We did it. We got the band back together!
One of Nick’s friends was getting married, and asked him to play for the wedding. Nick called us up, we practiced a few times, and played the reception. Much fun! This time we also were able to add a bassist (Allan Douglas) and it really helped our sound. (Getting our piano tuned for practices didn’t hurt either). So the Nick Hilscher Trio, grew into the Nick Hilscher Quartet.
I was really really happy with how this came together. We actually only had one practice with all four of us present, but we were able to establish a really good groove (it helps with the bassist grew up obsessed with Stax Records and Motown). This is a really good group of guys and i’d love to play with them more.
Nick is obviously an amazing talent but also a really good friend. I’m always blown away when we play – he’s a great vocalist but an amazing pianist. I think he’s a lot like Nat King Cole (or maybe Diana Krall): make a career out of singing, but all the musicians and jazz fanatics love his piano work just as much. I really wish him well in getting his band going, though i want to put out the vote again for him to really work on the smaller combo stuff. (For those that don’t know, Nick used to sing and play piano for the Glenn Miller Orchestra and recorded an album with them.) It might be my personal preference, but as much as he’s great in front of 20+ people, his personality and amazing talent are better showcased in a small combo setting. But maybe that’s just me.
Jamie is a great friend and a great musician. We were just talking and realized that he and i have known each other about 10 years now. The longest i’ve known anyone outside of my wife and blood relatives. He has an extremely wide breadth of musical knowledge that overlaps mine quite a bit, and we’ve known each other and played so long together i feel like we can really mesh well together, but we also know what we are capable of and when and how to push each other. We (almost) always have fun playing together too. It only takes one of us playing a few notes to start right in to a song like we’ve practiced it. He’s also a better improviser than he’ll usually admit.
Allan i haven’t known nearly as long, but our first conversation was about obscure early 90′s alternative Christian music bands and their production style. And it went up hill from there. He grew up playing and listening to Booker T and the MG’s (who you will find in my playlist on the right panel of this blog) – which is exactly the background i would want any bass player to have. He also has an album of his own about to be released. Go check out his MySpace page for details and clips.
So anyway, back to the gig.
Christy took some pictures and videos during the wedding. Unfortunately, due to an strange accident with a network attached storage drive that decided to go wonky on us, only one video survived. It’s really a pity because Christy took some great photos and captured some good video too. Fortunately i think the one video that survived is one of the better ones, as it was recorded near the end of the reception when we were more relaxed. For the record: the strange off-beat splash cymbal stuff i randomly start doing at the 1:15 mark was in response to someone who was being goofy and doing the can-can. Gotta work the crowd.
So, here’s that video. Don’t judge too harshly: the piano was horribly out of tune and we were there to be a dance band, not putting on a jazz concert (in other words: having fun, not making art).
We all want to play together more, and we already have one invitation to play for a friend’s parents’ anniversary party coming up in another few months. Hopefully Nick moving to Atlanta won’t prevent us from playing some more. I think (hope) they are planning on coming back to visit occasionally, so hopefully we can jam some and keep our chops up. Who knows, i might actually practice and feel confident enough to use sticks instead of brushes on more than one song this time :-)
(Note: the phrase “Nick Hilscher” is already the most popular search term people hit my site with)