Thursday, November 3, 2011

Perfect Fit

My friend, Brenda, and I finally hooked up to do some music at home. We've been talking about it for awhile. She plays classical and is now studying jazz vocals at the Jazz School, while I play jazz and am trying to get back into playing classical again.

Last weekend, we learned our first classical piece together, ARIOSO, she on cello and me on piano. Then on to jazz, she sang "Cry Me A River" which she learned in school, and I backed her up on piano. And since I wanted to learn vocals anyway, I started singing the song too later. Now she just has to pass on the songs she learns in school to me. That'll get me motivated to keep singing until I learn to just sing naturally!

Not bad for a first day! It was fun. We really enjoyed. A perfect fit, all right!

Here's to MUSIC, Brenda... and more!

Here's Diane Krall's "Cry Me ARiver" - same key and voice range!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Music Quotes

If one plays good music, people don't listen and if one plays bad music people don't talk.
Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 14, 2011


Just got back from L.A. with Norman, aka Manny Moka after his gig at the Catalina Jazz Club the other night. Great show, great band, great music! We drove down the other day with Marc VW and Edgardo Cambon and met with the L.A. musicians who played with the band. With Tom Brechtlein on drums, you can't ask for a better drummer - phenomenal player! And with a great horn section, I tell you the whole band from L.A. was superb!
There's just some something about L.A. musicians. It's their attitude, man! I observed that in L.A., being such a big city, you've got to take your ax seriously if you want to make it big there! Competition is tough, you can't just be good or even great, you've got to be consistent with your act! Unbelievable! Same in NY! You've got to have a goal, a vision of what exactly you want to make it there as an artist. NY is a jazz town and all jazz artists want to make it in NY. Whether it's L.A. or NY musicians, you can see why, when they make it there, they make it everywhere - Attitude, man, Attitude!!

What about SF Bay Area musicians? SF is so small that it seems like you don't have to do so much to make it here! It's a hassle, a struggle for lots of artists/musicians, we all know that, but I still think the demographics just don't compare to L.A. and NY. What can I say about SF musicians? From my observations of the SF versus L.A. musicians this week, SF musicians are more health-conscious! What?? Hey, don't get me wrong. SF musicians are as great as any great musicians in L.A., NY, or anywhere! But it seems like, if you seriously want to make it big, you've got to be in L.A. or NY!
Hey, I'm a SF musician and I love San Francisco! Does that mean I'll never make it big for as long as I live here? No, not really, I just have to have an attitude as big as that of a L.A./NY musician - to start with! After all, everything begins from within.

Right on!

Harvey Mason

I just have to make special mention of Harvey Mason of FOURPLAY. Everyone in the group is a phenomenal musician/instrumentalist, Bob James, Nathan East, Chuck Loeb, big names, man. But Harvey Mason simply won me over with his incredible playing! Yes there are good drummers who can play their drums well and there are great drummers who can play their drums like a musician. They can play loud and soft. They know when to support and know when to show off. Harvey Mason can make his drums whisper... Incredible! For the first time, I heard drums sounding like a pitched instrument.

Incredible, indeed! You're great, Harvey! My hats off to you!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


What a treat! With 4 individual musical giants playing as a contemporary jazz group called FOURPLAY - simply grand! They so inspired me to keep going with my music - jazz, (mainstream, contemporary, smooth, etc.), pop, r&b and more, embracing all music!

In retrospect, I had a jazz band in Manila called FOURPLAY specializing in jazz vocals a la Manhattan Transfer and original compositions, et al. Our group was formed in the 80s, 10 years before Fourplay here formed their group in the 90s. Wonder if they got their name from ours! I was going to asked them about it, kinda teasingly. Of course they'd say NO, but I couldn't wait any longer in line to get their autographs.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Terry Disley

One of my favorite jazz pianists and a good friend, Terry Disley's style is simply tasteful, really classy! Great concepts, great themes, great arrangements! I can listen to his music all day and enjoy it and not get tired of it! I learn so much from him, he inspires me! Thanks, Terry.

Monday, September 26, 2011


These 2 songs have been playing in my head since learning them. Might as well sing them too. I particularly like the lyrics of "For Good" so here it is -

I should really be singing more so let me add the lyrics to "Bill" -

Friday, September 23, 2011

Music from Broadway

I'm preparing for a show this weekend and I am really enjoying these 2 songs I'm playing as piano accompanist. Thought to put them here so I don't keep going to youtube to listen and learn the songs. Here's sharing 2 beautiful songs from Broadway. Kristin Chenoweth and Audra MacDonald are magnificent!

One of my wishes is to write a musical - in this lifetime, of course! As Maharishi says, " There's time for everything in life."

I want it in this lifetime. "Don't Stop Believing", as the song goes by Journey - I don't.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Double Treat!!

From Bill Bell Trio with mainstream jazz to Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour with modern jazz from one venue to another in 1 day - non-stopped! WOW!!

Great learning experience on different kinds of jazz! Great music at its best! Great seats, the closest Norman & I will ever have to Dave Grusin - Can't ask for more!

Bill Bell Trio

What a treat this has been! A great pleasure to hear the masters of jazz!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Music Quotes

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. ~Leopold Stokowski

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jazzed Out!

Jazz camp, street fair jazz festival, and reunion concerts one after the other in 2 weeks, I'm maxed out with jazz at the moment! Time for some classical music for now. Actually, I should start applying what I learned from camp - one day at a time, one page a day...Yeah!
Unfortunately, I injured my right thumb at work - Ouch!
I'll rest a bit and then, get going... aah!

Incidentally, I saw a shirt at the street fair, I liked what it says so I bought it - IF YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS, STOP ASKING PERMISSION - Yea!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jazz Camp West

Just came back from a jazz camp, my first music camp, first camping experience ever - old cabins, bathrooms outside, no TVs, no cell phones, no internet connections, and whoa, what an experience!! I enjoyed it beyond my expectations, I tell you!

I have always wondered how people enjoyed going back to the camp, many for 10-20 years, some since it started over 20 years ago, with the lack of amenities they had. Just thinking that some cabins are dilapidated, smelling of mold and mildew, with uncomfortable bunk beds and broken down cots, bathrooms and other facilities were not the most convenient - they were not inviting for me at all! But curiosity got the better of me so I finally went.

And wow, it was one of the best experiences of my life! Music was great! It was a week of intense learning. Then it went beyond that... it was transcendent! As exhausting as the activities were, non-stop, it was exhilarating! As uncomfortable as the lodgings were, it was home for a week! Just to be away from the outside world, and be one with the wilderness, it was splendid! It was breath-taking! The staff, headed by Stacey Hoffman and Madeline Eastman, the heart and soul of Jazz Camp West, the faculty, the cooks, the crew, the campers - everybody, everything at the camp was simply magnificent! There was so much love and camaraderie! So much fun! An indescribable feeling! An incredible experience! It's beyond words!

And my role model - Kai, a young guitarist, can't be more than 17 years old, unassuming, unaffected! Where his peers would be more into video games and the like in the outside world, he was there to play his guitar and man, can he play! Phenomenal! And when told how great he was, he'd just nod his head, acknowledging what you said, no ego, just matter of factly. He was there to learn and play music! That's all he cared about...

I'm back in the city, enjoying the comforts of my own home with nice cooling aromatherapy, my own comfortable bed fresh with warm linen, my own bathroom with towels delicately fragranced with fresh flower scents, and on and on and on... Will I go back to Jazz Camp West? You bet I will!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Music Quotes

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.Gustav Mahler

Monday, June 13, 2011

Those Music Gods!

I thought I did pretty good at the Ladies' Night Concert, but after watching Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour the next day at the Herbst Theatre, then the Yellowjackets at Yoshi's the following day, I've got a long way to go to get to the level of these music gods! It's humbling, but I'm inspired to keep going, do more, be more, take it to the next level, not stopping if ever or whenever I get to their level, as they also have to keep growing...

There's no end to music. There's no end to learning. We all keep learning and growing. And no need to compare myself to others 'cause there's always someone better. I compare myself to my past. Have I improved? Am I better? If I am, I should be proud, but it doesn't stop there. We have our lifetime to learn and grow and grow and learn and learn and grow and grow and learn and on and on and on...

Wish I could grow even an inch more in height though, I'd really be happy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Funtastic" Ladies' Night!

Promising a variety of musical styles, Ladies' Night, in association with the No.1 Lady Pianists Society, delivered! From Classical to modern music, cabaret to pop songs, the concert was grand, especially with the star of the night, the fabulous FAZIOLI piano! We missed Annie Sajdera though. She wasn't able to join us due to a family emergency.

Victoria Theodore and Allison Lovejoy started the night with beautiful piano works from Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Gershwin - superb performances from these 2 classical virtuosos!

I followed with jazz & pop tunes, starting with the Beatles. Then I played 2 originals, a smooth jazz and a country tune, and finished up with a lively brazilian number!

Next was Debbie Poryes with a set of jazz standards - delicately and beautifully played!

Allison came back to the stage to perform some original cabaret music, including an ode to her grandmother about pills - it was hilarious!

Finally,Victoria closed the night with some of her pop/R&B original tunes - beautiful songs!

Fun and fantastic, what a night! Proud of it!

Scott Cossu

I'm at the store right now watching Scott Cozzu, a former Windham Hill recording artist, who along with George Winston were one of the pioneers of new age music. Following the Ladies' night, I'm inspired to move on with my music, write more compositions which don't necessarily fall under jazz at all, mainstream or contemporary, and the like, but rather pop, folk, new age, esoteric and anything else besides jazz.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ladies' Night

Piedmont Piano Company

in association with

The No.1 Lady Pianists Society

is pleased to present

Ladies Night

featuring outstanding local pianists


Socorro de Castro -- Allison Lovejoy -- Debbie Poryes -- Annie Sajdera -- Victoria Theodore

Saturday, June 4 at 8PM

at Piedmont Piano Company's new store located at

18th & San Pablo, Oakland (1728 San Pablo Ave.)

$15 - please call 510-547-8188 to reserve tickets with your credit card

or cash at the door

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Post Script

Right after I wrote Golf is Calling Me... on my other blog, I decided to check History and saw this youtube video on the song, Calling You. It was like a reiteration of my calling, as if a voice told me, "Calling You, indeed!"

Love it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Norman & I produced a Christian gospel album, Sandalwood, by Carmen "Pinky" Valdes and one of the songs there is the title song. Listen to it, one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard, it's music for the heart.

There's an old Spanish proverb that, they say, came from Persia -

"Be like the sandalwood which perfumes the ax that wounds it."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten Season

Lent begins today March 9, Ash Wednesday. Have a blessed season.

Psalm 23 The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

(I wrote a song, Lord, You're My Shepherd, with lyrics by Carmen "Pinky" Valdes on her album Sandalwood, which Norman & I produced. Check it out on iTunes.)

95!!... NINETY-FIVE!!

Today is my Mother's 95th birthday! Praise the Lord! ALLELUIA!




(Check out Esperanza on iTunes)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Music Quotes

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I heard the word on news radio the other day. No, it's not literally the word, payong, tagalog for 'umbrella'. It just sounded like that and it was music to my ears. Someday, I'll have a song called "Payong", instrumental or vocal, doesn't matter. I just like it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Funny Girl" In My Dream

The other night, I dreamt of Barbra Streisand, the icon, the legend, my idol - she came to my house, I don't know which house, (you know how convoluted dreams can be), and told me she had heard good things about me so she wanted to do a show with me. Barbra wants to make a show with me?! Meanwhile I was preparing to go to a concert with my colleagues at work and she wanted to come along! She patiently waited for me while I was trying to decide what clothes to wear! I was in a rush, rush, couldn't find my clothes, even going through my hope chest of wardrobe! I was panicking, not accomplishing anything and there was Barbra, very patient with me! The Barbra?????? Barbra Streisand?? She waits for no one and she waits for me??

Anyway, my dreams are like that often. I would rush into everything, not gaining anything. Finally, when I'm in that level, between dreaming and waking up, I decide whether to go back to my dream to continue (if I like my dream) or wake up (if I don't like it).

Well, that's Barbra, so of course, I wanted to go on... I couldn't find an attire for that night so she decided to take the bus to the show! Barbra taking the bus?? Yes, and was she ever polite and friendly with me the whole time!!

Well, many many many years ago, I dreamt of Barbra and she told me on the phone, "Someday we'll finally meet in person and that will be after January 1988."

If there's one thing I'm sure of in my life, when I meet Barbra in person, it will definitely be after January 1988!! I'm sooooo excited!!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Post Script