Antibes, France – 2015

Antibes, France – 2015

Here I am starring out the window again…daydreaming. I’m singing my vocal warm-ups, viewing my “gratitude thank you’s” again, and soon Sam and I will repack the few things we took out of my bag for this 2 and a half hour stay in the hotel. The venue is right on the beach and we play with our backs to the Mediterranean Sea. You could throw a baseball into the water and a light covering of sand is everywhere under your feet as you move along this semi-permanent structures of the festival backstage. Last night Lionel Richie kicked the butt here and even did a small choir version of “We are the World” (he, Michael Jackson, and Quincy Jones wrote that song). The poster also announced that other nights’ headliners would include Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Herbie, and Carlos Santana.

Our left over energy from Montreux spurs us into this new day that would have us on stage before sun down. It was like a matinee. And I can tell ya, folks, that that is great stuff to be able to see the audience as the sun sets. Right in the front row is a young man with dark hair and dark glasses on who was throwing his head back and forth like rockers in AC/DC. It was delightful! I had to point to him and talk to him, and there were lots of folks in his general vicinity who saw this uninhibited joy and enthusiasm.  And about 4 rows behind him were four teenage girls. Tres jolie (pretty as can be)!  They danced in their seats, too, and when I pointed them out, they giggled and hugged each other.

There was seating at ground level, and bleachers behind that, and also a standing area on the sides and surrounding the venue that was probably free. And these people really shouted and waved and danced with enthusiasm, as is often the case that the really serious fans cannot “purchase” a ticket early perhaps because they are younger or pressed for cash but willing to stand outside the barriers—just so happy to be there! They dance all night long with every opportunity they get to groove hard. Sometimes you sing and play to them.

Our promoter, who has hired us for lots of dates with us over the years, in the South of France introduced us to begin the concert, and came back on stage with the mayor (AMAZING) after our last song to present me with a special framed poster honoring my many years with this festival. I should be prepared for moments like this but I always stumble around trying to find something appropriate to say and this time managed to give a special thanks to France and the south of France for keeping this music alive. Thank you Jean-Rene!

Eldred Ellis for the Half Note Club is here. Fantastic! He just saw John Hendricks, 93 years old, in two or three different venues in NYC in the last six months and will visit John’s daughter, Michelle, in Paris this weekend. Michelle is carrying on her dad’s tradition and is an extraordinary jazz singer—seasoned, polished, and burnin’. I send my love.

A month ago, this point in the tour seemed as far away as Pluto. And now here we are with five concerts left. We’ve had some aches and pains (I’m not the only one), but we’ve pushed right on through rediscovering our purpose and ourselves again.

See you in hot Torino!



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