It’s been awhile! Looking back at the end of 2005 just before we recorded this next project… NYC’s Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club in Lincoln Center has got to be one of the prettiest clubs anywhere. With a great view of Central Park and a very beautiful interior, it’s a pleasure to play there. Nancy King and I, along with Bruce Barth, Todd Strait and Peter Washington did a night of (mostly) Charlie Parker tunes. It was a blast.

With these same players plus Nancy and Jon Hendricks, we recorded the next album called “Footprints.” It will be out in mid-April. I’m very excited about it. Then, we went onto Spokane, WA to play with the big band there. It was a great group of players and a wonderful crowd.

Next, we did a gig at Pepperdine University with Bruce, Joe LaBarbera and Tom Warrington. This was without the benefit of our luggage and a very late flight arrival. I went on stage with airplane attire, no sound check, and not feeling very well. But it seems that people understood and I’m very grateful! Still with no luggage I ‘stopped off’ in Los Cruces, NM to hear the premier of my friend Bill McGlaughlin’s new piece with the orchestra there. It was sublime.

The next stop was in Seattle at Jazz Alley and still no luggage. Fortunately my Mom got to come to that one, and I borrowed her clothes. Fortunately she’s very hip. Playing with Bruce, Todd, Rod and Jeff Johnson just got better every night. It was a great band and we always love Jazz Alley. Rod and I did a live thing at KPLU-FM with folks who had written lyrics to “Let’s Do It” for a fund raiser. Dick Stein’s very cute idea – really fun. The last two days there I got my luggage. Traveling is definitely not glamorous but it gets you there!

I went to Berkeley, CA to Fantasy Records Studios to mix the new CD with Nick Phillips (our producer) and Bill. We had AMAZING weather there in such a beautiful place and I got to take a couple fun hikes. Back to NYC we played Birdland with Bob Bowman, Todd and a new pianist (for me), George Mesterhazy. We had a great week. Birdland is one of my favorite clubs.

Onto St. Louis for a one nighter at a club called Finale with Todd, Gerald Spaits on bass, and St. Louis pianist, Reggie Thomas. From there we headed to another favorite spot: Kansas City! In KC we played the beautiful GEM Theater in the historic 18th & Vine district. Rod and Bob joined us. Bob’s mom, Jean Bowman, passed away that weekend. We all loved Jean. She was a great supporter of the music and a special lady.

I went to Minneapolis where my Mom and sister, Elisa live. We did a concert and several masters classes for Elisa’s kid’s school. The group with me there was with Todd, Laura Caviani and bassist Gordy Johnson. The kids also played for us. I admire teachers so much!! And I admire parents who encourage their kids in music. It’s harder these days to do that and budget cuts in the arts are no help . . . so, good for them!

After hanging there for Thanksgiving, it was back to NYC. I played a Clos du Val private party (fund raiser) in New Jersey with Bruce and bassist Vicente Archer. Great wine and food! I had a restful December/holiday season at home: had a few get togethers with friends, got to go hear live music, and went to the opera at the Met. Then we visited family in Philadelphia. On into the New Year, we (Bruce, Todd and Vicente) played a concert at the IAJE Convention in NYC. As always, we saw so many friends/musicians there.

Next, onto New Orleans for a concert/fund raiser for WNO at the historic Snug Harbor in the French Quarter. Fred Kasten did a magnificent job of putting it together and we had great crowds. I played with the wonderful ‘local’ band there “Astral Project.” What an interesting and energetic band and great group of guys!

It was quite an experience to be there this time of course. Yes, there is so much devastation, yes – our government needs to follow through (hook up the FEMA trailers for starters!) … Still, I have to say the spirit is still there in that great city. Wynton Marsalis has said (many other too) that it’s so vital for New Orleans to maintain it’s unique CULTURE (as well as getting the city running again) Amen! We all need to do anything we can to help.

I just got back from two wonderful weeks in Hawaii visiting with my sister, Tracy. Another unique culture that needs preserving however we can.

All for now, and thank you for listening and for reading.