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Semi-OT: Truly professional musicians in SF


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My wife and I just returned from a nine-day trip to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. (Thanks for the food recommendations!) We lucked up on some cool music--Berlin with Terri Nunn on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, a big band concert in Union Square, a dixieland band in a dive bar on Powell, and a lounge trio in the Tonga Room of the Fairmont Hotel.


The trio is called The Island Groove and is anchored by Dean Revelo on drums and vocals and C.J. Simbre on keys and vocals. I didn't get to meet the guitarist. What struck me about these guys was how completely appropriate and professional they were in the lounge setting. They played the right combination of songs at the right volume, and covered all the parts with the help of a little creative sequencing. Each band member sang and their voices blended well together. C.J. played a Motif and Roland XP-80 which sounded just fine out in the audience. He had great brass voicings and used idiomatic articulations in the bass parts which really gave the band a big and natural sound.


After their last set I went to meet them. Really nice gentlemen. C.J. is relatively new to the ensemble, but Dean has played the Tonga room five nights a week for 13 of the last 16 years. My jaw hit the floor. I had no idea that a long-term house gig like that still existed. But it's not enough to just get the gig--you have to keep the gig. My hat is off to Dean and C.J. for having the musical and political chops necessary to turn a lounge gig into a career.


I've invited C.J. to the forum and I hope he joins. He's a talented cat and he'd be a great addition to the group.


Thanks, guys, for a memorable night.



9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it



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I did a house gig on and off for 5 of the last 8 years 6 or 7 nights a week. Three things strike me.


You get your sound perfect


You get tight


Last but not least, You don't have to move any gear!


Sounds like you came across a great group on your trip! In Tenerife, where I lived and worked I knew a handful of long term groups that sound similar to these guys and I know what you mean, its a pleasure to listen to something that tasteful and polished; its relaxing to know your in good hands for the night. When a group is this smooth I can finally take off my critic hat and enjoy the music like all the other punters and that's awesome!


I hope this C.J. dude joins up!

We are all slave's to our brain chemistry!


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I've always heard good things about band at the Tonga Room. Unfortunately, it's just too much of a tourist spot for a local like me to be found dead or alive. But spots like that are some of the best-paying gigs in town.


Sounds like you were at the Goldust, which is a classic SF spot (for both tourist and local) and one of the longest-running gigs in the city.


Sorry about the weather. That's what you get for coming here in August!

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64


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