David Engelhard Senior Jazz Recital Reviewed

I had no preconceived notions that might steer me to like David Engelhard’s Senior Jazz Recital at the Highland Inn Ballroom on March 29th. Though my girlfriend knew David from her past associations in the local music scene in Atlanta, I’d never met him.

Jordan is a mentor to David and filled the second set with smooth sax notes while David took to the keys. Tightly orchestrated and well played by a sax, keys, stand up bass, guitar, and rotation of two silly-good Jazz drummers, what a set. A graduate of Georgia State’s stellar music program, David’s first set was powered by his excellent sax playing, to an assortment of accompaniment. Very nice.

The aforementioned set two was solid Jazz until it ended with the PIXIES’ tune,”Where is my mind” and Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” Two haunting and memorable rock songs, they translated perfectly to classic extended play.

That set one was Jazz, in layers, smooth assorted layers of thoughtful Jazz including Coltrane.

The show was entertaining and packed with class musicianship, in a great venue where I once fell in love. So overall, I give it a huge thumbs up! Great Job and Congratulations to David as he embarks upon professional life after college.

World’s Longest Oyster Po-Boy

Marietta-native and chef, Rob Vance of La Bayou restaurant, worked with many others to build the World’s Longest Oyster Po-Boy on March 27th in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOLA is home to the aptly-named New Orleans Oyster Fest, after all.  The 340-foot sub extended down Bourbon Street in yet another indication of the strong culture of New Orleans, the South … and America as a whole

When staying in NOLA, I highly recommend Hotel Monteleone for its location and ambient charm, Brennan’s for the best breakfast, and Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop for the strongest fresh Hurricanes. Jean Lafitte’s is the oldest bar in the USA (1772) and one of the few bars older than my alma mater, the University of Georgia (1785).

Experience Hendrix

Channelling Jimi Hendrix: the legendary Robert Randolph on slide; Joe Satriani backed by Living Colour; members of Aerosmith & Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band & The Jimi Hendrix Experience; and a cast of music veteran others. The setting was the Fabulous Fox on Peachtree Street in the sparkling capital of the New South, and the stars on the Fox’s ceiling were twinkling and shooting. Buckshot was lovely in purple with her cream skin and dark mane. One of her prettiest nights – and she is always pretty.

First, a perfect snack of margherita pizza at Baraonda was procured barely before the show. Myers Dark Rum and pineapple was the early evening’s beverage of choice. We also had a swell concoction I called for, of Pama, Goose Orange, and pineapple, splash of soda – that was at the Fox’s little martini bar. After it was Apres Diem for chocolate mouse, late coffee, dance beats, hip art and a sexy vibe. I wore all Ben Sherman, black and brown with pink and white stripes. It was another great night out in The ATL.

The music: Could they match Jimi? No, he is the greatest guitar player of all-time and an underrated songwriter who constantly innovated and pushed boundaries, until he was gone too soon at age 27, after choking on his own vomit while drugged on barbiturates. But they were all talented and inspired to bring their best show in his honor.

Hendrix played space music, blues, radio songs, love songs, psychedelic noise – he did it all. An afro-domed man of Jimi’s height danced in a Jimi shirt as he strutted the wide aisle from one end of the building to the other.

And it was nostalgic – helping me remember my old friends from Marietta, like the groovy Jeff Edens (RIP). At one point in high school, I had a room that was covered strictly in psychedelic Jimi Hendrix and iconic Jim Morrison pictures. Gone but not forgotten, these great American rock-and-roll Vincent Van Goghs or James Deans.

Marco’s Pita is Everfresh

Down on Ponce across from a tattoo shop and liquor store, surrounded by dive bars and underground clubs, coexists a solid and well-established family business run by some cool Detroit dudes. Proprietor Marco has locally-famous charisma and healthy food. The sign inside says: “Everfresh Is What It Is.” TRUE.

Falafel that doesn’t make you feel awful. Gyros to go. Scintillating salads. Perfect pitas – especially the surprisingly-fresh seafood pita. A protein-packed ground turkey burrito. A salmon burger. Lasagna. Cool art. Great location. Friendly folks. One America.

I Believe in the Lord

Last time I performed spoken word at JAVA LORDS in L5P, I found $11 on the ground directly after I read. My 3 short poems that night were about my beloved ATL – Atlanta, Georgia, the capital of the new, always most lyrically and poetically romantic and true South. That glorious green South of America that real artists across the world have always recognized for what it is: ALIVE! The ATL is easily the best place in the whole wide world to live, for me.

Tonight, I read again to a room full of mostly musicians and music fans, and this time I really pushed the envelope: In the supposedly unlucky 13 slot, I read 6 poems and took up my full maximum 15 minutes. I read new edge-art poetry, poetry about the personal failure and pain of getting divorced, poetry about my friend’s dad passing and poetry about my dad passing, and I ended back on that real, raw art edge. I felt great after I ripped my heart out on stage y’all, and the blood and tears ran. The small audience visibly cried with me. After, the host said he never saw anyone pour their heart out on stage like that and bought me a top shelf drink.

I cried alone and for real at the bar counter, sipping that adult beverage and missing Daddy. I glanced down, and in the same exact spot I’d seen the $11 – I saw a $50. I picked it up with my foot, then hand, as I’d done the first find. Oh my God.

Some of it went to a great singer I met, for her CDs. Before I performed, I’d just heard her sing that “Love is the most important thing.” So right – she deserved it.  More of it went in the tip jar … and I Believe in GOD by far. Bless you all my family, friends, fans. Starting today may you too begin again: Make life special as only you can. Don’t be afraid to be free, like me. Reach for the stars and be all that God has blessed y’all to be.

(Photo by: Han Vance)

A flower for my father’s grave

I See Him (C) 2009 HV:

In that hospice room

Preparing for heaven

With slow familial good-byes

To the last woman he ever loved

To his progeny: children and grandchildren

An ex-wife and old friend whom had mothered his kids

I still see his frail body as he slept below me

I prayed over him, read scripture over him

Found solace in the face he had given me

That face I’d seen for so many years

Gaunt and too fair, yet oh so him

He rested in peace and awakened blissful

Unabashed, unshackled in joy

He smiled at his boy

First with those heart-piercing eyes

Then the silver-tongued mouth

He’d taught me so much

Told me no lies

He prepared to die

He’d even chosen his path

Out the window

The sky to Wesley Woods

And the infinite rest

Fair father, you were the best

Best dad I ever had

All misgivings forgiven

So I openly asked you

How do you like those woods?

Gorgeous said you, old man

Simply gorgeous, son

More Fame Ass than BOB

Back when I was in school in ATHENS, GA, we used to listen to this heavy art rock band named BOB – not the same as the current ATL rapper but same city of origin, same name. My buddy Rob Vance – not a relative but same hometown, same drunken college town, same last name – found a BOB record – RECORD, not tape or CD – at a yard sale and bought it because he liked the cover art. I love free writing like blogging because – unlike a book – I can quickly go way off into tangential writing – like this – without concern. Anyway, we formed a small unofficial BOB fan club amongst our group of close friends; our universal favorite was called “Pope is…”  That song is better than anything on rock or college radio today.

We road-tripped to ATL to see BOB play on Memorial Drive with several other local bands. Maybe a year later, BOB played in Athens at the famous 40watt club and came out to a small but overly-enthusiastic crowd … of us. We knew every word and riff to every song; we danced and swayed and rocked out hard, and they loved us. They were like, “Holy shit, fans.” For that one night, amongst our small cool group, they were stars – HUGE STARS playing rock music in an American headquarters of alternative rock music. Lead singer dude had this written on the back of his pants: “FAME ASS.” He never made it … but I will.

Guitar sensation, near-infamous tabloid media darling and world famous pop star, John Mayer certainly did. In Philips Arena the other night, he said he dreamed of selling out Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, then he dreamed of selling out Variety Playhouse in L5P. Philips Arena was sold out, beyond his wildest dreams of stardom.

I never exactly plan to sell out Philips Arena like Kobe Bryant does when he comes to town. But I will: have a best-selling book like F. Scott Fitzgerald did, speak to a full audience at the Cobb Energy Center as David Sedaris did. That’s right, fans and friends, your good dude Han Vance will someday be way more Fame Ass than BOB. I have no second thoughts about saying it aloud, because I have more talent than most, and much more importantly, I won’t ever stop until I get there, and when I do, I will say I told you so …. SAY IT AND DO IT!