I think the last time I wrote we had just gotten back from Europe, and were about to start “Le Jazz Au Bar” in New York. What a great place ‘Au Bar’ is. It’s now one of my favorite places to hear and play music in NYC – a very spacious, lovely room, great sound, and very nice people. The owner (Howard Stein) actually LOVES JAZZ!

So, two weeks there (even during the Republican Convention) was lovely.

Bruce Barth sounded amazing, my guys Danny, Bob & Todd sounded as beautiful as ever. Also some friends dropped by to hear us. Among them: Laura Caviani, Steve Wilson, John Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Bill McGlaughlin.

Next were a couple stops ‘out east’ – Harrisburg, PA and Manchester, CT. Both very nice halls and crowds. It was a pretty part of the year to drive there. A few days off, then onto Anapolis, MD at the Ram’s Head; then opened up for Steve Tyrell at the Keswick Theater just outside of Philly. Next, flew to Toledo Ohio – also opening for Steve. Both beautiful halls and great crowds.

Our flights were very mixed up, along with lost luggage so that was a big drag and extremely time consuming but c’est la vie! on the road unfortunately. Can’t ALL be good?

About a week off, and onto San Francisco to see friends before heading on to Yoshi’s in Oakland, one of our favorite places. Portland based pianist Randy Porter played with us there -a real treat.

October was intended to be my ‘month off’ and I guess it kind of was … BUT the ACTUAL 2 weeks (when all is said and done) went extremely fast. I did go campaigning one day for John Kerry in Pennsylvania on behalf of the League of Conservation Voters for which I am a member. That was interesting and necessary. Gotta keep that spirit alive.

Then a gift to myself, a stop in Hawaii to see my sister (and my other sister was able to join!) on the way to our tour in Japan. This was very special. Also visited the Big Island – beautiful!

Just now finished 10 days in Japan with eight concerts throughout. This is always a pleasure with the Concord/Fujitsu Festival – very well run, and also real varied in that we visit a lot of places (8 concerts in 10 days) most times taking the bullet train, some bus, some planes. Needless to say the train is the best!

Rod Fleeman sounded poetic and swinging as usual, Honolulu bassist, Bruce Hamada was a treat to work with and Todd kept us all where we should be! (Very tastefully of course.)

We were on the ‘bill’ with two wonderful bands on this fest: Terry Gibbs and Ken Peplowski (a very swingin’ band) and the John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton Orchestra. What an inspiration they were! John Pizzarelli sounded great with them too.

Some other folks I got to hear lately: Dave Frishburg & Jay Leonhart @ Birdland, Lynne Arielle @ Birdland, Eliane Elias @ Au Bar, Gene Bertoncini @ Le Madeline, Ann Hampton Callaway at The Jazz Standard and Randy Brecker (w big band) at the Iridium.

So, now back to the ‘mainland’ – to my ‘hometowns’ of Omaha and Kansas City for performances, via MY home (now) first, New York for 24 hours. We do get around, albeit circuitously.

As always, I thank YOU for listening, it means everything to us. And as somebody once sang, “What’s so funny about Peace, Love and Understanding?”

I like that.