1. Saturday, June 21: Bett & Joël @ Noche Azul

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    Every summer for the last several years, we’ve holed up in the studio to work on new music. Joël is now halfway through tracking his second album in the Mandala Meditation Series, and I’m working on American Sampler, Volume II and a score of new original songs. This Saturday, we take a break from recording to join our good friend Azul Barrientos in Noche Azul: Entre Boleros y Tangos, an exploration of romantic song forms with music, multi-media, and dance. Also featured is Nina Rodriguez on percussion.

    Noche Azul: Entre Boleros y Tangos
    Saturday, June 21, 8 pm
    Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

    922 San Pedro Ave (off West Evergreen)
    San Antonio TX 78212

    210.228.0201
    $5 suggested donation

  2. Sunday, June 22: Up from the Ashes

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    On Memorial Day, poet Eduardo C. Garza woke to find his West Side house in flames. He saved many of his notebooks, sketchbooks, and paintings but lost countless cherished possessions: his piano, his father’s drum set, a collection of rare indigenous flutes—and his home.

    A multi-disciplined artist and performer, Garza is widely known as a mainstay in the San Antonio Jazz Poets. Friends and fellow artists are gathering at Urban 15 for a benefit concert Sunday, June 22, to raise emergency funds. Music, poetry, and performance will fill five hours, with food and drink available for purchase. Autographed books donated by poets and writers Rosemary Catacalos, John Phillip Santos, Sheila Black, and Eduardo C. Garza will be available for purchase.

    Join us for an unforgettable afternoon to help one of San Antonio ‘s unique voices.

    Up from the Ashes: Benefit Concert for Eduardo C. Garza
    Saturday, June 22, 3-8 pm
    URBAN-15 Studio
    2500 S. Presa, San Antonio TX 78210

    www.urban15.org
    210.736.1500

    $20 suggested donation

    3:00 – 3:15         Opening Blessing by Issac Cardenas
    3:15 – 3:45         Juan Tejeda and Armando Tejeda
    3:45 – 4:00         Camen Tafolla
    4:00 – 4:20         Bryce Milligan
    4:20 – 4:35         Sheila Black
    4:35 – 4:45         Luz Zamora
    4:45 – 5:00         Andrea Sanderson 
    5:00 – 5:30         George & Aaron Prado/Ken Slavin
    5:30 – 5:45         URBAN-15 
    5:45 – 6:00         Bett Butler
    6:00 – 6:10         Anthony the Poet
    6:10 - 6:25         Jazz Poets
    6:25 - 6:40         Laurie Ann Guerrero
    6:40 – 7:00         Mari Barrera
    7:00 – 7:10         Andrea Greimel
    7:10 – 7:30         Laughing Gravy
    7:30 – 8:00         I Ching Gatos

  3. Sunday, May 11: Bett & Joël @ the Witte for Mother’s Day

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    KRTU 91.7 fm and Gunn Auto present Sunday Jazz at the Witte in the museum’s South Texas Heritage Amphitheatre. Join us for hot and cool original music plus beloved standards from the Great American Songbook. Bring a blanket or lawn chair; refreshments will be available for purchase. We’ll celebrate mothers—and the creative spark in all of us—with Nina Rodriguez on percussion and Kevin Hess on drums. KRTU hosts/musicians Katchie Cartwright and Joan Carroll and pianist Dorrie Woodson (last year’s honoree) will be on hand to present the 3rd annual Mary Parchman Award for Jazz Excellence to guitarist Polly Harrison. We hope you will join us!

    Sunday, May 11, 3-6 pm
    Jazz at the Witte: Mother’s Day
    with the Bett Butler/Joël Dilley Ensemble

    featuring Nina Rodriguez & Kevin Hess
    The Witte Museum, South Texas Heritage Amphitheatre
    3801 Broadway St  San Antonio, TX 78209
    210.357.1900
    Free for museum & KRTU members; others pay museum admission $7-$10

    photo by ellenm1

  4. This Year’s Mary Parchman Award for Jazz Excellence Goes To….

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    Polly Harrison

    Ask any die-hard aficionado about the San Antonio jazz scene, and you’re likely to hear about the Small World jam session, a rite of passage for both amateur and professional musicians for over three decades. Delve a little further, and you’re likely to hear about Polly Harrison, the guitarist who co-anchors those sessions with drummer Kyle Keener.

    Delve further still, and you might come across Polly’s Facebook page, where you’ll read fan comments like “wonderful…. magnificent…. one of the finest…. understated brilliance…. very best jazz guitarist ever.”

    Scroll down the page, and you’ll read her response to all the accolades, all-too-typical of Polly: “Aw shucks! Thanks y’all.”

    Polly Harrison is this year’s winner of the Mary Parchman Award for Jazz Excellence. In a career spanning four decades, she has inspired fellow musicians and audiences alike with her tasteful playing, her dedication, and her professionalism.

    Polly first began her professional musical career with Small World, originally a B-3 organ trio with drummer Kyle Keener and organist Mark Marty. The group evolved into a duo with Kyle on drums and vocals and Polly on guitar, bass pedals, and vocal harmony, playing long-term engagements and jam sessions at My Place Restaurant and La Mansion del Norte hotel. Along the way, they performed with legendary tenor saxophonist Clifford “Honky Tonk” Scott; saxophonist Marshall Royal, who played with Count Basie & Duke Ellington; trombonist Carl FontanaBill Comstock of the Four Freshmen; guitarists Gene Bertoncini, John Pizzarelli and his legendary dad Bucky, who inspired Polly to take up the 7-string guitar; and Herb Ellis. With a reputation as solid accompanists, they later hosted concerts at the Boardwalk Bistro with Pizzarelli, Bertoncini, Benny Goodman guitarist Cal Collins, and Los Tres Reyes guitarist Gilberto Puente.

    The list of nationally-known musicians Polly has accompanied is long and varied: vocalist Dave Tull; saxophonist Richie Cole & his Alto Madness Orchestra; the Four Preps; the Platters; the Sentimental Journey Orchestra; bassist Kristin Corb; Basie drummer Butch Miles; pianist/singer Bob Dorough, songwriter of the “Schoolhouse Rock” series; and trombonist/vocalist Bill Watrous.

    Small World has performed regularly at area jazz festivals and across the country at conventions of the International Association for Jazz Education. Their catalog of recordings includes Noël, with arrangements by Polly; Seasons of the Heart; a collection of Brazilian music; and a Christmas CD with the Four Freshmen.

    You can check out Polly’s tasteful chordal melody solos and sensitive accompaniment at the Small World jam session, still going strong every Monday night, 7:30- 10:30 pm, at the Olmos Bharmacy. You’ll find musicians of all ages and skill levels catching up with other players, scouting new talent, and honing their chops on tunes both familiar and obscure. Polly’s spouse, fiddler/mandolinist Hank Harrison publishes a weekly email play-by-play of the jam session, complete with photos. Email him at hankharrison[at]gmail.com if you’d like to receive it in your inbox.

    Presenting the Mary Parchman award to Polly at our Jazz at the Witte Mother’s Day concert (Saturday, May 11, 3-6 pm) will be KRTU radio hosts and musicians Joan Carroll and Katchie Cartwright, and last year’s winner, pianist/vocalist Dorrie Woodson. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate the contributions of women in jazz!

  5. Saturday, April 26: Bett & Joël @ the King William Fair

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    The San Antonio Current calls the King William Fair the “Best Family-Friendly Fiesta Event,” starting with the delightfully camp and funky parade at 9 am. At 2:15 pm, Austin drummer Mike Koenning will join us on the gazebo stage, where the all-day lineup features Small World, Tennessee Valley Authority, the Regency Jazz Band, Katchie Cartwright & Le Monde Cache, and the Henry Brun Quartet. Join us for music, arts, eats, and non-stop entertainment among the Victorian mansions, charming cottages, and gracious gardens of Texas’ oldest historic district. Proceeds support historic preservation, art programs, and scholarships for inner-city students.

    Saturday, April 26, 2:15-3:15 pm
    Bett & Joël @ the King William Fair

    King William Park (King William at Turner & Pancoast)
    Fair admission: $10 (children 15 & under free)
    For complete info, including parking & transportation, visit http://kwfair.org/

  6. Remembering Jeremy

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    One of the joys of music is the extraordinary people it brings into our lives.

    Jeremy Waggoner was typical of many young men in their twenties. Intelligent, passionate, and angered by injustice, he had a great sense of humor and loved sports. He wore dreadlocks, sported several tattoos, and enjoyed going to hear live music. A poet, songwriter and musician, he had a Facebook page and a band page on MySpace. He loved rap and reggae, jazz and blues, Patron tequila and India Pale Ale.

    imageWayne, Ian, Della, & Jeremy Waggoner with Ziggy Marley

    What was not so typical was the fact that Jeremy lived with a form of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a term referring to a group of relatively common “rare” congenital diseases of the motor neurons (one in 6000 babies are affected) causing progressive muscle weakness and atrophy.The doctors told the Waggoners that their son wouldn’t live beyond the age of two.

    "I am human just like you,
    I contribute from
    Different point of view.
    I’ve got wheels, you have feet
    They both do the same,
    They make life sweet.”~from “Equal Humanity” by Jeremy Waggoner

    We first met Jeremy and his remarkable family—father Wayne, mom Della, and brother Ian—at the Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi. Keeping in touch over the years, we watched their relentless activism fighting bureaucracy and apathy to ensure that Jeremy enjoyed the best quality of life possible. They also worked constantly to raise awareness of the issues facing families struggling with chronic disease. Jeremy’s band Yesterday’s Fish frequently performing for fundraisers benefitting support organizations like Families of SMA.

    "He lives his life
    Like a small pen knife,
    Sharpening those around
    To keep up the fight.”~from “The Pain Within” by Jeremy Waggoner

    One of our fondest memories is of the night Jeremy sat in with us at Casbeers at the Church in May, 2010. He played slide guitar as we all played his original song “Nick-Knack Blues,” and violinist Jonathan Raveneau performed a rap version of Jeremy’s song “Monday Morning Feeling.” For all who were there, it was a magical night.

    imageJeremy at Casbeers

    Early in the morning of this last January 30th, less than a week short of his 29th birthday, Jeremy passed away peacefully in his sleep. “Although it happened suddenly,” his father Wayne wrote, “it was not unexpected. He just ran out of energy. He was still writing, playing music and enjoying life right up till the end, despite all his pain.” 

    Throughout his lifetime, in the wake of severe physical challenges, frequent surgeries and procedures, and unrelenting pain, Jeremy managed to inspire all who came in contact with him. “He was the strongest little man I have ever known,” said his mother Della. “There was no self-pity or anger as to ‘Why Me?’  He simply accepted who he was….He suffered great physical pain, yet he did not complain.”

    "I’ve got some advice
    To give to you
    No matter what happens
    Don’t let it give you the blues
    Live your live to the fullest
    Each and every day
    Go out and have some fun
    Along the way”~from “Nick-Knack Blues” by Jeremy Waggoner

    Jeremy’s unique voice is still with us in Walk in My Shoes, a poetry collection he authored along with bandmate Jaydon Williams. His father will send a copy to anyone who wants, especially if they’d be willing to donate to www.curesma.org. (Click on the “donate” button at top right. Under “Honor or Memorial Information,” fill in Jeremy Waggoner. Where it calls for family information, fill in Wayne & Fidela Waggoner, 1321 Billington Lane, Roseville Ca 95747. If you’d like a copy of Walk In My Shoes, you can email Jeremy’s father Wayne Waggoner at way_wag[at]msn.com.)

    We are blessed and grateful to have known Jeremy and  his family. They continue to teach us about love and family, and they inspire us to work for a more just and compassionate system to support families dealing with chronic illness and other challenges.

    "As you probably know
    This song is about me
    I wrote it for the thousands
    That have this disease
    Let me give you some advice
    Listen to your heart ‘cause if you Do
    You’ll never fall apart
    I’ve got one more thing to say
    Before I go I’m 23 years of age
    Going on 24
    I wake up every morning
    With a smile on my face
    Everyone that helps me
    I really appreciate
    I love my life
    Each and every day
    I’ll love it until the end
    Until my dues are paid
    This is My Monday Feeling and
    This is how you beat SMA”~from “My Monday Feeling” by Jeremy Waggoner

  7. Catching up….

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    Billie & Mingus in the Studio

    It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch; thanks for your patience, and thanks to all of you who emailed to see what we’re up to.

    We’ve been cloistered in the studio for this first quarter, working with wonderful clients and new projects, and it’s been a thrilling and creative time. In the works are a followup album to Joël’s Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands (which we’ve just learned is a nominee in the New Age category in this year’s Independent Music Awards! Read more here); another collection of modern interpretations of the Great American Songbook, to follow up the award-winning American Sampler; and new explorations in original songwriting, composition, and sound design. Joël continues to produce music licensed widely for film, television, web, and ambient settings. (If you need music for a website, a fine arts production, or commercial purposes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us; you may be surprised at how affordable it can be.) 

    We recently finished collaborating once again with filmmaker Guillermina Zabala. Read about it here.

    We’re back performing again, starting this weekend with a showcase at South by Southwest. See details here

    We’ve also welcomed two new additions to the Mandala Music Production family: puppies! Sibling boxers Billie (as in Holiday) and Mingus (as in Charles) arrived all the way from Wisconsin in January and have brought great joy and laughter to home and studio. They’re in training now, and the process of shaping their behavior (and ours) in positive ways is keeping us on our toes. They’re enjoying meeting many of our studio clients and are doing well in puppy class.

    As always, thank you for keeping in touch with us and for supporting our work and music. We wish you love, joy, health, happiness, and beautiful music!

    Peace & best wishes,

    Bett & Joël

  8. Friday, March 14: Poet Laureate Short Film Project Screening

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    We recently collaborated with filmmaker Guillermina Zabala and actress/musician Azul Barrientos on music for another short film (see Joël’s prior Artist Foundation-funded collaboration with Zabala here). Supported by the Department for Culture and Creative Development (DCCD) and Three Chord Media, seven area filmmakers produced short films based on poetry by San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla. Join us for a celebration of poetry, film, and music. A reception will follow.

    Filmmakers - Poems
    Ray Santisteban - “The Storykeeper”
    Daniela Riojas - “Warning”
    Guillermina Zabala - “Yanaguana Woman”
    Ya’Ke Smith - “Marked”
    Erik Bosse - “Feeding You”
    Joey Fauerso - “Rattlesnakes”
    Jim Mendiola - “Aqui”

    Poet Laureate Short Film Project Screening
    Friday, March 14, 2014, 6:30 pm
    Say Sí, 1518 S Alamo, San Antonio TX
    Free and Open to the Public

  9. Saturday, March 15: Bett Butler/Joël Dilley Group @ SxSW

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    We’re honored to be chosen once again for a showcase at South by Southwest in our favorite Austin venue, the Elephant Room. Joining us will be premiere Austin drummer Mike Koenning and percussionist Nina Rodriquez. The evening ends with a performance by Stanley Jordan; see the full schedule here.

    Bett Butler/Joël Dilley Group @ SxSW
    Saturday, March 15, 8 pm
    The Elephant Room, 315 Congress Av, Austin, TX 78701
    Admission with SxSW wristband
    www.sxsw.com

  10. MANDALA MEDITATION SERIES: LULLABY OF THE FLATLANDS Nominated in the Independent Music Awards!

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    We’re delighted and honored to learn that Joël’s latest CD has been nominated in the New Age category of the 13th annual Independent Music Awards. 

    Voting is now open through July in the Vox Populi/People’s Choice portion of the contest. We’d greatly appreciate your vote for us here. Just scroll down to Joël’s entry and click on “Login or Register to Vote” on the right. (You’ll have to register, but they won’t spam you.)

    You can preview Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands on iTunes here. CDs can be ordered directly from our online store at www.dragonladyrecords.com. You can also check out music videos from the album at http://www.youtube.com/MandalaMeditation.

    Thanks for your support!

  11. Thursday, October 24: Chicks Dig Jazz @ Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe

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    A note from Bett:

    Carmen’s de la Calle owner Paula Sullivan poses to us the question, “What do chicks dig about jazz?”

    The answer is manifold: the opportunity to engage with skilled players in a musical conversation; the challenge of instant composition over a harmonic form; the satisfaction of supporting others with a strong musical underpinning as they solo; the joy of melodic flight; in short, the adrenaline rush of the risk, as saxophonist/composer Steve Lacy describes it: “Risk is at the heart of jazz. Every note we play is a risk.”

    This will be our last scheduled public performance together in San Antonio for the rest of this year, as Joël and I embark on some very exciting projects which will keep us holed up in the studio, along with performances out of town. We’ll also be saying farewell to the stellar performance venue Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe, which will close its doors at the end of the year. Owner Paula Sullivan has been instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing nationally-acclaimed jazz to the local audience, and we wish her well as she embarks on her next venture, which is bound to be exciting. Stay tuned….

    (If you missed hearing drummer Kevin Hess trade solos with percussionist Nina Rodriguez in our set at the Texas Jazz Festival last weekend, here’s your chance.)

    Chicks Dig Jazz
    featuring Bett Butler, Nina Rodriguez, Joël Dilley, Kevin Hess
    Thursday, October 24, 8:30 pm
    Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe
    720 E Mistletoe Ave
    San Antonio, TX 78212
    210.737.8272
    $10 at the door

  12. "I caught the happy virus last night
    When I was out singing beneath the stars.
    It is remarkably contagious
    So kiss me.”
                   ~Hāfez

  13. The night is generous
    it can give you
    a gift of the full moon
    it can bless your soul
    with endless treasure
                   ~ Rumi, Ghazal 947 (translated by Nader Khalili)

  14. "Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river."~Jorge Luis Borges

  15. "Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." ~Khalil Gibran