Stories of gigging musicians
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a freelance musician?
Come for the stories, stay for the weird.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a freelance musician?
Come for the stories, stay for the weird.
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Anne Smith (Anne Sheridan Smith in a playbill), has been performing in the Chicago theatre community since 1996. She grew up here and caught the bug when she appeared in her first musical at Fenwick High School in Oak Park. “Once a Blackfriar, always a Blackfriar.” She’s been in numerous plays, musicals, lent her voice to bands and special projects, and sang in a trio, FOILED AGAIN, for 20 years, with friends: Rob Lindley and Allison Bazarko-Kirk, with whom she worked with in an a cappella octect at Navy Pier. They have an album called BLANKET OF WINTER available in a number of ways including Apple, Spotify, and CD Baby. A couple of appearances before the pandemic include an immersive play called SOUTHERN GOTHIC and a new musical about the Cubs winning the World Series, called MIRACLE. Anne is a nonprofit development consultant providing services and training that help build fundraising capacity, and she’s an adjunct professor every fall at Northwestern University, School of Professional Studies, teaching Major Gift Fundraising. She’s excited to be in the first episode of Kara and Pat’s podcast, WEIRD GIGS. ......
Scott Anderson is native of North Carolina, Scott moved to Chicago in 1999 after attending The University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Indiana University School of Music, and has been very active on the music scene working with countless groups in and around the Chicago area. He has been teaching in the Chicago area for 16years.In 2001, Scott founded Nia Quintet to showcase his songwriting and arranging, collaborating with some of the best musicians that Chicago has to offer. His first album, End of Time, on BluJazz Productions features 10 original compositions from a library of over 200 songs. His second album, released in 2013, features 7 more compositions. His newest release will feature 8 more originals that focus on production and melody driven material, this album will be released in 2016 on Origin Records.
Zoey Witz is a professional guitarist on the Chicago scene. He's a freelance musician and plays in many society bands in the city. Zoey current is a teacher at School of Rock.
Frank Canino has been playing professionally since 1979 when he appeared with saxophonist Warne Marsh at The Village Vanguard. After touring internationally as a jazz bassist with Warne and his own groups, in 1987 he joined Cornell Dupree’s band “Who It Is” and recorded their Grammy nominated record “Coast To Coast.”As a freelancer he has been heard with Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Dr. John, Willy DeVille, Ronan Tynan, Ben E. King, Richie Havens, Oz Noy, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Rick Springfield, Gladys Knight, Bo Diddley, Vanessa Williams, David Fathead Newman, Jane Olivor, Melissa Manchester, Felix Cavaliere, The Original Blues Brothers Band with Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd, John Oates, Southside Johnny, Gary U.S. Bonds, The Drifters, The Chiffons, Phoebe Snow, Beth Neilsen-Chapman, Melba Moore, Gloria Gaynor, Marilyn Michaels, etc.He’s played in dozens of Broadway shows including Rent, Beautiful, Hairspray, Hair, Memphis, Color Purple and many others . He can be heard on the Grammy winning soundtrack for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.”
For more info and music links please go to Yogaontours.com
Robin Lukas is a pianist/vocalist in the midwest. Earning a living playing “customer service” music at local Chicago venues ( Drake, Pump Room, 95th Signature Room) she's “kept my creative toe in the water” composing originals.
My fifth release, Good New Days (2020) Danceable poetic Jazzy Sophisti-pop originals.
Chicago pianist Jeremy Kahn's story takes improvising to a new level. He also talks disasters in a theater pit, Donny Osmond, and pandemic creativity.
Jeremy Kahn is one of Chicago’s busiest pianists, dividing his time between jazz venues, pit orchestras, and recording and teaching studios. He graduated from New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jaki Byard. Jeremy then spent twelve years in New York, where he was a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, and worked with Max Roach on his Obie Award-winning score for three Sam Shepard plays that were performed at La Mama and Syracuse Stage. After moving to Chicago, he was the pianist in the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (led by Jon Faddis and Dana Hall). Jeremy has performed on stage with Dizzy Gillespie, Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Branford Marsalis, the Chicago and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, and on screen with Madonna and Mary Wilson. He is also the founder of Double Monk, showcasing the the music of Thelonious Monk with two pianists and a dancer. Jeremy has played at many of Chicago’s theaters, including the Nederlander (formerly the Oriental), Cadillac Palace, Shubert, Auditorium, Chicago, Broadway Playhouse, Aurora Paramount, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Lincolnshire Marriott, Porchlight and Royal George for shows like Wicked, Spamalot, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Aida and Aladdin. Jeremy was also the pianist/conductor for productions of Hot Mikado, Louis & Keely Live At The Sahara and Pal Joey, and is currently a faculty member of Northwestern University, DePaul University, Elmhurst College and the Music Institute of Chicago. He has been a featured performer at the Chicago, Hyde Park and Poznan (Poland) Jazz Festivals, and a featured guest on the radio shows of Studs Terkel and Marian McPartland. Jeremy is a 2014 honoree of the Chicago Musicians Union Dal Sagno Club.
“New York’s loss has been Chicago’s gain in the case of Jeremy Kahn, the splendid jazz pianist who (has) moved back to his hometown . . .” Howard Reich; Chicago Tribune
Information about Jeremy’s recordings and schedule can be found at www.kahnman.com.
We also chat about favorite podcasts, "almost awesome" gigs, University of Iowa, and the best homemade wedding gift.
Mitch Towne is a keyboardist and touring musician, and is widely considered as the “go-to” Hammond organist in the Midwest. His ability to move seamlessly between diverse styles has made him a sought-after side-man with artists as varied as jazz/R&B artist and Grammy-winning producer Terrace Martin, jazz heavyweights Ryan Kisor, Jerry Bergonzi, Matt Wilson and Dave Stryker, blues artists Eric Gales and Ben Poole, and multi-platinum artist Aloe Blacc. In 2015, Towne played organ on the track “Push” for the album “Velvet Portraits” by Terrace Martin, which was nominated for a 2016 Grammy for “Best R&B” album. Towne is an endorsing artist for Crumar Instruments, Motion Sound Amplifiers and Lounsberry Pedals.
Songs include: OGD Road Song (with Dan Wilson Trio) & Eighty One recorded live at The Jewell in Omaha, NE
Vance Okraszewski is a freelance Chicago based drummer and percussionist. Since 1998 he has made a living playing music in a wide variety of settings, ranging from commercial studio work, cover bands, musical theatre and pit orchestra work, jazz projects and original rock groups, to orchestral percussion performance and accompaniment for modern dance. As a drum set artist, he has toured nationally with Linda Carter, Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band, Lucy Lawless, Don Rickles, Angela Ingersoll, and Michael Orland, the assistant musical director for American Idol. He also teaches drums and percussion at the Merit School of Music, as well as privately either in person or via Zoom.
Chris Greene's weird gig story is call, "Just give the band free drinks".Underscoring music on today’s show has been an except of Ant’s Marching by the Dave Matthews Band, and Chris Greene’s original song The Crossover Appeal (uno mas).
Weird gig Podcast theme performed by Patrick Williams, Vance Okraszewski and yours truly.
We’re leaving you with a tune from Chris called Blues for Dr. Fear performed by the Chris Greene Quartet.
You can find out more about Chris on his website. chrisgreenejazz.com
Saxophonist and composer Chris Greene was born in Evanston, IL. He spent his formative years in the award-winning Evanston High School Wind and Jazz Ensembles. As a teenager he began to play professionally with many local pop/rock and jazz bands. Greene eventually went to Bloomington, IN to attend the prestigious Indiana University Jazz Studies program and studied with renowned professor and cellist David Baker. Greene returned to Chicago in 1994 and has since collaborated with some of the nation’s most creative and versatile musicians. As a performer, Greene can be seen with many different groups - in many different genres. He also leads his own critically-acclaimed group, the Chris Greene Quartet. He has also performed or recorded with the following artists: Common, The Temptations, Eric Roberson, Ed Motta, Steve Coleman & Five Elements, Maysa Leak, Ten City, Sheena Easton, Steve Cole, Michael Manson, Andrew Bird, The J. Davis Trio, Chris Rob, Vic Lavender, Jesse De La Pena, Liquid Soul and The Mighty Blue Kings.
Istvan is a long time member of the dynamic alternative music scene and a fantastic singer/songwriter as well as a clever children’s music artist.
He has a new podcast for kids and families called Istvan’s imaginary podcast.
We’ll talk more about it as well as the release of his upcoming original kids album called Evie the Queen of the Insects but first, Istvan tells the tale of his weirdest experience on a gig. The title of this story is: The Hot Dog Party.
Ashley Hamer is a pop, funk, and jazz saxophone player. She also is a science podcaster for the Discovery podcast Curiosity Daily. Ashley and I talk about Bill Nye the science guy, and all things podcaster,
If she could have lunch with anyone living or dead, who would it be? ,
and whoa, it’s weird being a lady on the music scene!
But first, Ashley tells the tale of her space themed, weirdest gig. I’ll title this story…Alien’s landed on New Year’s Eve.
Ashley Hamer is a science communicator with a wide range of specialties and a deep love of the unknown. She is the managing editor and cohost of the award-winning Curiosity Daily podcast and a former scriptwriter for the science YouTube channel SciShow. Ashley’s writing has appeared in Cosmopolitan, TIME, Buzzfeed, Mashable, and USA Today.
A Northern California native, she began her editorial career in Chicago in 2010 after earning a master’s degree in jazz saxophone at the University of North Texas. A love of science blossomed while she was in music school, and by the time she had graduated, that love had grown into an urgent need to learn as much as she could about the universe and share that knowledge with the world. Shortly after starting a freelance music career in Chicago, she worked as a staff writer for Groupon while spending her off-time blogging about the intersections between music and science for Mad Art Lab and cohosting and editing its podcast, Mad Art Cast. She also served as a board member of Women Thinking Inc., a nonprofit devoted to promoting science to women and families, and earned a certificate in medical writing from the University of Chicago.
Ashley began a full-time science writing career at Curiosity in 2016, and the rest is history. Since then, she has interviewed the likes of Sean Carroll, Carl Zimmer, and Alan Alda, hosted a number of widely viewed science videos, appeared on several leading science podcasts, and spoken on stages everywhere from C2E2 and New York Comic Con to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, Washington.
In 2019, Curiosity was acquired by Discovery, Inc., the media company behind informative, educational TV channels and digital products that include the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, The Science Channel, Seeker, and more.
When she’s not exploring the universe’s big questions, Ashley can be found performing a wide variety of music in and around Chicago. Ashley is also a Boston-qualified marathon runner, a triathlete, and a cat mom to a genetically interesting calico named Aglet. https://www.ashleyhamer.online
On today’s show, I sit down with Bill Overton. Bill is a woodwind player as well as guitarist and vocalist. In addition to playing jazz and big band gigs in both New York and Chicago over the years, Bill was also a music educator. His latest recording is called “Only Love Can Do That, released in 2018.
Bill and I talk about Gilbert Godfrey, solo saxophone gigs, and a love for Jimmy Webb’s music.
But first, sit back and enjoy Bill’s weirdest gig story. I’m calling it The Rifleman.
Underscoring music on episode #11
The Theme song from The Rifleman TV show
Johnny Crawford- Your nose is gonna Grow
Glen Campbell sings Jimmy Webb- Sun Shower
Bill Overton- Rainy Night in Georgia (written by Tony Joe White)
Bill Overton's Youtube channel
Bill Overton, woodwinds, guitar and vocals, was born in Memphis in 1954 and grew up there immersed in its blues, jazz and soul music. After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana, he moved to New York City in 1981 where he performed with such artists as Mel Lewis, Doc Cheatham, Mickey Roker, Major Holley, Vic Dickinson, Rosemary Clooney, Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, Howard Alden, Bo Diddley, the Temptations, the Spinners, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and many others while teaching at the Brooklyn Conservatory, William Patterson College, and the Aebersold Jazz Clinics, as well as in the public schools. He has recorded extensively and conducted clinics, master classes and seminars throughout the U.S. and abroad. Bill and his family moved to Libertyville, Illinois, in 1998, where he taught band, guitar and music technology at Oak Grove School in Green Oaks, IL, while performing with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra with guest artists such as Roy Hargrove, Ahmad Jamal, McCoy Tyner, Ann Hampton-Callaway, Kurt Elling, Slide Hampton, Jon Faddis, etc., the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Philharmonic, his own quartet at Andy’s, The Green Mill and 210, at Ravinia with Seth MacFarlane, Bernadette Peters, Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, and many others. He has taught at Midwest Young Artists, the Merit School and many others. His debut recording as a leader, “The Sun Will Shine”, was released in 2015, “Always In My Heart” came next in 2017, and his latest, “Only Love Can Do That”, was released in June, 2018.
We’re celebrating our 12 episode of the season with my special guest, music director and pianist Taylor Peckham.
On today's episode, we talk about becoming friends on the Broadway show, Jersey Boys.
Taylor and I discuss a weird gig about chairs. Yes, you heard right. Songs about chairs.
His weird gig trip to Budapest, Hungary,
And the “pinch me moment” of working on music in NY with Alex Lacamoire.
But first, Taylor’s tells his weirdest gig story titled...
“Are some gigs beyond saving?”
Taylor’s original song "Get Funk’d" is the underscoring music for this episode. Performed by Taylor, along with Jacob Chidester on guitar, John De Simini on sax.
Taylor is a music director, arranger, producer & keyboardist originally from San Diego. Whether playing keys for a backyard wedding or conducting orchestras on Broadway, Taylor has been lucky enough to build a career spanning pretty much every kind of music project imaginable. Now settled back in San Diego, Taylor is splitting his professional time between a new career in tech and various music projects.
Taylor and his friend Renee have a funny podcast about setting your ego aside, checking those internal voices at the door, and inspiring you to create what you've always wanted to do. Positive and entertaining!!
If you've ever made something, are currently making something, or are wondering whether or not TO make something... we're here to encourage you not to overthink it. Just Make it Stupid!
3 episodes dropping
Weekly episodes on Mondays