May 1st we were in KC at a cool old refurbished theatre – The Madrid for the Ozanam Guild, a benefit for at risk children. Always great to be in KC. Then on to The Green Mill in Chicago, also one of our favorites – a very spirited place and crowd with one of our favorite club owners, Dave Jemilo. Also had a lovely meal at a friends great restaurant: Oceanique – yum! But we do like to eat well whenever possible. One of life’s great joys and something that helps makes all the travel bearable.
Then back to KC for another good cause – The Coda Jazz Festival in the GEM Theater at 18th & Vine to help older musicians cope financially. Jazz Greats like Clark Terry, Jay McShann, Claude “Fiddler” Williams (and his lovely wife Blanche), The Scamps, and Bobby Watson among others were there. My band sounded swingin as usual (Danny, Bob and Todd) with the wonderful Steve Wilson joining us.
Then Brazil! Haven’t been there since 1993 I think. What a special place. Both clubs were great – Bourbon Street in Sao Paulo and Mistura Fina in Rio. The folks who took care of us really did just that. Wonderful food, times, and crowds. I’d forgotten how beautiful Rio is. They were also very warm and enthusiastic when we played brazilian music.
Then to St. Paul, MN for a musical and historic tribute to a lovely and important man there: Leigh Kammon who is a radio jazz legend. My friend Bill McGlaughlin (another radio legend!) co-hosted with me which is always a great and interesting show. Also got to see my Mom and sister there. Then played in Worcester, MA for WICN-FM fundraiser which they had to do because war coverage interfered with their on-air drive. (Recently bought a good button ‘War Lacks Creativity’ Amen!)
Next, Steamers – another favorite club and owner – Terence Love. Had my ‘KC guys’ there – a real creative force! Then to Feinstein’s @ the Cinegrill in Hollywood. This new room at the Roosevelt Hotel is lovely… (Also got to meet Sally Kellerman at one of our shows!) Saw so many LA friends and had a beautiul suite with a lovely piano in it! This is a great thing for me! I could actually PRACTICE (or just play) on the road – nice. Then to Canada: Montreal and Vancouver – both excellent festivals. (Drove with Bill from NYC to Montreal to see the Adoronacks, wish we would have had more time for that – beautiful!)
Then to Europe … First stop was the Royal Albert Hall in London where we opened for George Benson for two nights – amazing place (almost 5,000 people per night). He and his band sounded really good. I had Danny, Bob, James Williams and Joe LaBarbera with me – great group. Then took the ‘Chunnel’ to Paris to hang until we went to Milan (another train which we loved) Played the Blue Note there for three days – really a nice club. It was HOT there too … so when we got to Holland for the North Sea Jazz Festival, what a pleasure to step into that cool air. This fest is huge and not just a jazz fest – lots of things going on. Fortunately we played in a lovely theatre so folks could sit down (civilized!) and stay. Other venues were not like that. Heard a little of John Abercrombie – dug that band. It’s a lovely place and I’d like to go back.
Then on to Santander, Spain (by the sea – another lovely place). Such a warm and enthusiastic crowd. Also wonderful hosts at this fest. Randy Brecker and the YellowJackets had been there just before us. This is when I found out that my dear 95 year old Grandmother died back in Omaha. We will miss her terribly. She and my other grandparents helped raise us.
Bob and Joe left us there, Danny and I went onto Montreux, Switzerland. This is also a huge festival with so much going on (again, not all jazz). I was part of the “Concord Voices” concert along with Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Neena Freelon, Monica Mancini, Peter Cincotti and Curtis Stigers. It was an extravaganza! And a stunning environment. Also was on the judging panel for the vocal competition – good singers from all over. Also really dug hearing Geri Allen trio accompany them. Danny and I did a workshop as well so it was busy.
Then back to NYC for one whole night and on to LA @ a lovely outdoor venue at Marina Del Ray. Wonderful crowd and setting. Now getting ready for a week @ the Blue Note here in NYC, a double billing with two favorites: Anita O’Day and Jon Hendricks. Then to the Telluride. Colorado Festival, followed by Omaha, Seattle, San Francesco and … yes, we’re getting around.
Thank you for listening and hope to see you out and about.