I got to see Poncho Sanchez for free last week at Hollywood and Highland. He played an amazing two hour set, that helped to remind me that I need to see more live jazz. Having worked at The Blue Note and SOB’s in New York, I got to see some of the biggest names in jazz and Latin jazz five nights a week for a few years. As soon as the set started I was transported back, but without the white starched shirt and blue suspenders.

Somehow, I don’t know if I am actually becoming a Jedi, but everyone but me was asked to move. It was almost like the security guard could not see me, although I smiled at him each time we’d make eye contact. He never smiled back, his eyes moved right over me. “These are not your droids.”

The groove was infectious, and before the sun started to set people were dancing in the aisles.

I put my camera away and let my feet have some fun. Starting with jazz, then into the blues, and finally into salsa, that has my shoulders moving even as I type about it. The music had turned all these strangers into my friends and we danced into the night.

Thanks to KJAZZ 88.1 and Poncho for reminding me of the songs my soul and my soles want to hear, and thanks to the security guard for just letting me be.

Earlier in the week I go the pleasure of seeing one of my all time favorite metal/hard rock/categorically challenged bands; The Deftones. Warming up their troops or what is sure to be a brutal, yet welcome, assault in the near future, The Deftones played to an entranced crowd at Warner Brothers Records in Burbank.

The first time I got to see these guys, back in ’96, I was an instant lifelong fan. They were opening for White Zombie and Pantera, and although Zombie and Pantera had inflatables and gnarly pyrotechnics, The Deftones were all about it. Passion, enthusiasm, youth, and what was destined to become one of the best albums to drive fast to, “Around the Fur.” I still have a copy of it in my car to this day. Only problem is, it’s so vicious that it makes me really mad and really horny, but I can handle it, after all, I am Jedi.

Anyway, much like crack, this dudes voice had me listening to back to back Deftones albums for a week.

Their drummer and lead guitar players killed, Chino destroyed, the weird noise guy/DJ made weird noises and DJ-ed and guess what the bass player from Quicksand got another gig, and he murdered it. I can’t wait for the tour dates to be announced.

Other than that I’ve been getting my “Hogwarts” on, meditating daily, and really feeling the benefits. This week I hit four months without cigarettes and I’m proud of myself. In other pride inducing news, I got a few more pieces published:

REVOK and SABER for Juxtapoz

Stevie Williams first shoe for ESPN

Lil’ Wayne Quit’s Hip-Hop to Skate for ESPN

Vans x Skateboarder Magazine for ESPN

That last one was the coolest one for me personally, as I had some residual feelings from leaving my five year stint at Vans. One of the benefits of meditation, and sobriety, is that these left over feelings have dissipated and I can approach the whole situation with a lot more compassion. Not bragging, but times like this are when I know shit’s changing, and I can be sure that I have truly put my sword down.