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Blue Moon Blog

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E.S.T.

Easily my favorite band the last year is E.S.T., the Esbjörn Svensson Trio. A pop band that plays jazz or vice versa, these three Swedes are redefining the jazz piano trio for the new millenium. They do it all, whether mellowing to a ballad with classical overtones, covering Thelonius Monk, punching out a pop hook that would get Linus and Snoopy jumping, or breaking all the rules with esoteric experimental improvisations.

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My wife, Mary and I had the pleasure of seeing them play live last summer on the night of our eighteenth wedding anniversary. They knocked me out, absolutely, playing tightly and in total sync, all the while free and loose in the intimate setting of the Dakota Jazz Club, located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. The group nailed more traditional jazz numbers, then flipped it over to use their instruments in crazy and inventive ways to produce weird, otherworldy sounds. My favorite track is Spunky Sprawl, a tune which would make Vince Guaraldi of Peanuts fame proud. The album where that song can be found, Strange Place For Snow is a great place to start. Or try their latest studio effort, Tuesday Wonderland. Check out their music at the official E.S.T. site, their MySpace page, or watch the video of the last five minutes of a recent concert. Give them a listen; you won't be sorry.

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Emily Walking

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I try with sketches like this one (and yesterday's) to capture not only gesture, but movement and character. This is achieved best by keeping it simple and moving fast. But obviously, with a pose like this, it wouldn't be possible to draw quickly enough. So, it must be completed by memory. No doubt yesterday's sketch was finished in similar fashion.

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Peek-a-Boo!

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Maybe this is the baby with the right attitude for this new year? I figure this sketch took less than 60 seconds. Had to work fast before anybody moved. For a subject like this, where gesture is so crucial, I find a quick sketch captures the moment and memory better than would a photo.

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It's On!

newyear08.jpg I couldn't do it. I couldn't let yesterday's rough and tumble pessimism set the wrong tone for the new year now upon us. I'm generally an optimistic sort, so this little cheerful retro baby is more my style. 2007 got a bad rap, I think. For all the sturm und drang, things were not as bad as they may have seemed. There's a general unease in the zeitgeist (what's with all the German references today? -- 100% German Boy, that's why!), and no doubt for good reason, but if we can manage to step out of the eye of the hurricane and get a little perspective, maybe we can appreciate better how blessed we are. Here's hoping! And so a splendid New Year to you.

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Buckle Up, It's Going to be a Bumpy Year

I've got a feeling it just might be an even rougher ride for the world in '08. We're going to need a tuff little New Year's Baby who'll be ready to throw down and get his freak on. Think he looks up to the task? Let's hope....

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Howl at the moon tonight, take a good whack at a SpongeBob piñata and let the silly string fly. Blow it all out then steel yourself for what's to come. Happy New Year from the Blue Moon Crew!

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Not So Little Voice

I've been listening to Little Voice, the debut album from Sara Bareilles since its release in July, and have no desire to stop. Each song by this singer-songwriter is a gem. Her supple voice and solid piano are front and center throughout, as Bareilles deftly handles a plethora of genres, covering pop, rock, R&B, soul, as well as quieter confessionals, most with a bluesy or jazzy touch. sara-bareilles.jpg The production is big when it needs to be, each song arranged perfectly, employing just the right instruments, or Sara's own multi-layered backing vocals. Her lyrics are sharp and memorable, delivered with subtle or punchy style as is called for. With her first single, "Love Song," she finds a clever twist in well-mined turf. And the rest are also just a plain pleasure to listen to. Usually, when I find an artist I like I can't wait for more, for their follow-up to be released as soon as possible. Not so with Little Voice. This one will do more than fine for quite a while longer.

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Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

I've been working on my children's book, Night of the Bedbugs for quite some time. I made good progress on the final art over this last year, and am about to step up production on the balance of the final art, with a plan to self publish in hardcover format. Here are the pencils and final color art for page three. bedbugs_03_pencil.jpg bedbugs_03.jpg I'll be posting here more updates as progress continues.

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Arms Wide Open

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I'm looking to approach the coming new year with this kind of attitude. Sometimes interesting stuff spills outta you when you're just doodling with a pen. I like it, at least.

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Christmas Dove

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Squirrels and birds have been showing up for months on our new deck, but we hadn't seen a dove...'til Christmas day.

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Merry Christmas!

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Mary really went to town with Photoshop for the official Christmas family photo this year. Even the presidents are getting in on the act!

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Emily was awestruck and transfixed when we finished lighting and decorating the tree a week or two ago. We're still using most of the very same strings and big lights we had for our tree when I was growing up.

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We're spending Christmas day right here at home this year. Gifts and brunch and chocolate and toys and sledding and steak dinner. Yum! Peace to you this Christmas. Have a great day!

 

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