Since the web can be very open on the issue of time I thought I should start the years wrap up with a picture of me that is current - like this month! There are a lot of old pics out there - don't even look.... 8)
Greg Vail Sax Player 2013
Yep - That's me! Been an interesting year AGAIN in 2013~
Huge highs and lame lows...
I had my biggest show I will likely ever have in my life and the worst month I have had since high school for playing gigs in November of this year.
I always thought that things would improve and work would get better as we aged and improved at our skills as players. This is sadly not true. Yes - I would not get really big gigs if I was not a good player, but it doesn't seem to matter to my local demographic and I can actually not have a single playing gig in a 3 week period! I know because it just happened...
The HIGHS - The Yamaha 125th Anniversary NAMM Show gig in January of 2013 included a line up that will never happen again in my lifetime. I was part of the horn section and the orchestra for the biggest show Yamaha will likely ever produce.
The artist list speaks for itself: ELTON JOHN
!! Joining the "Rocket Man" onstage was Amy Grant
, Chaka Khan
, Earth, Wind & Fire
, David Foster
, Dave Koz
, James Newton
, Landon Pigg
, Lucy Schwartz
, Michael McDonald
. Legendary bass player Nathan East
as music director with an all star band, horn section and 60 piece orchestra. This was an AMAZING SHOW at the famous Disney California Adventure Aladdin Theater!!
Later in April, Yamaha
had there corporate kick off with Patti Austin
, Jonathan Butler
, James Ingram
and Lee Ritenour
and I got the only horn position for this show. Very cool show at the Cerritos Music Center!
The Yamaha shows always go way over the top with talent! But there are a lot of other awesome shows that filled in much of the year!
I got the Greg Adam's Band - East Bay Soul
gig this year as the regular Alto Tenor guy! 10 piece funk with the writing genius of Greg Adam's of Tower of Power fame
! I love this band and we had some great gigs thru the year!! Looking forward to 2014!
Greg Adams East Bay Soul
East Bay Soul Horns
later did the National Anthem
for a Giants Padres game in San Fransisco!
A few years ago I did a cool World Music CD with a Japanese Koto Player - Yukiko Matsuyama
. One of the clips from the CD - "If I Were There
" from 2010.
Internationally acclaimed koto artist Yukiko Matsuyama
and a few special
friends – legendary drummer James Gadson
, sizzling saxophonist Greg
, Def Leppard’s rocking guitarist Phil Collen
and djembe drum master
Steve Biondo – will present a “World Music, Rhythm-and-Blues and A
Little Funk” concert at the University of La Verne’s Morgan Auditorium
at 7:30 p.m. - August 2013.
What a show an unusual mix of genre and talents!! We did video but I have not seen any of the real footage to date!?!?! Bummer cuz it was a great show!
- I was featured in June for the Wheaton Illinois Gospel Jazz Festival
. We had a great house band from the Chicago area and this was a huge success for everybody!
Greg Vail Band
was back at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach
for Summer Shows!! The band killed, but I did hire the best of the bad boys! I look forward to this festival every year!!
I started working with a few new bands this past year. Billy Mitchell
is an amazing older jazz pianist that I love playing with! We will have more dates in 2014! Also new to me was the Oceans of Sand Band
! A smooth jazz group with a huge sound and now a sax player!!
Oceans of Sand Video
In September Dean Grech
and I did an interesting show for PBS
featuring my friend John Lowson
on the recording process. The filming went great and the show is scheduled for release on PBS in 2014
. I can't wait to see it!! It was really fun!
I also started working with a new project in September with a great bunch of guys, playing tribute to The Stones
! The band has started playing out and this is going to be an interesting group to follow in 2014, with rumors of shows all over the country and beyond!
Mick Adams and the Stones
On CD PROJECTS
- we finished the new Dean Grech CD
- We Got Lost
and it will be available in stores 2014! I got lots of playing, blowing, horn part and noise making time on this project and we worked on it for a few years! It is DONE. It will be available after the New Year!!
I have a new Blues Band
I am a member and we have a finished project available at CD Baby as of this week!! Nothin to Loose But the Blues
- Brick Alley Blues
- features all originals from a very talented group of seasoned players! I got lots of sax time and even sang an original I wrote!! 8) Kinda exciting.... CD Baby has the download info and samples - it sounds really great!!www.cdbaby.com/cd/brickalleyblues
- DOWNLOAD A TRACK TODAY! 8)~
I did some work for Woodwind and Brasswind
again this year reviewing products as well as for a sax site - SaxCessories
. I have also been more active with SEO
taking on new clients in a variety of fields and pushing the numbers for the search engines this past year with great success.
A lot of amazing and a lot of lame seem to make up the macro - big picture of all the amazing musicians I know and love. 2013 was no exception with extreme highs and lows. I wish I had a prettier picture to share, but this is what the music business has become: an extreme roller coaster ride with an income just below survival month to month. (That's why I now supplement the work load with SEO jobs 8)
You all know I am not going anywhere and will continue to take jobs that kick my butt and start new projects at every turn to stay open and growing. As I get older in this business I think that ability has less to do with entertainment than ever before, and appearance seems to be more important than skill. Yes - you need to be kinda good overall, but you also need to look good, stay thin and talk about yourself all the time! I am trying to loose a few pounds in 2014 and working at self promotion in new ways. I will always share what is working - right here on the Sax Players Blog
A year in a minute - DONE NOW! Here comes 2014!! Are you ready for it?!?!?!?!
Greg Vail Sax