Last time I wrote we were on our way to Tokyo. The Japanese are wonderful hosts. It was a pleasure to play the Blue Note there. I met with many press people and journalists who were very passionate and knowledgeable about this music. We look forward to going back. Kind fun to have a cocktail at the Blue Note named after me – the “Buttercup!”)

Back to the US and a performance with the Charlotte County Jazz Society in Punta Gorda Florida. It was a great theater and crowd.

Next, we were off to Tel Aviv!! Along with me were Nancy King, her wonderful pianist Steve Christofferson. Her great bassist Ed Bennett, and my great drummer Todd Strait. This was a thrill to be there at the Tel Aviv Opera House. We rehearsed there the night before our gig and the opera “Turandot” was being performed. We got to see some of it and the singers in their full dress back stage. What a sight and sound!

The Tel Aviv crowd was great. They are very knowledgeable and love this music. We look forward to going back.

Our first gig back in the US was in New York City at Dizzy’s/Lincoln Center to help celebrate the amazing Marian McPartland’s 90th birthday. She is an original and knocked us all out that night. I sang two of her original tunes with her: “Twilight World” and “There’ll be Other Times.” Lots of luminaries with her that night. Among them: Wynton Marsalis, Regina Carter, Bill Charlap, Kenny Barron, Norah Jones, Jeremy Pelt. Even Kareem Abdul Jabar was in the house! It was a really special evening of music and tribute to Ms. Marian.

Then to Kansas City for me, performing with Bobby Watson and the 18th & Vine Big Band along with Mary Stallings – a lovely singer. It’s always a thrill for me to sing with a killin’ big band – and especially this one at the GEM Thearer in KC! Bobby sounded great as usual.

Back to New York at Birdland for the “official” release of our new CD, “Imagina, Songs of Brasil”. Birdland is not only one of my favorite places to perform in NYC, but I love just going there to hear great music when I can. It’s a very great group of people. The group was Steve Nelson, Rod Fleeman, Todd Strait and Ed Howard and we had a ball. Several friends sat in too during the week: Bruce Barth, Eldar, Ann Hampton Callaway, Randy Weinstein, George Mesterhazy, Sacha Boutros. Fun!

Another fun big band date was in Indiana with the Ball State Big Band. These students sound fabulous! And led by their director Mark Buselli, who’s also an excellent trumpet player, we had good concerts (despite the airline craziness, which was…challenging!)

From there it was on to the historic Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago. It always feels like “coming home” to me. With the great crowds and staff there, led by the incomparable Dave Jemilo, it can’t go wrong!

Another favorite club followed: Scullers in Boston; then, a new one for us in Philadelphia: Chris’ Jazz Cafe. When we rolled into Philly, we happened to get caught in the fever of the Barrack Obama rally that day, just before their primary. It was exciting!

The political ‘scene’ right now is a lot of things to me and many I know: hopeful, frustrating, interesting, sometimes quite disappointing, and again – I think with Mr. Obama, at the same time – very hopeful. No matter what ‘side of the fence’ you’re on, HOPE is the key word and we need it!

I hope to see you out there in the Jazz Scene soon.
Thank you for listening!