Preston’s new band tentatively called “Koo.eex” L to R: Gene Tagaban, Clarissa Rizal, Bernie Worrell, Skerik, Stanton Moore & Preston Singletary

Back in October on a Friday night, out of the blue, I received a text from Preston:  “…will you be a back-up singer in my band?  We will be recording a CD this coming December.”  —   “Huh? Like who does he think I am; a singer?  What makes him think I can sing?  He’s gotta be kidding….” —-  So, I didn’t answer him.  Four days later on the following Monday I got a call from Preston:

“Well hey, Clarissa, uh,…did you get my text?”  —

“Yes.” —

“Uh, well, what do you think? (and like how come you didn’t answer…!?)

“What am I supposed to think?  I do not recall ever indicating that I am a singer to nobody, like what makes you think that I can even sing, much less be a back-up singer in a band that is going to record it’s first CD!?”

“Hahaha.  Hey I remember those songs you sang around the campfire at the end of the two-week work session completing the glass and wood totem pole at Pilchuck…you blew everyone away…!”

“Preston, that doesn’t count…those were dirty songs…!”

“Yeah, well…it’s how you presented them,…it’s the way you sang.  I want that kind of energy in my band…will you join us?”

One of Preston’s bass’

Preston’s first love is music.  Not glass blowing.  How can I tell?  He gets that look in his eyes.  It’s that true musician’s look as if they are in another time and place; smiling inside out.   I grew up with a musician.  I’ve been around musicians.  Some of my best friends are musicians and although some don’t necessarily “make a living” creating music, there’s that “way of being”….So for those of you who think Preston is a hot glass blower and that is his first love, you got it all wrong.  I don’t care if the dude makes thousands on his work and thousands of art collectors have a piece of his work, his true love is music.  Bottom line.  —   But if you must check out Preston’s glass blowing website:

Bernie Worrell on keyboards – check out Bernie Worrell website at:   This guy is no ordinary keyboard player!  He is all over the board!

So Preston gathered together his friends, Gene Tagaban, Skerik and I along with two big name musicians (that at the time I didn’t know were big names), Stanton Moore and Bernie Worrell.  For the past eight years, Preston had imagined putting together a jazz/funk rock fusion band to record a CD.   He saved up money to do so; this December with the help of us buddies, he made his dream come true.  The sound that came out of this band was so fantastic and fun, it blew all of us away!  The music had become so much a part of me in just three short days, I barely slept.  I began to understand why musicians “move to a different drum.”  I began to understand why they stay up late into the wee hours of the morning.  I also understand why some become drug addicts or are alcoholics or at least have a stiff drink before they go to bed.  IT IS HARD TO GO TO SLEEP AFTER FEELING THE MUSIC IN YOUR BONES AND EVERY NERVE OF YOUR BODY!!!     Holy cow!

Gene Tagaban on Native flute, Skerik on sax

Who is that drummer, Stanton Moore?  Gawd, the guy can drum.  Like I thought my friend D.C. Duncan could drum and for the past 20 years I’ve always enjoyed D.C., but man, this Stanton guy is something else!!!  When I got back home after the recording sessions, I saw D.C. and asked him if he knew Stanton Moore.  He said “well, hell yeah, I have bought his CD’s and have made myself a better drummer through his instructions over the years, the dude is goooood!  The guy is THE drummer of all drummers – like he is #2 in the entire world –  Why do you ask?”

Stanton Moore on drums — check out the Stanton Moore Trio on youtube and if you are a drummer or wanna-be-drummer, this is the man to hang with; New Orleans born and bred – check out his website at:

So, we spent three days improvising songs.  A total blast.  These songs were based on traditional Native songs of the Northwest Coast; we started out with the chants, then the band would slide on in and take off!   It was a honor to play with these guys; thanks for the invite, Preston.  I have appreciated every moment in actual time and now in memory!

Preston begins with a traditional tune – notice the child-size Chilkat robe in the background – I’d weave when I wasn’t singing…

Gene Tagaban has definitely made his way in the world with his storytelling and musical talents.  I had no idea the extent of his talent until this recording session.  He topped off these songs; he added so much depth and meaning.  His contributions rounded everything out, like bringing the entire fusion together full circle.  These are just my opinions folks, you do not have to believe everything I say here.  Just make sure you buy the CD when it comes out by the Fall of 2014; it’s nothing like you’ve ever heard!

Gene Tagaban adds a story of Raven…walking along a beach…check out Gene’s website at:

Preston Singletary on bass

Bernie Worrell’s keyboarding hands

After the excitement of the first song the entire band played, Stanton and Bernie vigorously shook hands, honored to play with one another

Skerik on sax – this guy rips — Skerik is an American saxophonist from Seattle, Washington. Performing on the tenor and baritone saxophone, often with electronics and loops, Skerik is a pioneer in a playing style that has been dubbed saxophonics.  Check out Skerik’s  FB page at:

In the sound room, Gene Tagaban, Bernie Worrell and Preston Singletary listen to the second day’s improv recordings

Sound engineer, Randall at the 1969 “board”

In the dining room kitchen, sound technicians and band members share home-made squash pie and baked apples hosted by Stuart, the owner of the “Avante!” recording studio – YUM!

Dinner at the Bitterroot Restaurant

After a fine day and night of playing together, and sharing a late dinner, Bernie Worrell and Preston Singletary share a bench and a smoke already reminiscing the “old days”…and the next project!