It's funny the difference a few months make. Just past the halfway point of the season the Benglas have found themselves a measly 3-6. The 6 losses are certainly not from a lack of offense - Carson Palmer continues to put up the same type of numbers that got him to last year's Pro Bowl, running back Kelly Watson stepped up to fill in nicely for an injured Rudi Johnson for a few weeks and receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh is having the best year of his career so far, eclipsing usual star Chad Johnson who while playing well, is not living up to his own hype. Sadly the Bengals have one of, if not the, worst defenses in the National Football League. As it stands now the team is once again on track for their annual 8-8 final record under coach Marvin Lewis.
In the not-so-depressing sports category, the 2007 Boston Red Sox won the World Series! This made our trip to Fenway this summer even more memorable as we were actually watching the future world champs in action! I did my best to catch as many playoff games as possible this fall (including one I technically shouldn't have seen) but due to various performance/rehearsal commitments, I missed a lot of post season baseball. In the end, Game 4 of the World Series coincided with the BPQ's usual Sunday night gig at Justin's, but as the clock struck midnight I dropped the horn and ran (literally) across Lark Street to Legends Sports Bar to watch the final three outs. Not sure what was more entertaining, watching the games I was able to see or watching Manny, Papi and Papelbon show up on the late night TV circuit after their win. There certainly are some characters on that team ...
In the beginning of October I was fortunate to catch one of my favorite bands at Bennington College in Vermont. Kneebody is an instrumental quintet of LA & NY based musicians creating music that, to my ears, is totally contemporary and a logical extension of everything that has come before it. I suppose that can be said about many bands but there is something about this band's aesthetic that really appeals to me. Not to mention the fact that on a pure saxophonic level, Ben Wendel kicks some serious butt! Go check these guys out online and if you like what you hear support them by buying some music: www.kneebody.com.
Last weekend the Big Soul Ensemble closed out this year's "A Place For Jazz" concert series at the "Whisperdome" in Schenectady. The group is a year-old 17 piece big band led by saxophonist Keith Pray. We play a book of predominantly in-house compositions & arrangements though the occasional stock chart has found it's way into the book from time to time. The band played well and the night was recorded so there may be a CD on the way at some point. In the meantime you can check out some pictures on www.albanyjazz.com.
Later that same weekend the BPQ headed to NYC for a performance at Django Restaurant on Lexington and 36th. We were the musical entertainment for the Clockwork Theater's annual fundraising event. The performance itself went off without a hitch though getting to NYC on the other hand ... let's just say that the next road trip will include a rental van. After the gig we dropped off our gear at the hotel and headed down to the village for some great Thai food - a new favorite, thanks guys - and a set by the Spike Wilner Ensemble at Smalls featuring trumpeter Ryan Kisor. Big thanks to Clockwork for having us at their event and the guys in the band for dealing with all of the ups and downs of the road trip with style and class.