzfestival Bern in Switzerland for about a week in March. So, that’s pretty cool. Stateside appearances are in Everett, WA on 2/28, and Olympia, WA on 3/21.

I’ve got several Thursdays lined up with Reggie Houston in January and February at Catfish Lou’s, 6-9p. Catfish Lou’s is now in Beaverton; for years they had a space around NW 23rd and Vaughn. I’ll be doing that on 1/9, 1/16, 1/30, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27.

Last night I bought a Kurzweil PC88 keyboard from a pawn shop. I’m not thrilled with the action and feel of the keybed on it, but it will be immediately useful, as I don’t have a weighted 88-key MIDI controller for piano sounds. Plus, it was a pretty good deal, and came with an ATA hard case. Usually I just make do with my Nord Electro 3, which is semi-weighted (feels close to a Hammond), but I fight it all night. I’m gonna be test-driving the Kurzweil on gigs this week with a Yamaha Motif-Rack XS (the rackmount version of their former flagship workstation keyboard, the Motif). The Motif has really solid pianos, and combined with the 88-key weighted controller, it should be a massive upgrade from the 11-year-old Nord sample library. Another thing to try, though, would be updating those samples – Nord actually provides free downloads of the newest ones, and the Electro 3 is compatible with new sets, although it has very limited sample storage. Even in 2009 I was incredulous that 128MB of sample space was supposed to be a selling point. The Motif is actually even older; the boot screen says 2008… but the pianos sound enough like pianos through any speaker imaginable. One time in Seattle I crossed paths with Dan Walker, who’s been playing with Heart. In a facebook discussion, he told me he preferred the Nord pianos over all the other ones. He told me which samples specifically, and of course I didn’t make an easy-to-find note of it… I might update this post if I dig it up (but I can’t promise anything!)

EDIT – the post from Dan:
try digging into some of the more recent samples online if you haven’t. Royal Grand 3D is my go-to. Silver Grand, Velvet Grand, White Grand all very useful too depending on the musical context. I also use the uprights a LOT. Bambino, Amber, and Mellow are my faves there. And if you haven’t updated the Wurly to the “Wurlitzer 2 Amped” it’s well worth it.

You should be able to get some of the smaller-sized versions of the more recent piano samples onto the Electro 3. You might need to update the OS first, but they’ll be compatible, and well worth the upgrade over whatever samples the Electro 3 included from the factory. Bust out that USB cable and get into it! You’ll be glad you did!

Lastly, if you tried to visit this site in the last couple days, you may have seen a domain parking page, because I forgot to renew the domain. I can’t imagine the visitor count is beyond single digits, but all the same…