Excellent Frank Russo Drum Solo

Frank Russo continues to be the busiest performer in show business, check out his schedule. He plays more venues than I can keep up with, that’s a full time job.

But here’s something a bit unusual:

That’s a YouTube video of a great drum solo by Frank he sent out on Wednesday of this week. According to Frank: “I play two choruses after the shout chorus on Horace Silver’s Room 608.”  It was recorded a week ago today, Friday, November 7, 2014, at Towson University’s Faculty Ensemble.

Go Frank!

Out of the Valley of Giants – new CD from Todd Bauchspies

New CD 'Out of the Valley of Giants' by Todd Bauchspies

PRS recording artist Todd Bauchspies has released a new CD titled Out of the Valley of Giants and it’s absolutely fantastic!  It was formally released at a sold-out party at Easton, Maryland’s historic Avalon Theatre on Friday night, October 3, 2014, and now the CD is available to everyone.

The full CD is available online at Amazon here, as well as other locations online and in stores.

PRS Recording Artist Todd Bauchspies

Rare video: Eva Cassidy singing “The Rose”

Here’s a great old video I just found on YouTube of Eva Cassidy performing a unique rendition of The Rose, a song originally made famous by pop singer Bette Midler in the 1980’s. This video is probably from the early 1990’s – the caption says it’s “Eva Cassidy and Method Actor backstage rehearsing. The song there doing is The Rose. Also Eva’s brother Dan Cassidy is the one playing the violin. For those who know the names of the others feel free to name them.” That’s Bob Fiester in the foreground playing guitar, and I don’t know anyone else in the video.

Majestic at Ritchie Coliseum, circa 1979? 1980?

One of the best experiences in my life were the four years I had the privilege to be a part of Majestic, an established rock band in the Washington, DC music scene in the late 1970’s.  In 1978 I got a phone call from Jon Naugle who said the group had an opening for a rhythm guitarist and that my guitar instructor Tom Kreuzberg had recommended me to them.  I had been with another band that had just dissolved, so I jumped at the chance to join Majestic, consisting at the time of Jon on lead guitar, Billy Slezak on lead vocals and bass, and John Davis on drums, the original founding members.  We played throughout the DC / Baltimore area, and a little at various other locations, such as Manhattan.  I was the youngest guy in the group by two years, and I always appreciated the patience each of these guys had with me, and the leadership they all exhibited in a variety of ways.   I learned a lot from them about music, business, and life in general, this was a quality group of guys and I was forever changed for the better because of my time with them.   And I had a great time – it was a lot of work, but we laughed a lot and it was a total blast.

And the group grew – we added Steve Hoffman later on keyboard and vocals.  We added an excellent sound man named Mike Collins who introduced me to the entire New Wave music movement before I know of anyone else who was into it, and we added a great road crew of Jeffrey Moran and Jimmy McGuire.  Eventually Dexter Dunn joined us when Jon moved on to other things.  We eventually broke up in 1983.

This video is from the earlier years I was with them. It’s a cover we did of Jackson Browne’s “Redneck Friend”, the second song in a show at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum in College Park, Maryland.  It’s from an earlier time; a year or two later we were dramatically more energetic on stage, in my humble opinion.  But I still love this video.

One interesting tidbit:  Tom Kreuzberg actually filmed this show, he worked the camera and he is the only reason I have this recording.  We didn’t ask him to do it, he actually phoned me and asked if it would be OK if he came to one of our shows and filmed it, and I said uh – well yeah, duh, of course.  I really don’t have much in the way of video recordings of the band, so I cherish this particular recording, the full video is about two hours or more.  I’m eternally grateful to Tom for this.  (Earlier in this blog I wrote about Tom’s recent passing.)

P.S. It’s worth noting that about a year or two after this show, I got a chance to see another young band perform at the same place – Ritchie Coliseum.  That was a rock band named U2.  They were on their “War” tour and I got a chance to hang out with The Edge after the show for about 20 minutes, we had a fascinating conversation.  He signed my ticket that, so I have proof!  U2 went on to become a bit more well known that Majestic.  We could’ve done the same thing, we just chose not too.  Yeah, that’s it.

King of the Nerds is reaching out to MENSA

I happen to be a member of MENSA, and recently, we Mensans received a casting call of all things, for a TV show called “King of the Nerds” from Turner Broadcasting Network.  TBS sent a flyer through the organization to members asking members to “showcase your skills and personality for a chance to win $100,000 … casting intellectual and competitive men and women. Whether you’re passionate in academics, science, robotics, fandoms, cos-play, comics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, sci-fi or anime … Apply Today!”

So there you go! Stay tuned for King of the Nerds, could be interesting.

Frank Russo and the MARS 4Tet

Legendary drummer Frank Russo and the MARS 4Tet will perform a rare and unusual free concert this Thursday, July 10, 2014, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Whitmore Park at Calvert and Clay streets in Uptown Annapolis, MD. Also appearing will be special guest Amy Shook. Feel free to bring a chair, a blanket, and a cooler, and get more info at (410) 295-6691.