If you wish to be removed from this list, just ask.

Hope you all survived your New Year's Eve gigs or festivities. Once again a
surprising and disturbing number of musicians did not work on New Year's Eve,
a night which used to be a gimme, professionally speaking. I blame Enron, bin
Laden, paranoia and Dubya, and I don't think it's going to get better. I
myself did work this year, and it was actually ok, although what started out
as a low-bread 4 hour gig turned into a low-bread 7 hour gig. But I'm not
complaining -- I had fun, I was with old friends, it was easy, and we got
fed. Eternal gratitude to Mike Fiorino, Paul Merrar and of course the
fabulous Joe Valentino.

On a Christmas party gig Mike Levin and I were having a conversation about my
philosophy of life, which is one of having realistic expectations, in all
things. I don't expect to get rich or famous, but if it happens I'd be happy.
I don't expect that gigs are going to go perfectly, or that clients or
leaders are going to be rational, but if it happens, I'm happy. I don't
expect that nubile 22-year old women are going to throw themselves at me, but
if it happens -- well, that was the whole point of it, I don't expect any of
it, and since it rarely happens, I'm rarely disappointed.
    Mike thought that Realistic Expectations would be a great name for a
jobbing band. "What are you having at your wedding?" "Realistic
Expectations." Groundbreaking for major shopping mall, featuring Realistic
Expectations. Fundraising rally for Lyndon LaRouche, featuring Realistic
Expectations. Launch party for new product featuring Realistic Expectations.
    We expect business to be so good that we'll have to start a second band,
which we'll name Major Disappointment, featuring the Only Available Guys horn
section. "We couldn't afford Realistic Expectations so we're going with Major
Disappointment." "Cool!"

Bill Dinwiddie sent me the sad news that vocalist extraordinaire and
instructor/coach Ed Ferran passed away this week. I had the privilege of
subbing for Mark Berenger on an Arbors gig, and besides the wonderful
experience of working with 4 of the greatest singers I've ever heard, they
were all great guys and full of funny stories about the jingle biz in Chicago
during its heyday. Chicago loses a major piece of its musical history with
Ed's passing. My sympathies to his family and to all of his colleagues and
students.

Thanks to Ruth Marion Tobias for writing an almost embarassingly nice article
about me for the union paper, the Intermezzo. Honest, people, I didn't pay
anyone off!

This week Steven Hashimoto officially starts the Ramen months at:

SUN. 1/5: at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway, 8-10pm, with poet Marc Smith
and The Pong Unit (Mike Smith, guitar; Dave Flippo, keyboards; Ted Sirota,
drums) for The Uptown Poetry Slam. A tuneup for our upcoming New York gig.

TUES. 1/7: at THE LEOPARD LOUNGE, 1645 W. Cortland, 10pm-1am, with The Steven
Hashimoto Quartet (Dan Hesler, sax; Carter Luke, piano; Heath Chappell,
drums).

FRI. 1/10: at THE BARRINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, (847-)382-1300, 7-9pm, with the
Sueños Latin-Jazz Quartet (Dan Hesler, sax; Ben Lewis, piano; Heath Chappell,
drums). Then later on, as always, at THE GREEN MILL, 4802 N. Broadway,
1:30-3:45am, with The Green Mill Quartet (Barely Winograd, bari sax; Bob
Long, piano; Rick Shandling, drums) for The After-Hours Jam Session.

SAT. 1/11: at THE THORNWOOD BAR & GRILL, 1051 N. Wood Dale Rd., Wood Dale,
9-ish or so, with Souled Out, the 10-piece R&B band.

SUN. 1/12: with Marc Smith and the boyz in New York. Don't be jealous, we're
not making any money. It's a college booking showcase.

Por favor, amigos y amigas, I have all sorts of dates to fill this year,
including most of my Saturdays. Please call me at 708-222-6520 if you need a
bass player, graphic artist, chart writer, wordsmith or dog walker.