News

                       

My New Film Score Project

 

In the midst of fending off of my post-election gloom and anxiety, I've teamed up with a couple equally frustrated friends and fellow creatives in a collective effort to express what cannot be effectively put into words in the form of an experimental film, BORN. It's been a blast! I’m truly elated to be involved in a collaboration with these two brilliant artists, award-winning filmmaker Lazarina Todorova and dancer, choreographer, and performance artist Z Boyd Stout. It's provided a rare opportunity for me to take on the creative challenges of scoring and producing a musical soundscape that will truly help these two visionary creators bring their eye dazzling brainchild of a film to life.

What you'll experience when you click on the link below is only a short preview of a work in progress, but the filming is already completed and the work is now in the editing and post-production stages, while my soundtrack crafting continues in an evolving reflection of the visual results. This project has really expanded the dimensions of my experience, both as a composer and an improvisor, because it has really been a threeway improvisational exchange among the three of us collaborating on it. The INDIEGOGO campaign you'll read about at the link below will remain active for about a week with the goal of helping us take a short break from our individual "paying the bills" routines to get the project completed more quickly and the finished production out to film festival audiences sooner too. If you'd like to help with that, your contribution is most welcome!  Have a peek: https://igg.me/at/BORN.  Or if you're reading this too late to catch the fundraising campaign, you can still see a short trailer for the film here: https://vimeo.com/198944310.

 

 

The New Video is Out and Streaming!

 

The music video for my song, THAT CARIBBEAN GROOVE, is finally out and streaming this week both here on the site and on my YouTube channel. The song is a tribute to my little chosen hometown of Puerto Viejo and a gift to the community here, which depends on ecotourism for most of its income. To celebrate its release, Hot Rocks will be showing the beautiful video, produced by Cuban-Costa Rican filmmaker Yamilka Noa, on their big theater-size screen tomorrow night as part of their weekly Puerto Viejo Live series, hosted by the wonderfully talented Dawn Livingston. I'm super happy to be sharing our labor of love with the people who helped inspire it. I'll also be sitting in on lead guitar with the amazing Matixando, who I had a blast playing a set with last night at a house concert party here in Playa Chiquita. Looking forward to the show tomorrow night!

 

Seattle Shows This Week

 

Just finished up a wonderful show last night at Makeda & Mingus in Seattle, with Brad Warren on guitar, Marc Smason on trombone, percussion and vocals, and surprise guests and stellar percussion wonders Will Dowd and Linda Severt joining the wonderful Laura Olviedo in laying down the grooves. What an awesome band of friends to welcome us back to our old Northwest neighborhood! Video highlights here: https://youtu.be/fCUM0IFCg1Y


Tomorrow night will be my last Seattle show for this trip, hosted by Kate Phillips, a dear friend and an awesome singer songwriter herself, who helped introduce my music to audiences here at her great venue, Madison's Cafe and Music House, back in the early 90's. Event details here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1780701648810672/

 

Heading Off on the NW Tour

 

The sun will be setting on my summer of Fridays at the Lazy Mon tonight before I head for the U.S. northwest for a few weeks, then on to California. I'm playing a string of shows in Seattle, followed by more work further south, along with eagerly anticipated reunions with my West Coast family and friends. More recording work on my Rumi album is also on the agenda, moving slowly but steadily toward completing that long term project. Hope to see you up there, American left coast friends!

 

Friday Nights Continuing at the Lazy Mon

 
My weekly mission is to perform for those of you who are both interested and nearby enough to get there some of my original material (especially my Rumi based songs lately) and a few of the most interesting cover tune arrangements I can come up with. I have a lot of them, but I like to keep drawing from the well that houses the works of the many great artists who continue to inspire me to keep making music and hopefully help provide you with a good time in the process. It's a live-without-a-net intermixture of practiced composition and unrehearsed improvisation on what are often spontaneous and always evolving musical arrangements. Khalil Chapman and Allen give me a great sound mix so I can hear myself well and usually manage to get all the parts working together, even though there are often a few unexpected surprises and imperfections due to either jungle power technical glitches, admittedly human error, or some combination of the two. The uncertainty of the unknown in the equation boosts the adrenaline rush a bit - enough so that, in listening to some of what's been recorded at these one man jam-band shows, I've been surprised to find that I am often playing some of my very best live work. And sometimes talented vocalist friends like Erin Foley, Juleddi Ryan, and Christiano Can drop by and join me on stage for a bit, taking things in a little different direction. 
For me, it's always a blast, and since the crowds have been great most nights and people there enjoy it enough to encourage me to keep coming back, I do. I will be there again tonight from 5:30 to 7:30, weather willing, and hope to see some of your beautiful faces in the crowd.
 

ROOTS JAZZ with Cameron Greenlee

 

The first weeks of 2014 have found me diving into a new musical collaboration with visiting NYC keyboardist Cameron Greenlee, just off the road from a long stint as a touring and recording member of the Skatalites, the world reknown Jamaican roots band. A highly accomplished jazz pianist, Cameron also plays a mean left hand bass that keeps our Caribbean grooves rock steady. We're now doing weekly Tuesday night shows at La Costa de Papito, along with scattered appearances at other area venues. But Cameron is only in town for a few more weeks, so if you're in Puerto Viejo between now and mid-March, be sure to catch a taste of our blend of reggae, funk and jazz roots while it's still cookin'! 

 

Arte Viva Weekend Shows Start Tonight!

 

Tonight I'm starting my extended Arte Viva weekend, joining Junior Alvarez and his band, along with Jimmy Mac and other special guests for the pre-festival calypso jam at Le Costa de Papito from 7 to 10. Tomorrow I'll be in town again at the Lazy Mon for my solo sunset show from 5 to 7 PM to help warm up the crowd for a whole evening of live music culminating with a true cultural icon, reknown pianist and national Minister of Culture and Youth, Manuel Obregon, in a rare local appearance performing with our local Calypso Limonese legend on the festival's Plaza de Cultura main stage. And Saturday I'll do a short solo set on the big stage myself at 8:40, opening a night of music headlined by the high energy Latin fusion of Lucio Calavera and la Canalla. Bring your dancing shoes for that one!

 

Woodstock Memorial Concert

 

This week marks the 44th anniversary of the original Woodstock Music and Art Festival, and I'm celebrating by reviving my Woodstock Memorial concert next Wednesday, August 21, at La Costa de Papito. It will be a whole evening of songs that were played at the festival, and this time - assuming all goes as planned - I'll be joined some very special guests to kick out the jams on some of those rock and blues numbers. Of course there will be plenty of acoustic classics, too, from the sets played by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the great Richie Havens (rest his soul,) John Sebastian, and more. And of course Jimi will definitely be in the building!

Yesterday marked the opening day of what became a 4 day event, and my friends and I arrived early that evening after a 7 mile hike from our abandoned car, parked somewhere in the Monticello area I think. But I'll save the details on that for Wednesday! (Show starts at 7:00, reservations recommended: 506 2750 0080.)
 

PUNTA RASTA Now on Disc

 

The CD version of my latest album, Punta Rasta: a Musical Journey to the Caribe Sur, was just released. The disc is now available for previewing and purchase here on the website and at CD Baby, Amazon, and a bunch of other media outlets. (Buying it here from my online store or at CDBaby.com will give the most financial support to the artist.)

 

FREE SONG FOR YOU

 

Be sure to visit the MUSIC page for a FREE download of a new song!  In solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and in commemoration of the 10th anniversary this weekend of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan I’m giving this track away to everyone on my mailing list and everyone who visits my website in the coming months. The song is dedicated to all who work for peace and justice and for the protection of our planet, continuing to go beyond merely dreaming of a better tomorrow for our children. Called SNOW, paying tribute to the Puget Sound peace coalition that inspired the first verse, this track is from Strings and Wood, a mostly acoustic solo album that I've been slowly completing over the past year. The song is streaming here and on my Facebook and Bandcamp pages, so you can listen, read the lyrics, and download the song for free. And if you like what you hear, please share a link to this site with your friends: http://jimvick.bandcamp.com/track/snow

 

THE NEW INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM

 

Punta Rasta, my new instrumental album, is almost done. I'm just finishing up the final editing and mixing, only a few weeks away from being able to release this baby. Getting there has turned out to be a huge commitment of work and time, wearing all the hats of producer, engineer, composer and primary instrumentalist on all the tracks, but I'm happy to say that I really think the resulting product was worth all that sweat and repetitive motion strain after all. I hope that you will agree when you hear it for yourself.  Previews of the new mixes are coming right up, and I'll be sharing more details on the release date very soon, as well.


 

BACK ON THE BEACH

 

Back from my summer U.S. NW trip/tour, I’m resuming live performances in Costa Rica this week with a show Tuesday night at La Costa de Papito, in Cocles.  (Muchas gracias to Eddie Ryan for keeping my weekly live shows alive at his beautiful restaurant - even through much of the low season!) On the recording end, I returned from Seattle with some beautiful new overdub tracks for the BHAKTI BLUE album, with bass legend Rob Moitoza laying down the groove on all the songs and Brazilian keyboardist and Yellow House Records recording artist Paula Maya playing piano and organ on a couple of the tracks. It has been a great pleasure re-immersing myself in this project again and hearing it evolve to the next phase in its 2 1/2 year development.  Meanwhile, my instrumental album, delayed from release for a few months due to the loss of my old laptop and a few other technical problems, is nearly ready to hit the web - stay tuned for the final word as to when exactly that happens. 

 

Songwriters Circle Concert Sept. 2nd with Brad Warren and Kate Phillips

 

When I first moved from Boston to Seattle back in the early 90's and began seeking out places to hear and play acoustic music, one of the first people I met in the local singer-songwriter scene was Kate Phillips.  I was immediately taken by this remarkable and incredibly talented young woman, who was then co-hosting and giving heartfelt solo performances at a weekly U-District open mic where I first introduced my own material to a Seattle audience.  Only a year or 2 later (help me on this, Kate!) she and her former partner Bill Pritchard opened Madison's Cafe and Music House, a little musical miracle in West Seattle, where I met and began to make music with some of Seattle's finest performing songwriters, including the incomparable Brad Warren.  My memories of touring the NW with Brad, in the duo that became the Vick-Warren Conspiracy (often with Eva at the wheel on those Eastern WA highways,) are among my fondest.  I couldn't be happier to be sharing the stage again with my longtime friends Brad and Kate, and very thankful to Kate for pulling this show together for me during my Seattle visit. The concert will be held at a great new performance venue, Friends, Philosphy and Tea in Bellevue. (Details on the Calendar page.) I really hope you can join us for this long overdue reunion!

Only 1 more scheduled show to follow before I head back to the tropics: an outdoor afternoon concert on Sunday the 5th up in Marysville, WA, again sharing the bill with Brad.  Details coming up next week.

 

Jammin' in Seattle with Marc & Perry

 

My NW mini-tour started Friday evening with a coffeehouse full of friends I haven't seen in years at my gig at Makeda, in the Phinney-Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Marc Smason played beautiful African percussion and trombone accompaniment on my songs and then took me as his guest afterward to a late night jazz jam party at a house right there in our old Phinney Ridge neighborhood. The party was given in honor of NYC clarinet master Perry Robinson by family members who live here, following his own gig at Egan's earlier that evening. There was already a guitarist in the mix, so I played the Fender bass when it was vacated for awhile, jamming with Perry, Marc, and constantly changing band of jazz luminaries (I counted about 20 rotating in and out of the chairs over a couple hours of listening and playing there!) 

Perry was very sweetly welcoming and complimentary to me. Now 72 years young, his father was Earl Robinson, who wrote "Joe Hill" (the one Joan Baez made famous in the Woodstock festival movie) and songs for Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Like something out of a dream, it was an amazing experience and an honor to sit in with Perry. If you're a music lover and don't know about him, check out http://www.myspace.com/perryrobinsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perry_Robinson

Next stop is Ashland, OR, for a reunion with my daughter and first meeting of my new granddaughter, born just a couple weeks ago. Then back to WA on the 1st for a couple more shows before I head back south - details to follow shortly.

 

MUSICAL BARBECUE - Caribe Style

 
The Big Mix returns tomorrow night to La Costa de Papito's beautifully expanded and remodeled restaurant, Que Rico Papito. And for both your visual and culinary entertainment, Walter will be cookin' up barbecue Caribbean-style on the new grill in the entry to the dining area, which is scheduled to continue along with our live music every Tuesday night until we take a break in mid-August. 
 

WOODSTOCK IN PUERTO V?

 

Yes, it's a bit late - we were delayed almost a month by a bad case of flu that hit me just before the actual anniversary date so that we had to postpone this show. But being a Woodstock veteran still carrying the memories of what a life changing experience that incredible weekend was for me personally, I am compelled to go ahead with this: a full evening of music that was played on those 4 music history making days by some of the top artists of the day - a virtual blues/rock, folk and funk guitar extravaganza, to be sure. More details on the CALENDAR page!

 WOODSTOCK 40th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION CONCERT, TUESDAY, SEPT. 8,   7:00 - 9:30 PM  at LA COSTA DE PAPITO                    


 

Premiere of BHAKTI BLUE: The Rumi Songs

 

On Friday, May 29, I’ll be premiering a collection of new songs based on the poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi. This will also be the premier of a new international group, assembled specifically for this project, featuring performance poet Sandra Isabel Vallejo Rivas (Columbia,) who will deliver Spanish translations of all the lyrics, along with my frequent collaborator, percussionist Carter V (Detroit, MI). Proceeds from the show will benefit the Green Iguana Foundation www.iguanaverde.com and will be presented in the beautiful performance space of Tree House Lodge in Punta Uva, Limon, here on the Carribean coast of Costa Rica. The poetry of 13th century Sufi poet Rumi has both inspired and shocked millions, with its profoundly intimate descriptions of the experience of human love as a divine ecstatic experience. Rumi's words celebrate love between two people as a spiritual phenomenon, presenting a kind of guide to Bhakti, the yoga of love and devotion. Yet, while the undisputed goal of his philosophy is meeting the Divine in one's lover, he fully embraces the physical and sensual elements of human love in a way that is often at once both sacred and erotic. I first discovered Rumi's work while studying with Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Khan at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, NY, back in the mid-1970's. I later rediscovered his genius while I was attending graduate school in Boston during the early 1990's in the public lectures and readings of poet Robert Bly and the renown English translator Coleman Barks. But it was only after another 15 years of writing and performing my own songs in Seattle that I came to realize just how much Rumi's poetry had influenced both my life and my own work. I picked up a collection of Rumi poetry at a used bookstore in Costa Rica a few months after moving here in 2006, and I soon began to re-encounter images and phrases that had somehow (and mostly unconsciously) found their way into my own song lyrics over the years. it was then that I felt compelled to try working a Rumi poem or two into new contemporary songs of my own. Less than a year later I found myself completing a full album's worth of songs derived directly from Rumi poems - a collection that, because of its musical roots and devotional themes, I now call Bhakti Blue. If you're here in Costa Rica next week, I hope you can join us for this very special event.

 

MORE MUSIC MAKING IN PUERTO V

 
The live scene has been busier for me as the local high season for tourism has kicked into gear. I returned to the LOCO NATURAL for 2 shows with guest guitarist TJ Boeschen, from Portland, OR, and percussionist Carter VanHauten - a trio that has become an ongoing project whenever TJ comes back to what has truly become his second home here in Costa Rica. I also did my first solo gig at the Loco on March 8 and have a return engagement there coming up on the 22nd. I've also done a couple shows at the new CHILI ROJO - one with the trio and another with Jim MacDougall's Rayos del Sol and have another solo show coming up on the 16th at LA CASA DEL PAN in own my Playa Chiquita neighborhood. Recording continues for the solo album, squeezed in between the live shows and the gardening chores on our little mini finca. Uh oh - beach weather calling! Ciao for now.
 

INSIDER'S LIMON is OUT!

 
I'm happy to announce the release of "Insider's Limon", the audio tour package I scored and recorded the music for last year. A 3-hour presentation, it is loaded with new music - all composed and recorded here in Puerto Viejo. I hope you'll check out the previews, including music and video samples from the project, at www.insiderslimon.com, where you can also purchase and download the whole package. Coming up soon will be a music only soundtrack album, which will be available here and at online music outlets. Meanwhile, I'm still plugging away at my next singer-songwriter release, and getting closer . . . Yeah, you've heard that one before - but seriously, much progress has been made of late! INSIDER'S LIMON took priority for much of the year (I think you'll see/hear why when you take a listen.) On the live side, I'm back at my weekly Que Rico Papito gig - now on Tuesday nights - and continuing to rehearse and preview the Rumi Songs project I'll be unveiling here this season. More on that soon!
 

DRYING OUT EN LA PLAYA

 
Big news just in this morning: the secret is out on my recently completed soundtrack/score project and the nearly finished products’s website is now up for previewing! Take a look & a listen here: www.insiderslimon.com Meanwhile, the storm has passed, the flooding has subsided, the sea has calmed, and the sun is shining over Caribe Sur again! So you don’t need to be scared off by those photos in the news of water drenched villages if you were planning a trip to this area soon. The media coverage has definitely had an impact on the tourism here, with the town much quieter than usual this week, but the washed out bridge into town has been replaced with a very adequate temporary one while the new one is being installed this week, and the weather has stabilized, with the immediate forecast looking quite good. I’m continuing my weekly Saturday night solo gig at Que Rico Papito! at Costa de Papito hotel in Cocles, while planning for the official performance debut of my Rumi songs project, which will feature Spanish lyric translations done by a very charming performing poet amiga from Columbia. A special New Year’s Eve show is also scheduled at Salsa Brava Restaurant with keyboardist/vocalist Jim MacDougall and his trio. In the meantime, I'll have more samples from the INSIDER’S LIMON score to offer on the MUSIC page soon (there are already a couple there for listening now) and I hope to see you out there on our beach sometime this winter.
 

ROB COMES TO PUERTO

 
The arrival of autumn here on the Costa Rican Carribean coast is more like the onset of summer, with drier weather and wonderful swimming and snorkeling weather. It has also brought the arrival of a very special guest, my good friend and longtime collaborator Rob Moitoza, for a 3 week visit that’s coming to an end later this week. Rob joined me at Costa de Papito last Saturday night and in a house concert performance this week, much to the pleasure of those in attendance. I’m putting finishing touches on the soundtrack project tracks this month and rehearsing for a couple shows in October with visiting bassist extraordinaire Rob Moitoza to introduce the Rumi Songs project here. Many Seattle friends were on hand when Rob joined me in July for the U.S. debut of several of those songs during my little Puget Sound tour with Marc Smason and Joanne Rand. It will be great to have him here for the first outing of the whole collection of this new material. Recording has been underway since early summer, and Seattle drummer Ed Mays laid down some great grooves on a few of the tracks during my Pacific NW visit. I hope to have some previews up on the Music page soon.
 

ARTE VIVA 2008 & MORE

 
A busy summer is winding down as I prepare for Puerto Viejo’s third annual Arte Viva Festival, coming up on the weekend of September 26 – 28. I’ll be performing on the main stage with keyboardist/vocalist Jim MacDougall, saxophonist Gib Monks, and drummer John Wheatley on Friday evening, and doing a solo set at La Casa de Cultura on Saturday at 5:30 PM. Arte Viva was born a little over two years ago when a group of foreign born residents like ourselves banded together with some of the local citizens, setting out to raise funds to open a community school of the arts, where the children and youth of this area can receive instruction and encouragement in a variety of arts disciplines. I was immediately excited about this idea, recalling the positive effect that music, creative writing, and visual arts had in my own early life (I've always related to the Bumbershoot t-shirt slogan, "Art Saves Me.") There are currently few opportunities available for the youth of Puerto Viejo and far too many are drawn into crack use and the the inevitable accompanying street crime that supports it. I'm familiar enough with addiction issues to know that there is no easy solution to that situation, but the idea of a positive alternative emerging here that may provide a preventative buffer for some of these kids offers a bit of hope, and that's a dream I'm happy to get behind. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, check out http://www.arteviva-puertoviejo.com. You'll find some great photos of some the participants and activities at the Arte Viva event the past 2 years, along with a link to a short video about the project, the festival, and the collective dream that inspired them. And you can help bring that dream to life with a donation - large or small – right there on the website, too. Meanwhile, I’m back at Costa de Papito every Saturday night now. Putting finishing touches on the soundtrack project tracks this month, and rehearsing for a couple shows in October with visiting bassist extraordinaire Rob Moitoza to introduce my new collection of songs based on the writings of Rumi, the 14th century Persian Sufi poet. A number of Seattle friends were on hand when Rob joined me in July for the U.S. debut of several of those songs during my little Puget Sound tour with Marc Smason and Joanne Klein. It will be great to have him here for the first outing of the whole collection of this new material. Recording has been underway since early summer, and Seattle drummer Ed Mays laid down some great grooves on a few of the tracks during my Pacific NW visit. I hope to have some previews up on the Music page soon.
 

BACK IN THE U.S.

 
I am back in the States now on a whirlwind trip that will take me to Seattle a little later this week. Looking forward immensely to reuniting with my daughter Elisa for a few days and hopefully seeing most of my Puget Sound friends. I'll be joining my good friend Brad Warren for a performance on Sunday 7/6 to kick off a week of Seattle area shows. Elisa will join me for a coffeehouse show that afternoon - the first of a string of dates I'll be doing that week with the fine jazz trombonist/vocalist Marc Smason. And my longtime band mate, bassist Rob Moitoza will join us for evening shows on Monday and Tuesday. It will be a great pleasure to collaborate with these fine musicians again and introduce a slew of new material to my NW friends. Marc and I had a blast playing together during his visit to Costa Rica last year, and it will be a joy to be jammin' with Rob again and celebrate his receiving the Washington Blues Society's award for best bass player yet again this year. And singing with Elisa again is always sublime! Hope you can join us, Seattle friends - the dates and venue info are all on the Calendar page.
 

MORE NEW MUSIC

 
There are some new tunes for you to check out now on the MUSIC page: REMAIN UNKNOWN, another cut from the solo CD in progress, and 2 instrumentals from the soundtrack project. MANZANILLO MORNING is an acoustic guitar piece and DOWN AT THE LOCO is calypso-style tune featuring some of my musical co-conspirators in Costa Rica, including Carter V on congas (but I played all the guitars on all this stuff.) Hope you enjoy. My visit to the States is quickly approaching, and I have 3 dates booked in Seattle so far, including a 4th of July show at the Columbia City Beatwalk and a gig at Hendrix Electric Lounge on the 8th. (Hope to see you there, Seattle friends!)
 

NEW MUSIC

 
Happy to say that the first of the new music is now up for you to check out on the LISTEN page! As promised, you will find there the first of a couple live cuts of my acoustic world fusion trio with accomplished Argentine sitarist Santos and percussionist Carter V, recorded at the Arte Vive Festival in late September. This one I'm calling Paz Azul, referring to our collective wish for steps toward peace in our troubled world as the new year takes shape. There is also a just mixed cut, Good Care (a song I first introduced at my last Seattle performance a couple years ago) which is destined for the upcoming acoustic album I'm working on. The lyrics are there too (click on the song title to see them.) Hope you enjoy - and by all means, your feedback is always welcome and appreciated!
 

Seasoned Greetings

 
The high season in Caribe Sur has started off with great celebration with the grand reopening of the beautiful El Loco Natural in its new location. The new place is a real dinner club, with tiered seating and a central stage at ground level - perfect for acoustic performances. My Sunday night stint there has resumed as of November 25, where I played the opening weekend show with Carter and his stepson-percussionist Nico, visiting from Chile. My daughter Elisa arrived yesterday to visit for a couple weeks, and we’ll be performing together on 12/9 at Jungle Love in Playa Chiquita and at the Loco on 12/16. We’re also planning to get some more recording done while she’s here and hopefully finish up her vocal tracks for the projects we started during her last visit. More about that in the next update. And speaking of recordings, at long last I have some new tracks to share with you, which will be appearing on the LISTEN page shortly. My first additions will be a sampling of the instrumental music I’ve been making with my acoustic duo partner, percussionist Carter Van Hauk, and Argentine sitarist Santos: two live tracks recorded at the Arte Vive Festival a couple months ago. I'll send out an alert to everyone who's still on the e-mailing list, but otherwise, please watch for them here in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I’m slowly making progress on recovering from a shoulder and elbow injury incurred several months back that has kept me laying low on the performance schedule the past 2 months, other than a couple unannounced visits to local acoustic jams. Composing and recording have been taking more of my focus right now, including a soundtrack project for a producer friend in San Francisco that I’m pretty excited about. Mum is the word for now, but I’ll keep you posted as it materializes in the coming year.
 

Late Summer Update

 
Hey, all! The next big event in my musical world is returning to another mainstage slot at the second annual Arte Vive Fesival, scheduled for the weekend of September 28 & 29. The festival attracted a great and enthusiastic crowd last year and promises some exciting new additions this season, including a concert by the great Costa Rican pianist and composer Manuel Obregon, as well as a scaled down revival of the Limon Legends all-star calyspso band. (Check out some of the great music these folks are making at www.papayamusic.com.) This summer my performances have been almost entirely acoustic shows, highlighted by my weekly duo gigs at the Loco with percussionist/vocalist Carter VanHouten. Continuing to reel in horror between musical relief fests at the goings on in the Bush League's Reign of Terror(ism - yeah, other people call it that when we inflict it on them, too, George!) the two of us shared another double birthday celebration Sunday evening (we were born just 2 days and 10 years apart) with 2 smoking sets, joined by special guests Junior Alvarez, the Bluefields, Nicaragua calypso king, on bass and Jamaican jammer Jeff Et on percussion. When a summer cold put a damper on my vocalizing ability for a few weeks, (and yes probably too much badnews reading at truthout.org and commondreams.org - recommended neverthesless) I worked up some more instrumental arrangements for acoustic guitar. The songs I’ve chosen are a mix of some from the Brazillian and blue jazz catalogues and an assortment of “new standards” –folk and pop classics ranging from Dylan and the Beatles to Nora Jones that make surprisingly great vehicles for improvisation. These new additions have quickly become favorites in our Jazz Caribe repertoire, which I’m hoping to get recorded within the next year. In the meantime, I’ve also had enough extra time at home this summer to finish up and rehearse some new original songs that have come together over the past year, so they’ll be making there way into my set lists for my upcoming solo shows at Bread and Chocolate next Saturday and the new Mate Latte in Playa Chiquita in early September. And of course onto my upcoming mostly acoustic CD, which is now in the works as well. (Previews are not far away from getting to this website’s listening page.) Speaking of the venues, I must mention my tremendous gratitude to Carter, Pamela and Stash at El Loco Natural for a nearly solid year and a half of weekly gigs, consistently and uniquely delicious consumables, and best of all, their warm comradery. It’s no wonder the place is one of the most popular restaurants in town among tourists and residents alike. We will miss them and the music we make there when they move out of their current location in a few weeks, which will close the venue through November. However, the party is sure to resume when they reopen in December in their new location on the southeast side of town. I also want to thank Tom for his continued support of live original acoustic music at Bread and Chocolate, the most nostalgically North American-style café in Puerto Viejo, providing delicious all natural breakfast and lunch fare (including their amazing house-baked whole grain bagels and incredible local organic chocolate treats) to the rice’n’beans weary ecotourist and local ex-pat communities, who continue to pack the place every weekend. And, most recently to Heather and Cache, our new friends and neighbors, who are providing me with another acoustic music venue and a great place to eat and hang out with amigos - their new Mate Latte café near our home in Playa Chiquita. Beautifully furnished and decorated with Cache’s gorgeous wood furniture work and Heather’s impeccable sense of style, the look of the place encourages great expectations and then delivers in the form of traditional espresso beverages (made from local fair trade organic coffee) and their cutting-edge mate equivalents, along with delicious and very creative all-natural entrees, snacks, and treats. And I do think even lifelong Seattleites will be impressed with their buzz beverage lineup! My first show their will be at their gala opening party on September 8. Hope you can make it!:) Meanwhile, stay sane and please stay ACTIVE. Your voice matters and may make the difference! Peace, Jim
 

More Latin Jazz with Special Guests from the North

 
The past month has been a big one for me here musically, with my new Brazillian jazz group Beladonna and the Shamans taking off (now playing every Saturday night at Ami Modo, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Puerto Viejo, the expansion of our very eclectic Sunday night band at the Loco Natural to include the great Canadian tenor saxophonist Gib Monks, and - just this past week - several shows with special guests Seattle jazz artists Marc Smason and Joanne Klein. The folks in this south Carribean community and visiting ecotourists have responded very enthusiastically to our bringing live jazz into their midst, so it's been a blast to help make that happen. In the next month, as the season slows down until summer, I'll be tapering off a little bit on the performing in town to put more time into songwriting and recording for awhile (not to mention more gardening and time at the beach!) That should be timed well with a possible visit from one of my favorite performing songwriters in a couple months - more on that later. Peace, Jim
 

New Photos

 
Check out the new pics in the Photo Gallery from our New Year's Eve show at El Loco Natural! I'm continuing to stay active in the Puerto Viejo music scene with regular weekly gigs at the Loco and El Parquecito, along with my Saturday acoustic shows at Bread and Chocolate. Also rehearsing for a late winter debut with Bella Donna and the Shamans, a new Brazillian jazz group (doing lots of Jobim material,) which has been great fun to put together and has given me a chance to explore a musical style I've always loved. Stay tuned for an update and new music samples soon!
 

Latin Jazz and Acoustic Solo Outings

 
The high season is really kicking into gear for me here in ecotourist haven Puerto Viejo with a very busy weekend of playing. Friday 12/8 I'll be accompanying visiting San Francisco trombonist/keyboardist and composer/arranger Wayne Wallace for an eveing of latin jazz. A highly respected jazz artist, Wayne has played with the the Count Basie Orchestra, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins and McCoy Tyner, as well as top R&B acts like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin and Dr. John. I'm really looking forward to an exciting evening of music making with Wayne's group, which will also include my regular collaborator Carter V on percussion, as well as all 4 members of the local latin jazz & reggae group Plan B. My weekend of performing continues with a solo acoustic brunch concert at Bread and Chocolate at noon on Saturday, followed by a night of blues, latin rock, and reggae at the Loco Natural with Carter on percussion and bassist Junior Alvarez. Then, finally, Carter and I will resurrect our acoustic trio with Argentinian guitartist/vocalist Luciano Gomez on Sunday night. Hopefully I will still have some energy left for next Tuesday, when I'll return to El Parquecito for another night of blues/rock, funk and JV originals with my new collabortor, awesome Barcelona drummer Nota Peres, who has played in Europe with the likes of John McLaughlin and Bill Evans. Our new trio with keyboardist/bassist/vocalist Jim MacDougall is my lastest ongoing project, which has found its weekly home at the Parquecito on Tuesdays. Jimmy Mac is back in the States this week but will return to join us on Sunday 12/18 for jazz and R&B at the Loco Natural.
 

More Brunch Concerts

 
I'll be joined by keyboard player and vocalist Jim MacDougall for a series of Saturday brunch concerts the next few weeks at Bread and Chocolate in Puerto Viejo. The first one is Saturday, November 11, from noon to 2 pm. We'll continue the series on alternate Saturdays into December, with additional shows scheduled for the same time on 11/25 and 12/9. We are also back on stage at the Loco Natural on Saturday and Sunday nights, now with Jim MacDougall joining Carter and me for jazz/acoustic night on Sundays.
 

Concert in Playa Chiquita

 
My daughter Elisa Vick, who sang vocals with jimvick.combo for several years, is coming to Costa Rica this month for a visit. We'll be doing a couple shows together while she's here, one of which will be on October 28 at La Casa del Pan in Playa Chiquita, about 6 km southeast of Puerto Viejo. La Casa has great pizza and desserts, and the concert starts at 7:00, so be sure to come early and enjoy some great food along with the music. We'll also be doing a special Saturday Brunch concert at Bread & Chocolate, a great little natural foods restaurant in Puerto Viejo on Saturday 10/21 starting at noon. They make their own whole grain bagels and serve delicious breakfast and luch faire, so get their early for a table!
 

Mainstage Performance at ArteVive Festival

 
This Saturday, September 30, I'll be playing on the mainstage at 9:15 PM with Junior, Carter, and special guests at the ArteVive Festival in Puerto Viejo. The festival will be featuring some of the best and most innovative music acts in Costa Rica, including Papaya Music keyboardist and musical director Manuel Obregon and contemporary calypso legend Manuel Monestel. Sunday night's highlights include a concert celebrating the release of Papaya Music Records' new "Calypso Limon Legends" CD, which features Junior and 4 other south Carribean music veterans in a fusion of Calypso and jazz. Later that evening we'll all take the stage together for the Puerto Sunsplash jam that will be the finale of a very full weekend of great music. For more details on the festival and artists, check out: http://www.arteviva-puertoviejo.com and http://www.papayamusic.com.
 

Summer News from La Playa

 
PERFORMANCE UPDATE Like much of our transition from our busy life in the USA to the slower, but surprise laden pura vida of the sub-equatorial tropics, returning to life as a performing musician has been somewhat of a whirlwind experience since I took out my guitar in public for the first time here a few short months ago. One of our first ventures out into the local music scene here was to attend an annual 3 weekend music festival back in March that's held just down the road from us. I was eager to check out more of the region's music, but I actually ended up sitting in for most of the second set of one of the concerts with one of the latin jazz bands at that festival, Plan B, when their guitarist wasn't able to make the gig. That turned out to be the kickoff of a great season of playing for me. Since mid-April, music has been keeping me very busy - so much so that I'm very much enjoying a break this week from the intensity of my playing schedule the last 6 weeks, cutting back to 3 nights instead of 4 or 5. No, I'm no longer on "permanent vacation." The opportunity came along for me to plug into the local music scene, and suddenly I was playing 4 - 5 nights a week here at 3 or 4 different venues for 2 solid months. Puerto Viejo offers a unique opportunity for a musician like me who is comfortable and reasonably competent playing in a variety of styles and genres. Being the primary ecotourism destination on this coast, the town gets a regular flow of travelers from North America and Europe coming through, so there is almost always a good share of new listeners in the audience, many of whom are interested in the local culture as well as some contact with their own usual musical leanings. Another plus about my main performance venue here, El Loco Natural, which is our favorite eating and drinking spot, is its emphasis on natural foods and a very comfortable atmosphere for both listening and just relaxing and hanging out with friends, which has made it a popular local ex-pat hangout as well. I now play at the Loco 2-3 nights a week, with each night offering a different musical combination and flavor. So currently, if you should come to Puerto soon, you'll find me playing a variety of styles ranging from the local Calypso, reggae rock, Latin pop and Bossa, to straight ahead jazz, blues, funk, and even some hiphop, along with my originals and jazzed up acoustic instrumental arrangements of a growing repertoire of my favorite cover tunes. On Thursdays I'm the lead guitarist with a semi-traditional Limonese Calypso group led by Junior Alvarez, a 62 year old AfriCaribean guitarist/vocalist from Nicaragua who also played bass for a few years in Jamaica with a lot of big names in the reggae world. The Bluefields style Calypso that we do is great fun music for dancing and a lot of fun to play. Then on Saturdays the Loco house band, the Playa Negra Social Club, does a repertoire that includes some of my songs, some newer tunes by Michael Franti I've brought in, along with new arrangements we've put together of old blues, R & B and rock covers from the 60's and 70's - everything from the Beatles to Hendrix, and of course, a dose of Santana and Bob Marley, along with some original reggae stuff the other 2 guys have been doing here for years. The core group is a trio, with Junior Alvarez on bass and Carter V (house percussionist and venue co-owner) on drums & congas, but we're frequently joined by percussionists Sandro Anderson and Jeff Et, as well as other special guests. And Sundays I've been doing an all acoustic duo or trio with Carter on congas and most recently, young Argentinian guitarist Luciano Gomez - a nice change and a chance to do more jazz and guitar instrumentals - something I've always wanted to get into more. And, oh yeah, I've also been doing some solo nights at another club on Tuesdays on an occasional basis, and a coffeehouse concert night at another cool venue is in the planning stages. RECORDING Something I never anticipated was to so quickly get back into recording again after arriving in this new environment, but like the gigs, opportunities to do just that presented themselves almost immediately as well. In late June I began engineering and playing lead guitar on a recording of Junior Alvarez, who has been an integral part of the regional music scene here for years, and his Calypso band that I sometimes play with here. We've made the recording to demo songs for Papaya Records, a great independent label based in San Jose that has interest in releasing an album of Junior's music. This has been not only a lot of fun, but also pretty exciting for me, since Papaya Music is an outstanding and very artist-oriented label with international distribution (check out their website at papayamusic.com.) Beyond my now ongoing music schedule, since early May I've also been recording and performing with Jasmin, a really talented 25 year old singer from Australia who was in town for just a 6 month stay that just ended this month. It's been great fun working with her though, and a completely unexpected opportunity that has reconnected me with the current reggae scene a bit - much of which is, to my ear, more like hiphop with a Jamaican flavor - as well as some great retro-soul covers ranging from Stevie Wonder to Jill Scott. This got me back into doing some computer based tracks with live guitar and voice - also a lot of fun for me. Jasmin is now back in Australia finishing her degree in environmental science, but plans to return and prepare to record a CD in Jamaica early next year. And finally, now that things have slowed down to a more manageable level in the performance schedule, my next recording project is going to be an all-or-mostly acoustic collection of originals, culling from my newer material along with some favorites that didn't make it onto the dotcombo CD. I'll start posting tracks here on the website as they are completed, along with some previously unreleased older tracks I discovered in my archive collections during the digital transfer I completed during the move preparation. I'll let you know when that happens. 'Til then . . .
 

NW Folklife Festival & Madison's Shows on Saturday 5/28

 
Elisa is coming into town this weekend from her current home in Ashland, OR, to join us for two shows on Saturday. The dotcombo plays an acoustic set at the NW Folklife Festival at 1:00 p.m. on the Fisher Green Stage. Then later that very evening at 8:30 p.m., the full band returns to the birthplace of our collective performance career for a full evening show at Madison's! (Yes, in case you haven't heard, the singer-songwriter haven of the 90's has reopened, newly remodeled with a full menu and beverage selection, and is once again presenting live music in a very comfortable smoke-free environment.) We are excited to be back to celebrate with 2 sets of tunes for you. And special guest trombonist extraordinaire Marc Smason will join us for the last half of the evening to help kick out the jams that night! Come celebrate with us!
 

Songs of Resistance Concert This Weekend

 
On Saturday May 14, I'll be performing at an exciting show that's part of a larger event that's happening all weekend: the Art of Resistance Conference. The conference is in a great and much more accessible venue this year, the Capitol Hill Arts Center. On Saturday night, I'll be hosting an evening of music and spoken word in the Center's theater featuring some of the NW's finest artists, along with a couple of very special guests. Celebrated actor and speaker Ed Asner will be appearing to speak on artists and activism. I'll be playing a solo set, joined by several of Seattle's finest social/political songwriters, including the great Jim Page and Heliotrope bard Danny Kelly. There will be Islamic hiphop by Sons of Hagar, acoustic soul and spoken word by Forgotten Sol's amazing Cristina Orbe, folk noire and art rock by the always enthralling Grace and Savage, and original music by composer/songwriter/filmmaker Michael Bade and revered slide guitarist Joel Tepp, who has recorded and performed with Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Garcia, Little Feat, Danny O’Keefe, Spencer Davis, Linda Ronstadt, and Ian Matthews. Hope you'll join us for what promises to be a very memorable evening. See the Calendar page for the details. And be sure to check out the rest of the conference, which will feature exhibits offering a diverse selection of political art, other arts performances, and a variety of workshops on art making and art as activism.
 

Earthday Update plus new free mp3s from the Jim Vick Archives

 
With Spring already in full bloom in the Northwest, we're celebrating Earth Day (April 22) this month with the release of 3 of my environmentally-focused songs that have long been at rest in the JV Archives. You can hear and download these tracks for free on the Listen page. One of these songs, RADIANT WATER, appeared on my first album, IN THE GARDEN, but the other 2, LIVING LIGHTLY and JUNGLE COMING DOWN, are being released here for the very first time. (Scroll down to the bottom of the Listen page to find all 3 of these tracks.) With King George pushing for the drilling of the Artic Wildlife Refuge and with the Peak Oil story being published in mainstream zines like Rolling Stone, it's the least I can do to revive a suggestion from one of these tracks from the 80's: "If we're to see ourselves through this plight, we must live lightly!" I'll be hosting and performing at Seattle Thunder's Earth Day Celebration on Saturday April 23 in south Seattle, joined by masterful singer-songwriters Reggie Garrett and Sheryl Wiser. You'll find more details are on the Calendar page and at www.seattlethunder.net.
 

The New Website

 
The new year is already a busy one for me, with several shows coming up in February and March. The first one on the horizon is a benefit concert for Tsunami Relief on February 6th that I've helped stellar singer-songwriter Kathryn Mostow put together. It will feature 15 performing songwriters, including some of the Northwest's finest. (More details on the Calendar page.) I'm also hosting the January 22 Seattle Thunder Democracy Festival, as well as our monthly Thunder Music in Fremont Series, held the first Saturday of the month through May at Essential Chocolate Factory's community living room. Those shows feature incredible acts every month, including the best of Seattle's contemporary acoustic music, along with occasional jazz, hiphop, rock, and world music. Check out the Links page to visit the Seattle Thunder site for more details on the series and our upcoming Thunder Music shows. The Calendar page has info on my own March 5th Thunder Music show. You can also check out that page for details on all our upcoming performances. And the Listen page for mp3s of several tracks from our new CD, plus a free downloadable mp3 of "Freedom Fries," our most recent recording, which wasn't recorded in time to be on the album. Coming soon will be some long lost cuts from my older recordings and some new stuff that's not available anywhere else. And of course, the Photos page has shots from our album shoot, with more coming soon from our CD release concert last October. One last thing before you go: please DO join the mailing list so we can keep you informed on our upcoming adventures and whereabouts and let you know when there's new music available for listening on the site. Hope you enjoy your visit. (And let us know your thoughts!) Peace, Jim