My good friends Karen and Spencer Ralston were very kind to help host us in magical Santa Fe, New Mexico where we played for the Georgia O’Keeffe celebration. I learned quite a bit about O’Keefe. What a fiercely independent artist and woman she was, on so many levels! It was very inspiring to me. If you get to Santa Fe, visit the splendid Georgia O’Keeffe museum! Rod, Todd and I worked with Albuquerque bassist Milo Jaramillo who did a great job, along with a wonderful audience. Also, many thanks to Lee & Susan Berk.

Next was in Salt Lake City where the wonderful Gordon Hanks has put on concerts for years. The Capitol Theatre is a beautiful new venue for this series and we had a great concert with a sold out crowd. Thank you Gordon and Connie for all you do for this music.

Then, the Dakota in Minneapolis, a long-time favorite of ours and a major reason is that I get to see my Mom and sister Elisa and her family (a great Thanksgiving together with Uncle Dave too) and many great friends along the way. Pianist and friend Laura Caviani played some beautiful piano with me, Larry Kohut and Eric Montzka.

It was a great pleasure to be on Minnesota Public Radio’s  “Kerry Miller Show”- she’s a most gracious host and I had a wonderful time talking with her while at the piano. And as always, thank you to Lowell Pickett for his dedication to the music and we artists.

A profound loss for me and my family on December 18, was that my dear Dad, Victor Schoonover, passed away. I was able to be there with him and Ardi, and I will always treasure that time. We miss him, he was an original. My good friends Mary & Steve Thornburg and Dan Cerveny played a holiday program for him. My Dad never wanted me to have to miss a gig. We had a beautiful life celebration for him in January.

Just before Christmas we played in Kansas City at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra led by the talented Kerry Strayer. What a thrill to play this new, state of the art venue in KC to a sold out crowd!

Then to the West Coast where we played two nights at Seattle’s Jazz Alley. Rod, Todd, Scott Steed and I had a great time with the crowd and the staff there as always.

We headed to a family wedding on the coast of New Jersey which was great fun. (Congrats Pricilla and John!) Then to see our great friend Vicki who runs the very sweet Merion Inn in Cape May. If you’re ever in that area, it’s really worth a visit: great food and lovely music, carrying on the tradition of our dearly-missed George Mesterhazy. I sat in with the wonderful pianist Dean Schneider that eve. And the B&B’s in Cape May are wonderful!

My sister Tracy and I spent some beautiful time on the coast of Oregon before our group performaned in Portland at Jimmy Mak’s. It’s great fun in that sweet club with Todd, Dan Balmer,  and Jeff Johnson. We then went on to Bend, OR for the Oxford Hotel Jazz Series – a beautiful place and venue!

We just returned from playing on The Jazz Cruise, which was spectacular. SO MANY great players on board! We got to hear many when we weren’t working: Freddie Cole Quartet, Randy Brecker, Steve Wilson, Jimmy Greene, Joey DeFrancesco, Arturo Sandoval, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, the Clayton Bros, Ann Hampton Callaway Quartet, Gary Burton Quartet, Kurt Eilling Quintet, Houston Person Quartet, Bill Cunliffe, Bill Mays, New York Voices, Emmet Cohen Trio, Eddie Palmieri with Brian Lynch, Phil Woods, Niki Haris, Cow Bop, John Fedchock and Roy Haynes! Also Gary Smuylan, Joe La Barbera, Jay Leonhart, David Finck, Sean Jones, Jeff Hamilton . . . so many greats!

Todd Barkan hosted several great film commentaries and I got to perform a tune with Phil Woods, Shelly Berg, Tom Kennedy and Ernie Adams. What a thril!! Also had a fun Q&A with the singers and host Bobby Jackson.

Aside from all that great music and camaradarie we also stopped at some beautiful islands: Nassau, St. Thomas where we stopped with Bill Cunnlife and Wanda at a wonderful local hang called “The Beer Garden,” great food and great folks. HIGHLY recommended! The bay in St Bart’s is exquisite. I love the Half Moon Cay. It’s very low-key and peaceful. Todd and Naomi para-sailed! And last time I got to ride a horse . . . IN THE SEA!

The Lazaroff Family does a wonderful job of putting this amazing cruise-event together. It’s a very special experience.

Our next performance is at the Blue Note in NYC. I have a great band with me: Rod, Todd, Ed and Steve Nelson on vibes. We are double billing with the very talented Raul Midon. Another exciting thing is, I’m being interviewed on BBC for a documentary on “Legendary Jazz Singers.”  Look out for that in the Spring!

Meanwhile, we in the Northeast are digging out of the snow!

We look forward to seeing you out there somewhere and thank you for supporting the music!!