Vibraphone

August with Potts & Pans

August with Potts & Pans

Summers with Potts & Pans are fantastic! We have so many things going on, that often Matt, Christina and Myself have to split up responsibilities and spread out to cover multiple shows at once! During the month of August, I was able to take lead or do solo performances for a number of really cool gigs. Some of these were private events, but if you missed any of the public ones, you should probably LIKE us of facebook to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore :)

 

WEDDINGS!

Capture2Potts & Pans does a lot of weddings. We offer cocktail hours, reception music, ceremony music, DJ services, or anything else you need to make your wedding the perfect day! We’ll also match your colors, as we have shirts in almost every shade. For me, I had two weddings in August that were both AWESOME! Capture3First up, I went up to the Abbey Resort in Fontanta on Lake Geneva. After our many trips up here to play at Gordy’s Boat House, it was fun to see a bit more of the town. I was happy to work with the Bride, Ashley, to prepare everything for their cocktail hour. This was an outdoors performance playing solo steelpan. I brought my double seconds, and of course, used my 4 PP8b8CF blues from the Steelpan Store (definitely my favorite mallet for seconds!) The big surprise was Ashley wanted me to learn a few Mumford & Sons tunes to play. We are always happy to learn new music for our clients, so when she asked if I could play any Mumford, I looked some up, and put together this quick sample using my iPhone and she loved it. So I got a list of 6 Mumford tunes, mixed it in with some of our Caribbean favorites, and the cocktail hour was a success. To add to the fun, when I got out of my car I noticed I was parked next to a Felix & Fingers car! Mike and Emily were also at the Abbey playing for the reception of another couples wedding. That’s right, we’re taking over!

Capture1

The following weekend, I was back in Wisconsin, but this time went all the way up to Kohler. I took our Van, Lolita, who is guarded by Clifford. Look out for the #CliffordGoes hashtag to see where he’s off to next! IMG_7577I had worked with the bride, Cindy, for a long time putting together her wedding. Potts & Pans was there for the entire event. First, I played some solo double seconds for the ceremony down by the lake. The weather was beautiful, and the service was barefoot and flawless. The main attraction was the trio, in which I was joined by P&P members Emily and Aras for a Steelpan/Vibes/Drum group, and we played for a cocktail double hour before dinner. During dinner my guys were able to catch some delicious sandwiches (mine was patiently waiting for me to eat it later), while I went inside for some more solo seconds during the dinner time. With all the moving from place to place to play, the whole night went super smoothly and I was thrilled at the reactions I was hearing from all the guests. One even referred to me as “Joe Locke!” Flattering, undeserved, but still super awesome to hear 😀 After dinner, I rejoined the team and we did another hour of trio work for the final portion of the reception. We were able to grab a nice photo with the couple and our instruments, and talk with some guests afterwards. The couple has always loved the Caribbean and having the steelpan at their wedding was the “perfect addition to the day.” Add on the facts that all of their IMG_7578guests were super polite, receptive to the music, the venue was gorgeous and the weather was ideal, this was a truly enjoyable performance.IMG_7590
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANNUAL SHOW!

Capture4Another particularly exciting show for me last month was my return to the Anvil Club. Last year I performed for their Luau Pig Roast, and everyone loved it, so they had me come back this year! The food, as anticipated, was expertly prepared, and the event was another success. They had door prizes of wine and gift cards, and the guests got to enjoy the beautiful decorations, delicious food, and the great sounds of double seconds throughout the night. Although we had a rainy end to the day, it held off until right at the end of the event, so all the guests had a great time, I just got a little wet while loading my car!

NICHOLAS CONSERVATORY & GARDENS!

This place is awesome! This was the site of my first duo gig with Potts & Pans. This has been the site of a number of great solo, duo, and community band performances. The venue is awesome! If you live anywhere near northern Illinois and you haven’t seen their Green House you need to go immediately! Furthermore, they host a weekly event over the summer called “Tunes on the Terrace” and this year I had two different shows during August. Being able to split roles, I did a full night of Steelpan,Capture5 IMG_7564showcasing its versatility as a solo instrument, it’s ability to perform a wide variety of musical styles, and discuss a bit of its rich, and very very recent history. Later in the month, I returned for a full night of solo vibraphone. This time I focused on Jazz tunes, playing standards in the standard style, mixing in a few newer elements, and even performing a few originals. Both shows were attened by a large and appreciative audience. For the vibraphone show, I was thrilled to hear a lot of “you should’ve seen this guy last time — he plays steelpan!” while I was setting up. I also got to meet a fellow vibes player and world war II vet, Dick, at the vibraphone performance and share stories of moving these things around and playing combo gigs. This was definitely a great way to close out the month for me, and I can’t wait to head back to the gardens next season.

 

That’s all for now folks,

 

AJH

Cold Weather – Great Vibes!

Cold Weather – Great Vibes!

CMS1November was a fantastic month! Facebook Likes have grown, Twitter Followers are increasing (you should follow too!), and the shows were an absolute blast! First, Potts & Pans brought a quartet out to Cool Music Stop in Harvard, IL. I played vibes, with Matt and Christina on pan, and the show was a blast. The night was cold, but the heat was cranked and we brought some Caribbean jazz up to northern IL. I really love playing vibes with these guys, not only do pan and vibes sound beautiful together, but when you spend so much time with the same guys, it’s so much easier to communicate musically! The solos this night were killin’ (even though I maybe quoted the same Andy Narell lick over and over…..it became one of those jokes only the three of us up on stage were laughing about!)

pasic14all.jpg

Next up was #PASIC14! Matt and I spent a few days preparing over 100 pairs of mallets, and a few other odds and ends to take out to the show with The Steelpan Store. This year in Indianapolis was awesome. We sold a pan, lots of mallets, a few other things, and made a huge amount of connections. The pan presence at #PASIC14 was incredible. Kyle Dunleavy and Alan Coyle were both there with artists Sherwin Thwaits and Tracy Thorton. Matt and I got to spend time playing pan, talking pan (selling pan) and even enjoyed a fantastic meet and greet dinner arranged  by Brandon Haskett with all the steelband directors in attendance. We also got to talk with one of my favorite vibists, Arthur Lipner – a loyal customer of The Steelpan Store! We were also thrilled to hear all the hype that was out there around the Great Lakes Steelpan Festival!

clfolFor those in town – Potts & Pans closed the month with Crystal Lake’s Festival of Lights parade. I was on lead pan for this one (using Potts & Pans 9B7-wd-rd mallets available here). Not only did Matt get some electricity in #TheLady, but we used that to light up both the inside of the bus, and the entire trailer (it was an awesomely excellent musical italian bistro on wheels!) We performed Destra’s State of Mind, and Matt’s arrangement of Jingle Bells (Soca Style :P) The crowd loved it, and we are looking to make this one an annual event. We even got some wonderful photos from J Nanez Photography!

I was able to bring some Jazz Vibes over to the Presbyterian Church of Palatine this past Sunday. I was invited to provide special music during their service, and a couple of standards fit the bill. The members of the church were all very receptive to the music, and many had great compliments afterwards – it looks like I’ll be back there soon! I have known the pastor, Teri, for sometime, and it was great getting to see her new church. We also sang together on a tune at the end of the service 😀 This was a wonderful environment for the vibraphone. A smaller place requiring no amplification, allowing the instrument to sing brightly throughout the hall. One hard of hearing member even commented “Your music was the only thing I could hear during service, and it was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.” Compliments like that are about as good as they get!

PCP2

Next up – Toys for Tots Benefit Concert! If you’re in Crystal Lake, or anywhere near, you won’t want to miss this one. Simply bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate, and you get a wonderful concert. Featuring our community steelband, as well as the professional P&P crew, we have socas, calypsos, holiday favorites, flute trios, and some vibes features! See you December 7th, at 4:00!

That’s all for now,

 

–AJH