October began Sunnyland with a small flurry of activity like swirling, falling leaves – a community apple picking party in the Hamptons, the annual Riverhead Country Fair, and a reprise of Jeff & Joel’s House Party in Guilford, CT.
Along the way, we re-connected with old friends and associates – Jeff Barnhart, John Clark, Fred Vigorito,Vince Giordano among others, and met some new friends at the house party. Pam Pamejier is the drummer for the New Black Eagle Jazz Band – a New England institution for over 40 years. I’ve been a long-time admirer of their great sound and eclectic repertoire, and Pam proved to have some solid washboard skills as well.
Another musical discovery was Genevieve Rose, a phenomenal bassist from Massachusetts. She has played in a variety of groups and styles and showed amazing adaptability, quickly mastering unfamiliar tunes within one chorus…and within minutes, confidently gliding into a beautiful solo.
I was also surprised and excited to meet in person Michael Steinman, host of Jazz Lives – my favorite topical blog (it was one of the first I included in my “favorite links” on this site…check it out over in the right side column). He is all one would expect after following the blog – an intelligent and witty commentator with insightful perspective driven by his passion for the music and it’s social environs. He’s also an English professor. (Don’t be caught dangling your participles!)
On a more bittersweet note, the farewell tour and accolades have begun for Bill Toiano, one of our long-time tuba associates, who is moving away to Austin, TX – soon to become the next center of the tuba universe. Bill performed at the Riverhead Country Fair with us and was given all kinds of well-deserved accolades and proclamations honoring him for years of dedicated musical service to the community. He also gets one last grand hurrah – completing his stint as founding director of the Howard Hovey Tuba Day on Friday, November 2nd. This year’s festival will be held at Connetquot High School at 7 PM. As usual, the festivities begin with a pre-concert performance by myself and John along with Bob & Arthur Hovey. Thanks Bill, on behalf of all the students and musicians you’ve inspired over the years! Austin’s tuba revolution begins in December…
Oh…The trio is still running strong at Bonnie Jean’s – with slightly altered hours. The band performs is featured every Thursday from 6 to 8:30 PM – along with a fried chicken special. Farm-raised, served hot, not too greasy – and the chicken’s not bad, either.