Before Gayle Swinehart retired and closed Strings Music in Glendora California, there used to be a monthly invite only, after hours, acoustic jam with some of the local professional and semiprofessional guitar players who frequented the store. You never knew who would show up. Likewise, you never knew if it was simply going to be a fun evening of jamming or if something magical was going to happen. Although I had been invited to other locations to try and carry on the tradition, I had not attended the jam in well over a year. I am assuming that some of the other players stopped attending as well. Ultimately, the jam fizzled. Fast forward to last night. It was the kick start in a new location, Alosta Brewing Company, in Covina Califonia. This was the first time that most of us had seen each other since regular attender Alan Saltsman had passed away. Needless to say, the night was filled with heavy hearts and warm memories. When it was local blues icon Stan West’s turn to pick the tune it was evident that we were going to live large in the moment. He started the up slide on this 1920’s Dobro Resonator and we were taken up to the clouds on the back of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” Everyone took a turn soloing over the collective ensemble’s well wishes to Alan. Yes, it was magical. I am glad I decided to go. Likewise, I am sad for the loss of a beautiful man and the missed opportunity to share the moment with some of our friends who jammed so many times with him. Music really does bring us together.
Friday, July 18, 2014
I was flipping through an old book at the house the other day. These two pictures, which were unknown to me, fell out. It is me, Jake Shimabukuro, and Rashad Qasem with the GHS guitar club in 2007. Jake had stopped by to talk with the GHS guitar club directly after appearing on the KLOS morning show with Mark and Brian in Los Angeles. He was a wonderfully kind young man. After answering student questions we jammed on his song, "Crosscurrent." I did not really know much about Jake at the time. Club president Rashad Qasem told me Jake was a really good player and he wanted to meet him. So I told him how to get in touch with his management company. That is one of the perks of being club president. You get to choose who you want to pursue for guest speakers at club meetings. Anyway, the club had hosted numerous famous guitar players over the years. However, we had never received so many requests for admission into a particular meeting. There were calls from all over California and Arizona to get in to see him. In hindsight it was a pretty special day. Jake has since gone on to worldwide acclaim as arguably the finest ukulele player on the planet! If you're interested in a little touch of what the students experienced on that day you can follow this link to see what happened on YouTube.
"Who will carry it on if we do not pass it on?"
at 9:21 AM