We had a wonderful tour in Japan (‘Jazz Elite’). It was especially good to get to meet (and hear) McCoy Tyner and his trio and the Cyrus Chestnut trio – great guys and wonderful players.

We played in beautiful halls with great pianos to very enthusiastic crowds. We started in Kashiwa, moved onto Kofu, Yamagata, Musashino, Mitaka, Takasaki, Kumamoto, Sasebo, Okayama. Then a much needed night off (!) in Kyoto where Danny, Joe and I were treated by a good friend to a Geisha house – what an interesting experience! (pictures on this site soon) Then onto Osaka, Nagoya, Yaizu and finally Tokyo.

My favorite memories/experiences (besides the music and people) were massage, mineral baths (sadly – only once), the Geisha house, japanese food and beer/saki, watching the lush landscape and rice paddies from the tour bus and train, backgammon with Jim on the bus.

Then, another good friend taking Jim, Bruce and I to a great little karaoke bar (SOMEHOW Danny and Joe opted out!) and hanging with those folks for awhile. They take this karaoke singing very seriously – very fun time there. Takao (our gracious promoter) went too. He’s a great sport (and a legend in producing jazz in Japan!)

Finally, experiencing the warm and gracious hospitality of the Japanese people. Our road crew was amazing too.

I was pleased to be able to speak with McCoy several times, and his playing knocked me out. And Cyrus … forget about it! What a sweetie. Danny and Joe played as beautifully as ever with me and we had two friends from Honolulu join us – Bruce Hamada and Jim Howard. Both are great players and tour mates.

Then onto Bloomington/Normal, Illinois for a concert for WGLT Radio – a lovely outdoor event with my KC players – who never have ANY fun! Now onto meeting with the Concord folks in LA for planning for “In Blue” – my next project due out August 13. Lots to prepare for, but exciting.

Thank you for checking in and farewell for now.