Here at the Maricopa Cabana, Hoppin' John is one of the ways we celebrate the beginning of a New Year. Traditionally served with cornbread and greens (collard greens, mustard greens, chard, kale or cabbage), the main ingredients in this delicious winter dish are black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, country bacon (ham hock or fatback), green peppers and spices. Sassy always adds a little Arizona Gunslinger for an extra kick. Enjoy Hoppin' John on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
Be sure to eat your fill: the peas represent coins, the greens are cash, and the cornbread, gold!
It's been a busy week, traveling to LA and back for 5 concerts, a radio interview, recording session and master class, but the highlight was playing Jazz Santa Claus to the most musically enthusiastic Girl Scout troop in Arizona. Appearance fee: 2 boxes of Thin Mints. Sassy gets 10% commission for booking the gig.
I'm back from my adventures and it's time for a trip to Higley Hotdog, y'all. How can I express the profundity of my loyalty to this joint? Higley is, for me, what Barney's Beanery was for Columbo, and what the Sand Castle was for Rockford.
Don't think. Just listen and react. Don't play licks and patterns. Create melodies. Let the horn sing, and play from the heart.
ACTUAL thoughts while improvising:
Here comes the turnaround...classic Brownie riff goes here...nope, this tempo's all wrong. Bop scale! Cleverly ironic Daft Punk quote! Ooh, that was hip. Nobody caught it, of course. Now C-sharp diminished up the...Fail! Awww. Nick Payton wouldn't have missed that high note. Third valve is sticky...uh...where does the bridge go again? No idea. Blues lick! What the hell is happening? I wish the bass player would play the damn roots. Sloan Sabbith. Sloan Sabbith. Sloan Sabbith. Two, five, wonder what's for lunch? Hey now, that was kinda awesome. Sloan Sabbith. Oops, lost the form.