We are back at Cue Recording Studios and putting together our new Xmas CD. It will have titles like: “Who Doesn’t Like Christmas” and “A Not So Silent Night.” An incredible a capella choir, BRIDGE, is going to provide a layer of sound never before heard on a Chaise Lounge CD. Right now, we are just completing the rhythm tracks. Stay tuned.
Chaise Lounge – A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas
As with its other eight albums, the band on this 2013 Christmas album is the embodiment of playful and seductive jazz, with gorgeous vocals by Marilyn Older. Full of wit and charm, with a martini always within reach, this is the one I have played most often over the past few years. Cool, yet festive, this mix of originals and holiday faves enables you to both enjoy the season while letting your mind wander. Whether you’re trimming the tree or wrapping presents, you find yourself humming and swinging along.
In lesser hands, this would sound annoyingly cute or, worse, self-indulgently retro. Not these fine six folks, with Older effortlessly evoking the classic vocalists of the 1950s and Charlie Barnett leading another four of the most accomplished jazz musicians in the Washington, DC, area. Together, they are sublime. The highlight without a doubt is “Snow Day,” which brings back memories of all those days off from school. But this time around it’s a day for adults in love to spend a day playing outside in the snow without a care in the world. Chaise Lounge has a show, holiday-themed, I think, coming up at Washington’s Blues Alley next week. If you are anywhere near, catch them. I did a couple years back and I still tingle from that performance.
We were leaving our (sold out!) gig in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a couple of days ago and had not eaten for hours. Marilyn floated the notion of stopping for food. It was voted on, ratified, and before we went another three traffic lights, Pete spotted a White Castle. He is from Detroit. Apparently White Castle is a Midwest thing. No one else had ever had a White Castle “slider.” It is worth noting that in 2014 Time magazine voted the White Castle slider the “most influential burger of all time.”
A lot of advice has been written for touring musicians. All the advisors mention eating healthily while on the road. Great idea! We will admit that keeping your energy up is important. Spritzers instead of milkshakes. Carrots instead of french fries. But none of these articles ever seem to mention the joys of geographically specific fast food. When we’re touring, Tommy buys any locally produced spicy beef jerky product. We have all sampled the purple pickled eggs they sell in New Jersey. And we wanted to try the Midwestern meal that had Pete in a nostalgic reverie.
We bought a huge bag of sliders and another equally huge bag of French fries. (In our defense, they did not offer carrots.) We must say, they were delicious—and they gave us the strength to power on.
Playing DC’s Kennedy Center is such a thrill—as is playing with a full orchestra. This weekend, we got to do both, in the newly renovated Terrace Theater—a spectacular space with incredible sound quality. Our teammates for the sold-out show were the Pan American Symphony Orchestra, led by maestro Sergio Busjle. A little tango, a little jazz, and a whole lot of musicians’ heaven.
Christmas is always a bittersweet time of year for us—we get to play the songs off our Christmas album, but usually only once or twice! This year we managed to squeeze in four Christmas shows, including two in new venues: the Little Washington Theatre, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (aka the Rocky museum). Our Philly show had a theme: it was an ugly Christmas sweater party! We did have to do a little shopping for the event, but we are proud to say that our sweaters were among the ugliest on site.
On our New England tour this summer, we took a swing to the north to play the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which sits on the US-Canada border at Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec. What a charming venue! The international border runs right down the middle of it…but we were able to get by without passports, because the historic building is legally considered an island.
On July 9 we played a fun outdoor show on Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. This bandstand is set on a mountaintop that’s privately owned, but always open to people and dogs. The most touching spot in the place was the dog chapel, papered with notes from people to their beloved old dogs. It must be true that all dogs go to heaven.
We’re pleased to see The Lock & the Key at #27 in the national Roots Music Report jazz chart! We’ve heard reports of “sightings” on stations all over the country. If you hear us on your radio please let us know!
We are delighted to announce the release of our eighth album: The Lock & the Key. There are eleven cuts on it: nine originals and two covers. It took just about a year to make, and we are quite proud of it. One of Charlie’s favorite tracks is “The Sweet Ride Home,” for which singer Marilyn Older wrote a lyric about the moments just after a wonderful date. It’s driven by a groove from drummer Tommy Barrick, and the melody is ghosted a fourth down by Joe Jackson’s trombone. Tutti ensemble section in the middle is the full-on Chaise Lounge statement. Another fave: “The Earl.” Sax player Gary Gregg routinely stuns our live audiences with his ultra-melodic solos, and we captured a hot one on this track, named for one of Gary’s saxophone heroes, Earl Bostic. Bass (and tambourine) player Pete Ostle shines on “Mozambique.” We may be especially proud of the last song on the record, “I Grew a Rose,” because we tried to get a very retro Harry Belafonte sound, and we think we hit the nail on the head. In concert, we sometimes use male backing vocals as comic relief, but on this cut we are nothing but sincere. The artwork for the album is by Adriana Cordero.