NOAHJAZZ - NB PONTIFICATES

MY REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC, LIFE, FOOD AND WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE . . .

40 for 40: Highlights of my work with Henry Lugo

From a human resources standpoint, jazz gigs can be fairly “transactional,” in the sense that you hire the person to do the gig with a particular set of repertoire in a particular time and place for a particular fee. When things go well, it goes beyond that and there’s a real musical connection and a real commitment to the music beyond just “doing the job.” In a few of those cases, the further result is deep, enduring friendship.

On the 40th anniversary of his birth, it seems right to express gratitude for having found this in Henry Lugo, my brother, bassist and left-hand-man for nearly 13 years. Since I’m a list-maker anyway, I thought I would come up with a list of 40 highlights of gigs and recording sessions we’ve done together. As I did so, three things stood out. One, I had to pare the list down significantly, as there are a lot of highlights from among the hundreds of things we’ve done together. Two, there’s an inadvertent tracing of my/our progress as his consistent devotion to delivering the goods on all levels has enabled me to forge new ground professionally. Three, it’s conspicuous to me how many moments really stand out in my mind that are left of center of this list . . . the long talks on carpooled journeys to gigs, the commiseration and sharing about so many musical things and especially the proactive yet under-the-radar moments of thoughtful kindness at times of struggle.

Oh yeah, and he’s one of the BADDEST bassists around, and that my music has provided a vehicle for his own self-expression is a profound confluence of compatibility and all-around good fortune. So without any further ado:

  1. October, 2002 – the first gig (Café Atlantique, Miford, CT with George Mastrogiannis)
  2. November, 2002 – It’s Only Natural Restaurant, Middletown, CT (1st gig together in 3 year “residency” there)
  3. November, 2003 – celebration for WWUH (my first, and sadly not last, gig playing entirely left-handed)
  4. December, 2003 – 30th birthday party/live recording session for What It Is album
  5. March, 2004 – North Star Café, New Brunswick, NJ (1st gig with the “new” NB Trio with Vinnie Sperrazza)
  6. March, 2004 – Bennington Museum (VT) with Andrea Wolper
  7. May, 2004 – NB Trio, John Kerry fundraiser (showing me that private functions can be REALLY fun)
  8. August, 2004 – Café Atlantique (my first gig as a parent)
  9. October/November, 2004 – Large Group and Trio sessions for Soul Force, Peter Karl Studio
  10. July, 2005 – Castle Street Café, drum-less quartet with Amanda Monaco and Chris Dingman
  11. September, 2005 – wedding gig, Middletown, CT (my first time playing with Henry on electric bass, aka “lobby” [ask me sometime])
  12. December, 2005 – recording session for Letter Back Home by Jason Berg, Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ
  13. May, 2006 – opening for Heart Gallery (awareness raiser for kids seeking adoptive homes), Cameron Gallery, Middletown, CT, quartet with Wayne Escoffery
  14. June, 2006 – Playdate’s first official gig, Cornelia Street Café, NYC
  15. September, 2006 – Mike Baggetta Quartet, Artspace, Greenfield, MA (my first gig after becoming a parent for the second time)
  16. April, 2007 – NB Trio at Hartford Public Library (music of Duke Ellington)
  17. August, 2007 – Recording session with NB Trio for Bliss, Bennett Studios
  18. September, 2007 – Recording session for Playdate, Bennett Studios
  19. November, 2007 – NB Quartet with Jimmy Greene at Buttonwood Tree, Music of the 1960s (in conjunction with Wesleyan class)
  20. March, 2008 – Amanda Monaco’s City College Master’s recital with Playdate, NYC
  21. June, 2008 – Recording session for my book The Versatile Keyboardist
  22. October, 2008 – NB Trio at Pittsfield CItyJazz Festival
  23. September, 2009 – Siggy Davis with NB Trio, Roxbury Arts Center (Catskills, NY)
  24. November, 2009 – Know Thyself extravaganza: Wesleyan University’s Crowell Concert Hall, Jazz Gallery NYC, recording session at Bennett Studios
  25. April, 2010 – Playdate’s CT debut, Firehouse 12, New Haven
  26. July, 2010 – NB Trio at An die Musik, Baltimore, MD
  27. July, 2010 – NB Quartet with Jimmy Greene, with guest Joel Frahm, Szechwan Tokyo, Hartford, CT
  28. August, 2010 – Know Thyself at New Haven Jazz Festival
  29. September, 2010 – CT Folk Festival, New Haven, with Lara Herscovitch
  30. March, 2011 – NB Quartet with Erica von Kleist, Makeda, New Brunsick, NJ
  31. October, 2011 – NB Trio at Russell House, Wesleyan University (music of Kenny Barron)
  32. May, 2012 – NB Quintet with Kris Allen, Jimmy Greene and Yoron Israel, Buttonwood Tree
  33. September, 2012 – Chamber ensemble at Choate Rosemary Hall faculty concert, Wallingford, CT (the beginning of Henry’s tenure teaching there, the premiere of “The Outer Circle” and the opening of Kate’s solo show of drawings)
  34. March, 2013 – Recording session for Ripples, Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY
  35. August, 2013 – “We Shall Overcome” performance/discussion at EDNF Learning Conference, Providence, RI
  36. November, 2013 – surprise party/gig for my 40th birthday, Scatz, Middletown, CT (my most recent left-hand-only performance)
  37. April/May, 2014 – CD release tour for Ripples (including the Side Door, Old Lyme, CT, The Jazz Gallery, NYC, Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, First Congregational Church, Bristol, RI, Columbia Heights Concerts, Washington, DC and Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT), featuring NB Trio and Jazz Samaritan Alliance
  38. March, 2015 – launch of Resonant Motion’s Jazz Up Close series with Freddie Bryant Quartet, Russell Library, Middletown, CT
  39. April, 2015 – premiere (and to-be-released recording) of The Rock and the Redemption with NB Resonance Ensemble, Wesleyan University
  40. June, 2016 – Recording session for my daughter Rebecca’s most recent demo

October, 2002 – the first gig (Café Atlantique, Miford, CT with George Mastrogiannis)

November, 2002 – It’s Only Natural Restaurant, Middletown, CT (1st gig together in 3 year “residency” there)

November, 2003 – celebration for WWUH (my first, and sadly not last, gig playing entirely left-handed)

December, 2003 – 30th birthday party/live recording session for What It Is album

March, 2004 – North Star Café, New Brunswick, NJ (1st gig with the “new” NB Trio with Vinnie Sperrazza)

March, 2004 – Bennington Museum (VT) with Andrea Wolper

May, 2004 – NB Trio, John Kerry fundraiser (showing me that private functions can be REALLY fun)

August, 2004 – Café Atlantique (my first gig as a parent)

October/November, 2004 – Large Group and Trio sessions for Soul Force, Peter Karl Studio

July, 2005 – Castle Street Café, drum-less quartet with Amanda Monaco and Chris Dingman

September, 2005 – wedding gig, Middletown, CT (my first time playing with Henry on electric bass, aka “lobby” [ask me sometime])

December, 2005 – recording session for Letter Back Home by Jason Berg, Bennett Studios, Englewood, NJ

May, 2006 – opening for Heart Gallery (awareness raiser for kids seeking adoptive homes), Cameron Gallery, Middletown, CT, quartet with Wayne Escoffery

June, 2006 – Playdate’s first official gig, Cornelia Street Café, NYC

September, 2006 – Mike Baggetta Quartet, Artspace, Greenfield, MA (my first gig after becoming a parent for the second time)

April, 2007 – NB Trio at Hartford Public Library (music of Duke Ellington)

August, 2007 – Recording session with NB Trio for Bliss, Bennett Studios

September, 2007 – Recording session for Playdate, Bennett Studios

November, 2007 – NB Quartet with Jimmy Greene at Buttonwood Tree, Music of the 1960s (in conjunction with Wesleyan class)

March, 2008 – Amanda Monaco’s City College Master’s recital with Playdate, NYC

June, 2008 – Recording session for my book The Versatile Keyboardist

October, 2008 – NB Trio at Pittsfield CItyJazz Festival

September, 2009 – Siggy Davis with NB Trio, Roxbury Arts Center (Catskills, NY)

November, 2009 – Know Thyself extravaganza: Wesleyan University’s Crowell Concert Hall, Jazz Gallery NYC, recording session at Bennett Studios

April, 2010 – Playdate’s CT debut, Firehouse 12, New Haven

July, 2010 – NB Trio at An die Musik, Baltimore, MD

July, 2010 – NB Quartet with Jimmy Greene, with guest Joel Frahm, Szechwan Tokyo, Hartford, CT

August, 2010 – Know Thyself at New Haven Jazz Festival

September, 2010 – CT Folk Festival, New Haven, with Lara Herscovitch

March, 2011 – NB Quartet with Erica von Kleist, Makeda, New Brunsick, NJ

October, 2011 – NB Trio at Russell House, Wesleyan University (music of Kenny Barron)

May, 2012 – NB Quintet with Kris Allen, Jimmy Greene and Yoron Israel, Buttonwood Tree

September, 2012 – Chamber ensemble at Choate Rosemary Hall faculty concert, Wallingford, CT (the beginning of Henry’s tenure teaching there, the premiere of “The Outer Circle” and the opening of Kate’s solo show of drawings)

March, 2013 – Recording session for Ripples, Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY

August, 2013 – “We Shall Overcome” performance/discussion at EDNF Learning Conference, Providence, RI

November, 2013 – surprise party/gig for my 40th birthday, Scatz, Middletown, CT (my most recent left-hand-only performance)

April/May, 2014 – CD release tour for Ripples (including the Side Door, Old Lyme, CT, The Jazz Gallery, NYC, Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, First Congregational Church, Bristol, RI, Columbia Heights Concerts, Washington, DC and Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT), featuring NB Trio and Jazz Samaritan Alliance

March, 2015 – launch of Resonant Motion’s Jazz Up Close series with Freddie Bryant Quartet, Russell Library, Middletown, CT

April, 2015 – premiere (and to-be-released recording) of The Rock and the Redemption with NB Resonance Ensemble, Wesleyan University

June, 2016 – Recording session for my daughter Rebecca’s most recent demo

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