November 2014 shows

I’ll be performing at Act One Pub/Mayne Stage in Rogers Park Sunday November 2nd at 9pm.  This show will likely be a good mix of cover songs and some of my own.  They have a great drink selection, and great food (at least early in my set).  There is no cover charge.

Tz w harmonica slide razorhouse yoga benefit

The picture above is from a Yoga Recovery benefit show this past month with the band Razorhouse, taken by Michael Sullivan.  They were able to raise a lot of funds for their cause, which is taking yoga classes to women’s penitentiaries.

Saturday November 15th @ Uncommon Ground (Clark St) I’ll play a solo set at 8pm.  After that I’ll join super-talented singer/songwriter Lara Filip’s Birdie Wing for a set, playing guitar, percussion, singing, whatever.  This will be my first proper solo set of original music in a “listening room” in quite a while, and the last one of 2014.  Birdie Wing’s music is produced by Liam Davis (Frisbie, Justin Roberts).  Dinner reservations are recommended for priority seating.  UG has food/drink available.  There will not be a Cubs game.


Cheers to the feeling of a well-attended, well-played show!

Thanks to everyone who came out to hear Phil Angotti & Friends “An Evening of John Lennon” at the City Winery.  We sold out the wine-pairing tickets (which we were told “has never happened yet”) and were probably 20-30 folks shy of selling out the evening.  We hope to perform it again sometime soon for all those who missed it.  Some photos by Lee Klawans and Dann Morr:




Soundboard Audio clip of “#9 Dream/Mind Games”

Next up… An Evening of Paul McCartney with Phil Angotti, Tommi Zender, Steve Dawson, Carolyn Engelmann, and Casey McDonough, Saturday Oct 12th, 8PM @ Old Town School of Folk Music



(drawing by Phil Angotti)

Hello! Is It Me You’re Looking For?


Long time, no update. Here’s the Reader’s Digest scoop. I continue to enjoy my work teaching privately at my studio & my classes at Old Town School. I still teach and play with a rotating solo Beatle acoustic ensemble at the school (currently session 1 of George Harrison, of which there will be 2) and my long-running Art Rock Ensemble (team-coached with the multi-talented Bob Goins) continues to grow & amaze. I maintain 2-3 core guitar classes at the school as well. And I’ve had the pleasure of sub-teaching many classes, most notably Steve Dawson’s long-running Songwriting class on Sunday.

I’ve been rehearsing, performing, recording in the studio, playing & enjoying family life, sports, books, & other people’s music. As far as ‘music career’ touchstones in the past 10 months I have had the pleasure of playing wonderful music with the likes of Phil Angotti & friends, a brief but educational stint with The Cheetles, Lara Filip’s “Birdie Wing” project (produced by Liam Davis), Mark William Johnson (a musician friend I have been playing on/off with for 25 years now) Dave Sills, Paul Maich (a record being produced by Anne Heaton, engineered by Dan Glomski) Ross Freeman (record being produced by Steve Dawson) Bill Brickey & Alton Smith’s children/adult projects, and most recently filling the electric guitar/backing vocal roll in a newer Art Rock group called Razorhouse (fronted by writer Mark Panick) and many others I’m probably forgetting. A digital painting by the great artist Tom McKeon is pictured above from my first Razorhouse show at Mayne Stage Theater this past week. Cheers! I’ll try to get back in the swing of updating here regularly again, in time.

I Forgot to Remember September

Actually, I’m taking the month off, thankfully. Teaching, recording, re-charging. Check back at some point in October!  Here are a couple scenes from my late August recording sabbatical at Uncle Tom’s Cabin (go ahead, laugh… everyone does) up in the woods.  It was blissful… both relaxing and productive.  Cheers – TzIMG_2241


August Discussed

simons sills flyer

Greetings all!  It’s shaping up to be a busy month in August.  A quick recap of the end of July first.  I played a great house concert at Pig & Weasel with my student/friend Alaina Stacey.  She is so talented and I was honored to be asked to be her accompanist for a special evening of music.  Hopefully we’ll have some video/audio highlights to share later this month.


Bhakti Fest in Madison with Mike Cohen‘s group was blissful.  The band included many singers, Stone Damon on drums, Steve Emmerman on bass, and Taz Rashid on percussion, among others.  Above is a panoramic shot of the action from the stage.

tz n td

Thomas Dunning’s HOOT NIGHT!  “Motown vs Broadway” wow!  Those who were there know what I exclaim about.  Incredible show.  “Sir Duke” is on YouTube done with an all-star band of Steve Frisbie, Gerald Dowd, Alton Smith & Jacqueline Schimmel.  Another on YouTube is with me sitting in on bass for Steve Frisbie, with Gerald Dowd for Steve’s Motown-take on “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”.  What a voice!  Speaking of voices… Phil Angotti did a great “Tracks of My Tears” and I also got to sit in with him for “Til There Was You”.  I played drums with Catherine Smitko & Jeff Kust for “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar and “Superstition” (mashed up with Metallica, lol)  More video to come later in the month.  (and I’ll have to figure out how to link directly to video here on the site!)

Coming up in August… Lollapalooza!  I’m very blessed to be asked to sit in on bass with Jambo Steve Pierson’s group on the kid’s stage Friday & Saturday August 2nd & 3rd.  I fully plan to see some other acts including Queens of The Stone Age, The National, Band of Horses, and The Blisters (with Alaina Stacey guesting).

Sunday August 11th at Simons, 9pm Tommi Zender & Dave Sills Variety Hour (flyer at the top of this post) w/special guests Tim Mulvenna on percussion & Shana Gray on vocals.  We’ll do 2 sets featuring some of Dave’s songs, my songs, and select cover tunes.  No Cover!!!


Band on the Run presented by Phil Angotti & Friends, including Casey McDonough on bass, Erich McMann on guitars, Carolyn Engelmann on keys and yours truly on the drum set, and more!  Martyrs, Monday August 12th at 8pm.  Tickets are a mere $7.  We presented this album in it’s entirety back in the winter on one of the coldest days of the year at Reggie’s and the reaction was unanimous that we nailed it.  Here’s your chance to hear us do it again on the north side in warmer climes.

The Smiths Acoustic Ensemble and Art Rock Ensemble graduation performances will be on Sunday August 18th @ 909 Armitage location of Old Town School in the theater.  BYOB and no admission charge–come by if you like to see what Alton Smith, Bob Goins and I have been up to at the school with our talented students.  Exact times to be determined but between 4:30 pm and 7:30 is the likely window.

The second half of August will be dedicated to RECORDING.  In the works are a new ambient guitar album and a pop/rock EP of many songs I’ve been playing for years now but have not yet recorded proper.  More details as it unfolds this fall.  Thanks so much for reading and for supporting the arts/music I’m involved in.  Peace!

There’s No “I” in July!

Thanks to everyone who caught The Tubes (and me) at City Winery.  It was a great night & they were fantastic as ever, and very gracious to me as their opening act armed with only an acoustic guitar.  We reminisced about pre-1990’s Phoenix AZ, and guitarist Roger Steen & I discovered we shared the same alma mater.  He & I swapped solo records as well.  City Winery staff were fabulous and I hope to return again at some point soon.  Here’s a couple pics of me with Fee Waybill & Roger Steen.  And also my newly autographed original pressing of their 2nd record.

Friday July 5th I’ll be playing electric guitar atmospherics with Mike Cohen‘s Kirtan group at “Bhakti Fest” in Madison WI.  The group will also feature Chicago musicians Stone Damon on drums/percussion, Steve Emmerman on Bass, Debi Buzil, Stephanie Starnes on voices.

Sunday July 7th @ Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square:  Fretboard Geography Workshop with Tommi Zender 2-3:30pm.  Register and info here.

I’ll be focusing some of July on generating additional material for my next ambient guitar record to be released later this fall.  But before the month is over…wait for it…

Friday July 27th Hideout…it’s the return of, or rather possibly even the retirement of… Thomas Dunning’s HOOT NIGHT!!!  A cavalcade of all-star Chicago musicians all doing 2 songs around a given theme.  This time it’s “Motown vs Broadway”.  You’d better get a ticket quick if you want to go because this will sell out.  Tickets here!

Artists appearing on the night include:

Nora O’Connor
Steve Frisbie
Smitko and The Masters’
Dag Juhlin
Steve Dawson
Justin Roberts
Joie de Necklines
Zapruder Point
Ingrid Graudins
Phil Angotti
Michael Ross
Tommi Zender
Tom Dunning & Your Boyfriends
Plus surprise ghosts of Hoot Nights past and more!


June Right In Tune

ImageAmbient Guitar Soundscapes Performance @ Wholelife Expo 2013, Sunday June 2nd 4-5pm.  More Info on Wholelife Expo.  I will have brand new copies of my first ambient record “Words Get In The Way” for sale at this event.  In the event YOU can’t make the event… and you’d like to purchase the work, please feel free to contact this artist directly.  The album is not available as a digital download–CD only, $12 includes S/H. Here’s a photo of the artist holding up the recorded art.Photo on 2013-05-14 at 16.58


Summer classes taught at Old Town School of Folk Music (more info).

I’m opening for some of my childhood rock heroes The Tubes at City Winery on Friday June 28th.  Tix & Info here.