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 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!
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:
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!
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'!
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!
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!
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.)
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.