Al in London’s Hyde Park July 14

Hi you guys. It’s London. Monday afternoon, sun is shining, it’s gorgeous, and that only begins to describe this occasion in wonderful glorious Londontown.

Yesterday, I sang with the band at the British Summertime Music Festival in Hyde Park. This weekend’s lineup included The Rolling Stones, J. Lo and Lionel Richie- a huge presentation which I was thrilled to be a part of. Everyone I’ve talked to has heard me say that our performance yesterday afternoon was rare and dreamlike. I would take it as the standard for everything I’ve ever done and will do on a stage. There’s something very special about a group, an orchestra, playing pre-written and pre-arranged music, everything from Mozart to Moody Blues. But. There’s nothing near as exciting as an audience who is also the performer. And sings along, nods their heads, and dances on their feet or in their seat. I don’t think it is sacrilege to say that this is close to “church.”

Now that’s amazing! Wonderful musicians inspired by the moment to do the best thing that really fine jazzers and contemporary artists do, rock and roll included. And that is to be in the moment. In short, that is to not play yesterday’s solo, but to stand there today with your brand new feelings, with a brand new audience, and be inspired by those feelings to play the music of a new moment in time. And when the audience sings along and does a call-and-response with the band on stage, you’ve got some pretty great stuff going on. And that’s what I mean by “church.”

So it’s Monday now. Another new bright sunny day in Londontown, which can be cold and foggy this time of the year, with everybody heading out of town to sunny Italy or Spain. It feels like Sunday again to me. The city has the atmosphere of a bazaar with wall-to-wall people in comfortable summer attire…

Thank you, London, and to all my family at Ronnie Scott’s and at Marshall Arts, and of course to my fabulous band that just kicked ass yesterday. I’ll write next from Batumi, Georgia in Eastern Europe: ex-Soviet Union.


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