Anyway, I am writing from 28,000 feet. Just got on a connecting flight out of Philadelphia. I managed to get my horn in the overhead bin on this one. The first flight, from La Guardia to Philadelphia, presented more a challenge for my Pro-Tec tenor sax case. As I was boarding I was stopped by a ground crewman in a bright rubbery-looking yellow jump suit who assured me there was no way that case was going to fit in the overhead. I assured him right back “I have been flying for 25 years and have NEVER had a problem getting my case in the overhead.” “Yeah, but have you ever flown a Dash-8 before?” he snapped back handing me yellow claim tag, that perfectly matched his outfit. Now, the only small-plane name I can remember was the Fokker 50, which, after boarding in France last summer, cats in the band were constantly yelling out things like “I hope they get this Fokker off the ground” and “Wow, this Fokker goes fast.” But the Dash-8 was new to me. Got on the plane and of course the horn did NOT fit in the overhead. The man in the yellow suit appeared and said “Hey, man, it’s not a full flight - you can just put it under the seat behind you. I used to play the alto in high school, so I know what it means to be transporting a delicate instrument.” And with a quick smile he was gone.
I am on my way to Cincinnati to play the Constella Festival, a new music festival run by violinist Tatiana Berman. I will be performing a premier of a piece commissioned by Ms. Berman. She and I met about a year-and-a-half ago at a reception held backstage after performing Portrait in Seven Shades with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It was at this reception that we started talks about a commission piece. Talks continued, concepts were decided upon, time has passed, and here we are - three days from the premier.
I am very excited to hear the music - a work in three movements I call Suite Ivette. It is written for the same instrumentation I used on my recording (and ring tone!) Rhyme and Reason: string quartet, sax, vibes, piano, bass and drums.
The next 72 hours will be very active: rehearsals, education, sponsor dinner, radio interviews and concerts. The premier will happen at the end of these very full days, on October 29th. The venue is the Blue Wisp, a great jazz club that I last played more than 20 years ago with my quartet. This was my absolute very first gig with pianist Frank Kimbrough, a story perhaps deserving it’s own blog.
I am looking forward to meeting and playing with the musicians who will join me to be part of this new music. By the way, in addition to the premier on the 29th, we’ve added a gig the night before, also at the Wisp, with just the jazz quintet - no strings attached.
For more information, visit the Constella Festival web site: