Pete LaRoca

I got a little obsessed with Pete LaRoca the other day after seeing this video of him with Art Farmer. I really dig his playing.

Eventually I made my way to his Wikipedia page and found this fascinating bit:

“In 1968 he stopped taking side-man gigs, and only accepted work as a band leader/drummer. La Roca began earning a living by driving a taxi cab in New York City, and later attended law school at New York University. When his second album as leader, Turkish Women at the Bath, was released under Chick Corea’s name without La Roca’s consent, La Roca filed and argued a lawsuit against Douglas Records, and the erroneously-labeled records were recalled.

He returned to jazz in 1979, and recorded one new album as a leader, Swing Time (Blue Note, 1997).”

Smalls Jazz Club Live

I want to give some love┬áto Smalls Jazz Club. If you’re in New York, it’s a great place to see live jazz for an affordable cover charge. On any given week you can see some of the best musicians in the world in this intimate space. If you can’t get there, you can stream shows live from their website for free. The quality is superb.

Smalls Jazz ClubI first discovered the live stream this summer and was blown away. Over the last several months I’ve got to see and hear Ari Hoenig, Ralph Peterson, Eric Harland, Victor Lewis, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith and so many more amazing players from the comfort of my studio in Minneapolis. This week alone Ulysses Owens Jr. and Eric McPherson are playing there. Next week you can catch Ari Hoenig with Chris Potter. Crazy!

And it gets even better. For only $10 a month you can have access to their archives. If you can, do this not only as a way to access live music, but to support a wonderful club.

I’d recommend checking out Ralph Peterson’s recent sets and also studying the Teodross Avery set.

I met Teodross at Berklee in 1993 and have reconnected with him since, so I wanted to check out what he’s up to. His set at Smalls in October 2016 is burning! Every single member of the band is on fire and Marvin “Bugalu” Smith blew my mind. How had I not heard him before? His playing that night grabbed a strong hold on me, even through the internet. I highly recommend checking out his playing. He’s deep. I still watch or listen to that set about once a week.

Thank you, Smalls!