If a gang of Black men jumped a police officer and strangled him to death for no apparent reason, you could be damned sure that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM would rot in prison for life or close to it. Not just the one who strangled the cop, but every single person that touched the cop, the person waiting in the car, the person that wandered on the scene and didn’t do anything to stop it. Not only that, you could be damned sure that the families of the Black men would all be continually hounded and harassed for years. They would be pulled over, evicted from housing, arrested for this and that. Yet all of these cops that took part in this murder got off scot-free, not just Pantaleo, and that’s not even addressing the EMT’s who didn’t do their jobs. A miscarriage of justice is a vast understatement in the case of #EricGarner.#ChokeTheSystem.
This month marks the beginning of my 20th year as the drummer for Sabertooth every Saturday night at the Green Mill. I get asked the same questions over and over so I’ve written a Sabertooth/Green Mill/Ted Sirota FAQ.
Q: Who do you play with at the Green Mill? Barry Winograd?
A: No. Sabertooth.
Q: Who’s in that band?
A: Pat Mallinger, Cameron Pfiffner, and Pete Benson (more…)
Note 1/25/15: This Kickstarter campaign took place in May 2013. Keep this in mind as things change so rapidly in the cyber-world and I have no idea what changes have occurred with Kickstarter since that time.
A number of people have come to me asking for advice about doing a Kickstarter campaign. I knew nothing about Kickstarter before I launched mine, but I learned a lot in the process. A couple days after the end of our campaign I sat down and typed out some thoughts about the experience so I wouldn’t forget what I learned. I’ve shared this with a few friends, but I’m making it available publicly now in case it might help others. I’m not trying to present myself as an “expert” or anything like that. This is simply just my advice when people ask me…
Here are some things I learned from running our successful Kickstarter campaign to bring legendary Jamaican engineer & “Dub Chemist”, The Scientist, to Chicago to record and mix the debut album from Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub.
I’m thrilled to announce my newest musical project – Ted Sirota’s Heavyweight Dub (Facebook page). We are a live dub reggae band in the tradition of the great Jamaican studio and backing bands amp; producers such as King Tubby, Scientist, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Roots Radics, The Upsetters, Sly amp; Robbie, The Revolutionaries etc. The band will also feature my original music. (more…)
This was at his first “comeback” gig in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s (I don’t quite remember the exact date) at the club Visiones in NYC. Some friends and I drove down from Boston spcifically to hear La Roca. I wondered why one of my favorite drummers, and one of the most prolific drummers of the ’60’s, had given up his career as a jazz drummer to become a laywer, so I asked him. I expected a gruff, cold response for some reason – I don’t know why. I actually got the opposite – a very thoughtful, warm, polite response, and someone who was willing to chat with this dorky little college student about some of the most important decisions of his life. His answer was simple. (more…)
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve been M.I.A. from the website for a bit, but I’m back! Some fun gigs coming up over the next few weeks. Check the Gigs link for more info. Other than the usual Sabertooth Saturday gig, next week I’ll be playing with my old old buddy Brian O’Hern and his Model Citizens Big Band, and a trio gig with my great friends Geof Bradfield and Clark Sommers. Later in the month I’ll be playing trio with Caroline Davis and Charlie Kirchen, and then heading to Cincinnati to play with Fareed Haque and Tony Monaco. I’m looking forward to making some damn good music. Hope to see some of you out and about soon!
As most of you know by now, legendary tenor saxophonist, musician, mentor, and human being, Von Freeman passed away Sunday at the age of 88. The tributes, stories, and memories are pouring out of Chicago musicians. One would be hard pressed to find a jazz musician in Chicago that wasn’t influenced by Von in one way or another. I just wanted to share a couple things about my experiences with Von that have always stuck with me that perhaps might not get touched on otherwise. (more…)
I uploaded this picture of Lin Halliday to the gallery today. Yes, that’s me looking like a young dork back there. This photo is from 1992 or 93. We were playing at the Get Me High Lounge on Honore in Bucktown. For those of you who were not around back then, The Get Me High was a Chicago jazz institution. The bathroom was actually ON the stage. Unlike the Green Mill, where you walk alongside the stage to get to the john, at the Get Me High you actually had to walk on stage to get to it. One of the famous stories about it is that Jimmy Carter hung out there once, while he was president, to have a beer and listen to some jazz. I have fond memories of these times. (more…)
I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of Paul Motian. Having only met him briefly a couple of times I can’t say that he was a personal influence on me, in the way that Alan Dawson was, but his playing was, and is, a HUGE inspiration to me. I’ve always thought of this quote from Picasso when I think about Paul Motian – “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. Paul was like the Picasso of the drums, in my humble opinion. He was a true artist. He was more of a painter on the drums than he was just a “drummer”. He proved that you can be great without concern for “chops” or “licks”. He was 100% music. Have you ever heard of a drummer playing “Paul Motian licks”? If you have let me know, because that’s absurd to me. It’s impossible. The only thing you could try to copy from Paul was his concept or sound – maybe. That’s how unique he was – you can’t even copy him. You can’t say that about Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, or even Tony Williams, as great as they were. (more…)
When Max Roach died in 2007 I was asked to write an article about Max for a certain publication. The article never ran, and the only two people who have ever read it are Jeff Parker & Hyland Harris. It’s just sitting here on my hard drive so I figured I’d share it now that I have a blog! (more…)