Angie's Summer vacation

My summer was full and went WAY too fast, it seems. I have two teenage boys who got out of school at the end of May (we start mid-August here in San Fran). The very beginning of summer was spent visiting with some of my family, my aunt, uncle, cousins and their little kids, who traveled from far and wide.  Jaipur, India; Seattle and Washington DC ... and we love our cousins!!! 


Our first adventure together was at the end of June, all three of us heading to Jazz Camp West in La Honda for 8 days in the Redwoods with some of the BEST musicians on the planet.  Although most of the staff are my friends and colleagues, I go as a student and do stuff I don't get to do in music in the Real World.  And it's a completely special week with my boys ... we dance, write music, sing, hang out with 300 of our best friends, listen to amazing and creative people do that thing they do that fills our souls, then come blinking out of the Redwoods at the end of the week, ready as we can be to face the year ahead. My boys have been coming with me for the past three years and it's a gift that we can do this together.  We're Lifers ...


In the second half of July, I had a whole week in the PacNW, spending 3 days of ACTUAL vacation before 4 days of Bobs gigs in Portland, Orcas and San Juan Islands, and back in Seattle.  Visiting with my BFF Llysa Holland and her most beloved hubby Andrew Litzky is always something I can't wait to do, and loved seeing some other dear friends and catching up a bit (Hi Nile and Sarah!!)


Then back to SF for one short week and back out again, first to Ohio where I participated in the New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp**,  then with less than 24 hours back in SF, to Camp Mather (SF Family Camp) near Yosemite with my kids for the Last Hurrah before school began that next Monday.  It did take me about 3 days to not feel completely exhausted, I have to say ... but a beautiful place to just lie about and read and snooze!


**I was once again a Camper at the Ohio VJ camp ... I now have an official and irreversible Band Crush on New York Voices.  Rosana Eckert, Greg Jasperse and Jay Ashby were also teaching and CHECK THEM OUT if you haven't experienced them already!!! Keep learning!  Ok, off my soapbox ...  BESIDES the awesome hang with these friends, I went to affirm my teaching tools as I go into this Fall semester as Artist in Residence at the Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts High School, teaching a brand new Jazz Choir and Solo Jazz Lab (co-teaching with Melecio Magdaluyo who can ACTUALLY play piano ... ), and also a Vocal Jazz Ensemble class in the community school at the JazzSchool in Berkeley, California.  I'm VERY excited about all this stuff (and I will tell you right now that it's on TOP of my very loved and cool job at the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation) AND what's coming up for The Bobs this Fall/Winter into 2015 AND my kids' wacky rehearsal/performance schedules AND my grown-up life ... I am a busy Mama. And I love it all ...

School has begun, supplies are bought, the alarm goes off a little too early ... and life is good again.

Matthew Bobs’ Summer

           It has been an eventful summer. My son Duncan is getting ready for College. Hard to believe that he was once the young boy on stage singing a Christmas song with The Bobs. He has spent the summer in Europe in a German language intensive at Freiburg University in Germany, a beautiful university town like any university town except it was founded in 1451. The Bobs have even played there!  Before he left he adopted a sweet kitten with one blue eye and one yellow eye and named her Midori.  

The sad news was the loss of our Best of Breed hound dog Emma, who in her typical stubborn fashion past away while The Bobs were on tour.  She had out lived all the vet’s expectations for a large dog and was just 4 months shy of her 19th birthday. The entire neighborhood misses her.

My lovely wife continues to paint and her unique artist residency here in Seattle is in its 3rd year. Eleven other fantastic artists join her in the Duwamish River Residency. A famous river here in Seattle that is named after a local tribe that has never been recognized by the US government, Unbelievable!!

Myself, while at home continue to sing and perform locally with anyone who will have me. Currently I am singing and performing with 3 friends doing 20’s and 30’s swing jazz a la the Mills Brothers and Ink Spots and others. The quartet still has no name so I guess we’ll need to remedy that. Any Suggestions would be welcomed!

Seattle has had an unusual hot and dry summer, which has made my garden do wonderful and expansive things. Anyone want some Italian plums? I think the tree must have a 1000 plums ripening.  Off to do some watering now.

Hope to see the fans soon and wish you all to have a great time with what summer is left!


Growing up with the Bobs – Ashley Greene

October 30, 2013


When I was a kid the Bobs used to rehearse next to my bedroom.  I am the same age as the Bobs (32, in case you’re wondering), and the house that my parents bought in Berkeley when I was a toddler turned out to be the de facto Bobs practice space.  There would be that rhythm of a typical rehearsal coming through my wall – the sound of them running through songs, punctuated by loud bursts of laughter (because no one finds the Bobs more funny than themselves).  I’m sure there was a level of seriousness to the proceedings, but as a child a Bobs rehearsal seemed like the most fun in the world.  Looking back on it now I’m sure that all that a cappella seeping through the walls had some effect on shaping my personality, although I can’t tell you whether it was for better or for worse.  Well, I’m sure it wasn’t for the worse….

The truth is a cappella gave me a magical childhood, although with the misunderstandings of being the only child in an adult world.  I am an only child and none of the other Bobs had children until I was a teenager, so it was always just me hanging out with my dad….and Matthew, Gunnar, Janie, Joe…basically Bobs et al.  As you can imagine most of the conversation was not aimed at a 8 year-old , and thank god for it.  I’m sure most of the back and forth flew right over my head, but I sure felt damn special to get at least fifty percent of it.  And of course there are the Bobs songs.  There was a year or two when I went to college when I would listen to a Bobs lyric and have a “duh” moment – as in, “duh, that’s what they meant by that!”  (Hippies versus stockbrokers really has no relevance when you’re 5.  And banana love?  Thank god I had no idea.)  It was great to figure out that these songs I knew by heart had adult meanings, and completely clever adult meanings to boot!

So the early years with the Bobs were pretty damn good, for all of us I think. The Bobs did a fundraiser for my elementary school when I was in 2nd grade, and all of my friends could not stop talking about what a cool job my dad had.  Plus there was the fact that often I and my mom got to go on tour with him during the summer, which was always massively exciting for me.  I got to sit through a million sound checks, count the seats in various theaters throughout the country, sample various backstage snack spreads…total adventure for a kid.  But as a became a teenager things started to change.  Even though I secretly felt the same thrill at every soundcheck and cheese plate sampler, I had to play it cool.  Cause that’s what teenagers do.  And I became less willing to announce “my dad’s in an a cappella band”, and even began to become disdainful of a cappella in general.  And yes, when it came time to apply for college I would often announce “I’m going to the school with the least a cappella groups on campus!”  (A line which my dad somehow managed to steal and make a joke out of.)  Of course I would still go to every Bobs show and enjoy the hell out of myself (unfortunately, I may actually be more amused by the Bobs than they are of themselves). But a cappella was….well, so uncool.  And it’s plight wasn’t being helped by all the dorky white freshman choir kids at my college trying to cover “smells like teen spirit” with only voices.  (I’m sorry, but I grew up with the best.! I’m a tough critic!)  When friends asked what my dad did I would say, “he’s a musician……..”, and then just let the mystery hang in the air for awhile.  (Which led to a rumor in college that my dad was Neil Young….a rumor I probably could have done more to correct.)

But then one night a few years later, living by myself in Brooklyn, randomly ploughing through youtube videos, I decided to search for the Bobs.  I watched an early video of them performing “art for art’s sake” on PBS,  and was absolutely floored.  This was fucking brilliant!  I had always thought the Bobs were good because… well because I kind of had to, but Jesus Christ, they really were good!  Suddenly my adult self  was able to recognize all the subtlety of the music, the singing, the arrangements, even the over the top (and yet totally brilliant) eighties fashion.  After that night I started going back through all my old Bobs records, re-listening to everything with a new, more adult ear.  Although I enjoyed the comfort of the intense nostalgia all those songs gave me, I even more enjoyed their lyrical and musical brilliance.  Although I had always been a Bobs fan by blood, it was then that I truly became a real Bobs fan.

So now my life with the Bobs is great.  I try to make new converts of worthy friends once in awhile, which often works (although making guests sit down and watch early performances of your dad’s a cappella group is not something I would advise).  I get first pick at dug up old t shirts or posters or records, and I even get to have input on their new material.  I have the Bobs (every single one of them, although mostly my dad) to thank for my sarcastic wit, and my ability to get in some hilarious asides at a dinner party.  And of course for the music.

And because of that I give you (in the spirit of High Fidelity), my top 5 Bobs desert island tracks:


Elwood Decker

Santa Ana Woman

Art For Art’s Sake

ITHOTMOA (mostly chosen to make my Dad roll his eyes…..)