Last time I wrote, we were getting ready to play a week at the Blue Note in NYC. We double billed with Anita O’Day the first two nights. I got to meet her and hear her just a little. She still swings like crazy. I read her book “High Times, Hard Times” awhile back and looked all over for it to bring to ask her to sign … she graciously gave me another copy and signed it. I read part of it again – what a life! I admire her tenacity & talent.

Then Thursday through Sunday we played alongside one of my favorite singers and lyricists, Jon Hendricks. What a force he is! I’ve been a huge fan of Lambert/Hendricks & Ross ever since I started listening to jazz. He and his band (along with his wife and daughter) sounded wonderful. I asked him to sit in with us and he did several times. What a thrill for me (and everyone else there)! Would love to do more with him someday. My band sounded good as ever, Danny, Bob and Ron Vincent. The lovely pianist Peggy Stern was with us for the weekend.

I sang a tune on an upcoming Fred Hersh CD – we’ll let you know when that’s out. It’s just him at the piano with different singers. This album is an AIDS benefit CD. What a pleasure to work with him and be a part of that.

Off to Colorado then, to Telluride via Boulder to see a good friend and do some hiking – Beautiful!!! The Telluride Fest was lovely, even with the rain. What a magical place! Also heard some great music there: Cedar Walton, Larry Coryell, Astral Project, and the latin band Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana. A real JAZZ FESTIVAL!! My band – Paul, Danny, Bob and Todd were on fire!

On to Omaha for some family time and also to play a benefit for Habitat For Humanity. My father is on the board and we (all) raised alot of money for this great cause. It’s always special to have family at your gigs too … all my neices and nephew, both sisters, Dad and Ardi plus many good friends. Then, on to Seattle where I also have family – my Mom’s brother who sells CD’s for me when I’m at Jazz Alley along with Bill too. Jazz Alley, one of our favorite venues – along with a great radio station, KPLU-FM … another ‘home’ for us. Pleasure to work with Danny, Todd, Bruce Barth and Jeff Johnson – very groovy band!

Then to San Francisco (maybe I’ll live in that beautiful city someday …) At the Plush Room in the York Hotel. Loved this place! And great to be in ‘the city’ for a week, even took a cable car – charming. Oscar Brown Jr. and Paula West were doing a concert in SF while we were there and they came to our gig. I am a huge fan of Oscar’s and was honored to have him there. He sang with us and knocked everyone out (Paula did too). What an amazing talent he is! Also great to see Wesla Whitfield, Mike Greensil & Orrin Keepnews, among others in the audience.

Was home for a few days, then on to Rochester, NY to record a couple tunes on Clay Jenkins’ new record. He’s one of my favorite trumpet players and I’m honored to be on his new disc (with a great band). Then to the Chicago Jazz Fest after that – another favorite city. Too bad it rained but it was still a thrill to be there and folks were very good sports! Another REAL Jazz Festival!

It’s been great having (taking!) September off. Nice to be in ‘my’ city for more than two days at a time. Got to hear some good things. Among them: Kurt Elling at Birdland, Luciana Souza at Joe’s Pub and saw a wonderful Broadway play – ‘Take Me Out’ -great!

Now off to KC for some rehearsals and see/hear some friends. Then on to Europe. Odd and exciting to think that the next time we perform will be in ROME! Then The Azores! Next, Madrid, Paris and Berlin. Many new places for me. Hope to see you all out and about somewhere. And I’m still hoping for PEACE. Someone said, “MUSIC is everything that War is NOT.” Amen!

Thanks for listening….