Wow! What a way to spend a week. We had a great time out on the road celebrating the release week of Riverside, performing in New York, Boston, Quebec City and Toronto. Getting to see and hear how the music changes from night to night and venue to venue is always the most exciting part for me. Since much of the music features free improvised sections (especially Dave’s tunes), the vibe can be so different night to night. We also noticed how much a venue can play into this, and specifically, the sound on stage.
As for playing with these incredible musicians, the energy was something that never lacked. I’m pretty sure that Dave is part superhero. During the many talks I had with Steve, we talked about how sometimes you forget how hard an instrument like the trumpet can be because Dave plays it so well and with unparalleled energy, focus and communication. You really get the feeling that there’s no barrier between what he can think up and then execute. Steve and Jimmy provided a wonderful combination of support and adventurism to every tune we played. Steve is such a master of playing in the setting of “one foot in, one foot out” that when you play you feel like you can just hop for the ride and take the wheel for a while. Jimmy also loved to play this way and a lot the music sets up well for this type of playing. He played his butt off every night!
Another talk I had with Steve was about that awesome feeling after the gig when you’re so elated but can’t remember a single thing that you played. We agreed that it probably means that you never tried to force anything or make that conscious decision to tell yourself “now I’m going to play this cool thing that I practiced all week.”
On April 14 and 15th we had the pleasure of welcoming Andy Clausen to the Jazz Standard on the trombone as a special guest. Andy is an outstanding young trombonist who also works at Greenleaf Music. I am looking forward to the next time I get to play with Andy. He will be playing the role of the bass but covered on trombone July 16 with Riverside in the Dolomites in Italy.
All in all, it was a heck of a way to spend a week–filled with great times on and off the band stand, pleasantly smooth travel days and good meals. I can’t wait to get back out for the summer festival season.
See you out there,