I guess I’ll start where my very trustworthy webmaster (Dean 🙂 says I left off, around late November. We had several ‘mini tours’ in 2002 and this was one of them – Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester areas. In Cleveland, we played a supper club called “Night Town.” One thing I remember is the airline losing my luggage and having to borrow something to wear from our road manager – Kim. (Lucky she’s a girl :). Never having been to Cleveland before, I was pleasantly surprised by our crowd – a very enthusiastic bunch asking why we’d never been there before?? Nice people! Luggage was waiting for me at the hotel after the gig hmmnm … just in time.

Then off to (didn’t exactly shuffle) to Buffalo in our big – HUGE! – white van. Fall colors mostly gone but still pretty country from the road. Danny, Bob and Ron Vincent were on for this run (with Kim). The ‘Sphere’ Complex in Buffalo was a very cool place, go there if you can. Also a great crowd and the pr! esenters treated us like royalty (which NEVER hurts and is ALWAYS appreciated! 🙂 – felt pretty magical all around.

Off to Rochester next day to play the Montage Grill – another nice supper club. They acquired a piano since we were there last, it was rather challenging however. Our friend Clay Jenkins (great trumpet player now teaching at Eastman) came in and sat in-always wonderful. He brought in pianist Harold Danko and it was a treat to hear him too.

Back to our respective homes, I doing many interviews daily and getting ready for Japan. Played a private holiday party for ‘Piaget’ jewlery in Tokyo. They even asked me to wear some of it during the shows, which I did gladly – beautiful! It was in an historic old castle, with tatamis and screens, etc. Got to see some BEAUTIFUL snow in Tokyo one night with our new promoter friends Yukari & Akiko walking home after having Korean Bar-b-que. Bruce Barth, Danny, Bob and Todd were with me on this. Took the bullet train to Osaka to play at Mr. Kelly’s there for a couple nights, also played several other clubs in Osaka area and Kobe. Bullet train back to Tokyo (who booked this!?) And onto Singapore (LONG day) for a concert on December17th. Met another very nice promoter there, concert went well (got through the funny light ‘design’!) – very interesting but too short! Would like to have stayed there longer.

Back home for two whole days and off to Omaha. I was ‘honored to be honored’ (!) as an outstanding UNO alum at their winter commencement. They were going to ask me to speak but thankfully asked me to ‘sing my speech’ instead – with the UNO big band. So, there I was complete with cap and gown, singing “Hello Young Lovers” & “Pack Your Suitcase Blues.” It was a pretty cool experience.

While there we played at North High for a “Music in the Schools” Fundraiser. My friend Therese (used to be our drummer in the all-girl rock band ‘Tomboy’!) is band director at North (and my father also went to high school there!). Bill McGlaughlin also came along to work and conducted the string band. A very nice experience all the way around.

Then off to Catalina’s in Hollywood. Great week there, wonderful crowds and there are always many magical moments at Catalina’s. Bill Cunliffe on piano with Danny, Bob and Todd (my Mom & Bill too!). You also never know who will drop in – Billy Dee Williams, Garrett Morris, Jim Carey, Richard Thomas (‘john b! oy’ – nice guy!) the singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop…many others. Putter Smith too – who sat in and sounded beautiful along with other musician friends.

One beautiful clear LA day, we (my Mom, good friend Michael, the whole band, Bill and I, and Todd’s family too) went to the beach. This is one of our favorite things to do – enjoy whatever the area around us has to offer. We also enjoy great food of course, so we went to a very cool place for lunch called The Reel Inn. Wonderful fish and can eat outside – very reasonable, funky, fun place along the Pacific Coast Highway. Great fun.

Since being back in NYC, I auditioned for a Coca Cola commercial (interesting!) and just taped a Hallmark Pilot program called ‘Hallmark Cafe’ with my band, Peter Cincotti’s group, and BB King. B and I sang one tune together. He is a dear man. The famed producer Phil Ramone ran the show – very well done, we’re all are hoping it is picked up.

Heard Mark Murphy at Birdland – great! Also Paul Motian’s group at The Village Vanguard – inspiring. In that sense it’s great to … to be home so I can hear other folks. There’s nothing like hearing live music to re-ignite all kinds of things within.

Looking back on 2002, it was a very busy year – traveling alot, happily getting to know new audiences.

In Blue‘ is continuing to do well and this also helps get our other ‘stuff’ out there and heard too. I thank all of you for your interest and support, you help make it all possible and worthwhile.

Let’s all hope and work for Peace. Until next time ….

With Love,