We had a lovely time at the Woodcliff Lounge in Fairport, just outside of Rochester, NY. It’s a very well run and cool venue/resort. We were there for two nights, and had wonderful crowds both nights. They also treated us to some of their new spa happenings which was so nice, especially when on the road. Clay Jenkins and Gap Mangione sat in with us. Rod Fleeman, Bob Bowman and Todd Strait played great as usual.

Onto Boston at Scullers – a favorite club for two sold out shows in that great city. Then to St Louis at a new and very nice club called Finale. It was a pleasure to play with Bruce Barth, Steve Wilson, Bob and Todd.

We flew to Minneapolis and then drove “way up north” to Grand Marais, right on Lake Superior – so beautiful! They do a wonderful job with their series. Laura Caviani joined us there. We really reveled in seeing some bald eagles along the way and the beautiful shoreline and hikes. Back down to Minneapolis for the Dakota. It’s always like coming home for me. We were joined again by Steve Wilson and had two great nights of music there.

I went back to New York and got to sing with Marian McPartland at Dizzy’s in Lincoln Center. What a thrill to be with her and in that wonderful room. We left for Melbourne the next day for the first year of their Umbria Jazz Festivals. I really like Australia! We heard some great players too. Among them were John Scofield’s trio, and Australia’s own Joe Chindamo – wonderful pianist/accordianist who played with us one night. That was way too short a trip. Hope to stay longer next time.

Back in the US, we made our way to Canada. We decided to drive from NYC (the scenic route) with my Mom ‘in tow’ to Montreal first. We met up with Joe LaBarbera, Tom Warrington and Larry Koonse for these dates. A great trio! Had only one night in lovely Montreal at Club Soda – a nice, roomy music club. Then, onto Toronto at the Top of the Senator. We really enjoyed the crowds there, even though the Senator is under new management and definately going through some changes. But the folks who came were wonderful. Pat LaBarbera sat in with us there.

Back home for me for a few days. Then I made a “pleasure trip” to Portland to hear and see friends – mainly Nancy King. I also caught Laura Caviani who had some gigs there with Todd and Scott Steed. Also had to stop by Jimmy Macs and say hi to friends while there.

Next week I was off to Kansas City to sing with Bobby Watson and the 18th & Vine Big Band at the American Jazz Museum’s Rhythm & Ribs Jazz Festival. I don’t often get to do big band gigs but love it when I can. It was a thrill! Then, onto Dallas at Sambuca’s – a nice supper/ music club. They took very good care of us. Then to Edmund, OK for their great venue. They also took great care of us and the crowd was happenin’.

Back home for some much needed time off. Then, onto Ann Arbor, MI for the Firefly (sweet place!) and Lansing Michigan at the Creole Gallery. They do wonderful job there! Then I took a few days off and went camping in Boulder, CO with my good friend Beth – beautiful!

After getting home for a few days we headed to Litchfield, CT for their festival. Great crowd there and we also got to hear Jr. Mance, Dave Brubeck, and said “hi” to Steve Wilson and Bob Dorough. What good company to be in!

Onto the west coast for the “A 75th Birthday Tribute to Ray Charles” at the Hollywood Bowl. To play for 10,000 people is really something. I was honored to play a tune with Gary Burton and his band, then sang several tunes as a “Raylette” (along with Patti Austin, Monica Mancini and Latoya London – fun!). Billy Preston “played Ray” and sounded great . . . a wonderful big band of some of the best LA players too. It was an exciting experience.

Off to Santa Barbara, CA for the Club SoHo. Loved that crowd! Then to Fullerton for Steamer’s – always a gas there. After that, the San Jose Jazz Festival where we got to play in a lovely intimate theater to a great crowd.

Then onto Coral Gables, FL. Wow – what an experience to be there during hurricane Katrina! We arrived there to drenching rain and high winds but the show was going to go on. We were ready. But it just got worse and, caused and our concert to be canceled. That was a huge disappointment but for the best. We did go to the venue where they (still) very kindly had dinner for us. As “Witch Katrina” intensified, several doors and windows were blown out so we had to move to a more secure area. The electricity went out and stayed out the whole weekend. We decided to rehearse for the new album by candle light and flashlights. It was scarey but fun and very productive!

Our hosts were wonderful. We do plan to go back there next year (watch my schedule page for updates). Looking at the damage the next day (which was really bad) can only give a HINT as to what New Orleans went through . . . unbelievable!

We did get out before it hit New Orleans and felt very lucky. Words are so inadequate for such a catastrophe. We all just have to DO something. My heart goes out to them and I hope to be involved in anything to help.

I got to spend some time with (almost) my whole family in September which does my heart good. Also, I did a performance in Ohio and another in Worcester, MA for one of our favorite radio stations and people who run it. WICN-FM – thank you!

Meanwhile, I was rehearsing with Bruce Barth for our new album which we just recorded last week! Hopefully it will be out in early Spring ‘06. Please keep your eyes and ears open. I’m looking forward to that!

Now onto the Northwest…
I truly hope the best for all of you.
Thank you for listening.