Live at Baked Potato
A note from guitarist Keith Howland: As the current guitarist with the band Chicago, I've always had a healthy respect for all of the previous guitarists with the band. Donnie Dacus, Dawayne Bailey and Chris Pinnick are all inspiring musicians in their own inimitable ways and of course the late great Terry Kath was one the best guitarists to ever grace the planet. During the early part of 2003 I was introduced to guitarist Chris Pinnick through our common guitar technician Hank Steiger. Chris and I became fast friends and decided to put an instrumental guitar record together along with drummer Matt Laug and bassist Lance Morrison. We called the project 'Howland, Laug, Morrison & Pinnick' (still available right here at CDBaby by the way) and released it in the summer of 2003. It was great to work with Chris as I have always admired his fiery playing style and diverse abilities. Well, fast forward to November of 2003 when I had booked a gig with my other band 'The Howland/Imboden Project' at the world famous jazz club 'The Baked Potato'. While on the phone with Justin Randi who books the club, I asked if there were any dates coming up that the HLMP band could use as our debut live performance. Well, it just so happened that the night following the Howland/Imboden Project was open so I snapped it up. Any opportunity to not have to tear down your equipment is a good enough excuse to take a gig for me! As we began discussing the live show, one issue that came up in conversation was what to do about recreating the brilliant keyboard work done by Jeff Babko on the record. Jeff unfortunately for us and fortunately for him is the keyboardist in the house band for the Jimmy Kimmel show which airs live at about 9pm Pacific time. As it turns out, while he couldn't make the first set, he was cool with coming down for the second set so we were set. (Can I say 'set' again please?) The gig arrived and our first set was good, not great, but good. We had one rehearsal a week prior and were kind of finding our way as we went along. We took a break, I had a beer, and Babko showed up at which time the dynamic changed dramatically. What you hear on the live CD is the entire second set book ended by Snonga and Swingset Assembly from the first set. It's as it happened and it was pretty happening! Pinnick has always been a guy who I've found to have that extra gear when it comes to live playing and Jeff Babko was just superb. Lance and Matt really played their posteriors off and supported the soloists beautifully. I observed, recorded, applauded, and oh yeah, I played guitar as well, I almost forgot. There's a great energy happening on this CD and I hope you will feel it too!