Hi Friends, I just pulled in from an epic trip to Japan. Super long flight with insane time difference—I was fading by midday and alert and ready to rock at 3AM. It’s only when I got back on Friday night that my sleep pattern realigned to the base station. If sleep wasn’t the highlight it was the music and the enthusiasm of the Japanese folks that really touched me. We had some great nights of music and I can’t wait to return. Check out the photos and the mini stories below.

The morning before I got on the plane we had a classic family breakfast at Honey's in Encinitas. It was all aligning perfectly, walking from the car we ran into an old Del Mar friend who was playing guitar on the sidewalk and he treated us to a first rate version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Next, killer food including the ACAI bowl—bliss frozen in purple! And then the great vibe of (left to right) Nikki, (one of Kylie's best friends), Kylie and Stefanie. What a gift to have such a wonderful crew to call home.

Soundcheck at the Blue Note with Terryon the drummer and one of the perfect Blue Note staffers. Terryon was assembling his kit and this fellow was fine-tuning Terryon's tuning.

Getting warmed up and that's Dianne on the left and Chris Thomas on bass on the right. We played two shows a night and covered a lot of sonic territory. Super fun!

I ended up hanging out at some of the other jazz spots in Tokyo and meeting some fantastic musos. This photo was taken after we had a cool set at the Body and Soul club. From left to right, harmonica player Joe Powers, guitarist Yukihiro Atsumi, guitarist Onuma Yosuke, me, drummer Tommy Campbell and pianist George Nagata.

Joe on the left plays chromatic harmonica and rips. On the right is Yosuke and he's super famous in Japan in the jazz world. He tours all over the country and does T.V. shows and big time records. I love his playing and the warmth of his personality shines through to his music. He surfs too and both of us have a lot in common.

This gig had a neat moment. When we started playing my tune "Words and Music" the audience did that thing where they clap 'cuz the know the song. Somehow the tune has racked up some mileage in Japan. How'd that happen? Not complaining!

The Organic House was close to our hotel and this place saved the day. I'm a vegetarian and if you look at the menus of most of the restaurants over there, not only is it hard for me to understand the language, the photos of the food are from a different planet too. I was drifting in a food-deprived hallucination and finally came across this place. At this restaurant you could see the food and add it to your plate and then they'd weigh it out and you pay enormous bucks for lettuce and sprouts. I'm thinking the Roxy boys should open up their enterprise in Tokyo and show them what QUANTITY is all about. Hah!

This little retreat was right outside our mega hotel. Picture behemeth cement structure, this bamboo bliss station morphing into endless tall office buildings with restaurants at the bottom floor with weird food pictures. City planning gone mental!

This photo is from the Cafe Alfie the night I sat in with violinist Sayaka on the left and guitarist Ryotaro Shibata on the right. We played a sizzling tempoed "Spain" and had a great ride. Their band plays latin and world music and also included a wonderful piano player. Great time!

On my day off from the gigs with Dianne I met Yosuke, Joe and George for lunch. As you can imagine, the conversation first turned to guitar fingerings, and then

how to jam the blues on harmonica. Magic!

I went surfing in Japan! Yeah, after the lunch with the boys, George borrowed his parents car and we drove an hour and a half out of Tokyo to Chiba to catch an evening sunset surf sesh. You can drive that far and the city still goes on and on. Wow! We arrived right before dark, suited up and surfed some ultra small, windblown mini's and there was actually a crowd out there too. The burr factor kicked in and here I am, the red board and I frozen to the core but super stoked to be in Japan and taking in some salt water.

This was our last night at the Cotton Club in Tokyo. Both the Blue Note and the Cotton Club are amazing venues with supersonic sound and some of the most spirited and talented audiences ever. Dianne would get into these vamp grooves and engage the audience to sing back her scat phrases. They nailed it! Killer rhythm and pitch! We we're bending the rules and they were right there with us. Maybe that's what hearing music 300 days a year at the Blue Note will do for you.

Backstage at the Cotton Club, waiting to go on but making sure the world is still in one piece according to your iPhone. We're a wild breed of humans these days with so much data flowing at any given time. Where's it headed? Peter Martin on the left, Terryon in middle and Chris on the right are Googling that very same question in seek of an answer.

And here's what I'm talking about, info flowing freely, immediate and worldwide. We JUST got done with a concert at the Encinitas Harvest Festival and this photo is already online and circulating. Gotta love it! That's Trippster on the left, Leonard in the middle and me surfing the soundswaves of immediacy just an hour ago.

We’re playing Monday night at the Calypso in the trio style. Hey, schools out, everyone’s given up until the holidays are over, it might be the right time to venture out into the night and take in some live music. Hope to see you there and look below for the fine print.

Later in the week Gunnar and I are teaming up with Nina Francis on vocals to play Friday night at Ki’s in Cardiff. Nina’s a young music student at UCLA and she sings up a storm. It’ll be great.

Vocalist Nina Francis teams up with Gunnar and I at Ki's on Friday night.

On Saturday night Bob Magnusson and I are playing together at Ki’s. We’ll draw upon our years of playing together and attempt to come up with some sonic beauties. Check ‘er out!

That’s it and sending you good wishes for a happy Thanksgiving. 

adios, Peter


Monday November 21, 2011   Peter Sprague Trio  
The Calypso Cafe
576 North Highway 101
Leucadia, CA
Peter Sprague — guitar
Gunnar Biggs — bass
Duncan Moore — drums
  7 PM   Back years ago I played at the Calypso in Leucadia and it was huge fun. Then they had a restriction that no amps could be used. They redone the place and we can plug in. Hurray! We're gearing up the trio to play every other Monday for hopefully a long stint.

Friday November 25, 2011   Peter Sprague
and Nina Francis
Ki's Restaurant
2591 South Highway 101
Cardiff, CA
Peter Sprague — guitar
Nina Francis — vocals
Gunnar Biggs — bass
  8:30 PM   Nina is a great young vocalist and she's studying music at USC. Can't wait!

Saturday November 26, 2011   Peter Sprague
and Bob Magnusson
Ki's Restaurant
2591 South Highway 101
Cardiff, CA
Peter Sprague — guitar
Bob Magnusson — bass
  8:30 PM   Fred's got it all going on including a double neck guitar. Big fun!

Thursday December 1, 2011   Peter Sprague
Plays Solo
The Roxy Restaurant
517 S. Coast Highway 101
Encinitas, CA
Peter Sprague — guitar
  7 PM   The earth has spun another revolution around the sun and to follow in the spirit of change, I've changed my guitar strings. Solo sonic explorations at the world famous Roxy in Encinitas!

Friday December 2, 2011   Peter Sprague
String Consort

Athenaeum Jazz at the Studio
4441 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92116

Peter Sprague — guitar
Bridget Dolkas — violin
Jeanne Skrocki — violin
Pam Jacobsen — viola
Lars Hoefs — cello
Duncan Moore — drums
Bob Magnusson — bass
  8 PM   I've been awarded the CMA Grant for New Jazz Works and I've composed a piece called "Dr. Einstein's Spin". This concert will be the world premiere of the 30 minute piece that tells the sonic story of what I imagine Einstein said "the important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."


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