Cape Town, South Africa 2015

Hi you guys,

Cape Town, South Africa…WOW! I think I must say this really often but I’ll say it again: I wish you could have been there with me. Anyone anyone anyone who has ever been here surely walks away saying what a wonderful, beautiful city and location. I have to come back and bring everybody I know. Places like this on a warm coastline waterfront are typically so crowded and bustling with nervous energy that for many folks it can be a turnoff. Here there’s something more relaxed and comfortable but far beyond that is the friendly and joyous spirit of the people. And if you look closely you can see an infectious kind of joy and hopefulness of the mind and heart that causes and friendliness and truly welcoming spirit that makes the work “hospitality” seem jaded and inappropriate. There’s a spring in their step and expectation of “good things to come” that ought to be packaged and sprinkled all over the world. Somebody will surly say, “Well of course, look what they’ve been through!” And my response to that in as light hearted and not heavy of a fashion as I can be is if it had not been for the grace of God you or I could have been through all of that. Exactly exactly exactly! And that’s the reason for you and I to be grateful and gracious and happy about every new breath of fresh air.

These are the thoughts that I had as I got into the car to the airport…festival staff smiling and happy trying to do any and everything to make us more happy and comfortable. It was not at all lost on me that these were brown skin people just like me who have found something special…some joy and gratitude for life and breath at the moment and big expectations about the future.

This is the 16th year of the festival and I’m real late to the party. But another part of me says it’s just the right time in my life to have a new expansion of my audience and wouldn’t that be wonderful for it to be South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa.

So I’ll return in a heartbeat. After all, if your audience is happy and singing and clapping you’ve got to be thrilled…and I am!

We had a great press conference chat with some very insightful press and jazz people the day before the show. As a matter of fact I continued to be amazed at traveling, for instance, to Poland or France or Germany or Italy and finding some real burning hot beds of jazz with high enthusiasm for its special attributes and qualities.

Oh by the way, I’m going to include the lyric for a song that the band and I wrote especially for South Africa. It appeared on the “All I Got” album in 2002 but ended up being basically unheard and that’s kind of a bummer because we worked really hard on this song it’s got a lot of nice moments and elements. At the press conference I handed out lyrics to this song and apologized for not being aggressive and forward enough in announcing “Jacaranda Bougainvillea”.


Oh what a dream, Oh what a story.

Don’t have to weep, Come and enjoy a smile.

Opening scene is just like a doorway.

Here’s a story, in rhythm and rhyme.

There is a tree on the street and in the forest.

Lavender dream whispered a poet.

Bright potpourri. The envy of orchids,

When it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine.

Jacaranda tree and the Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, that garden that you made,

Is a vision of the prayer, you must’ve been prayin’ everyday.

Sweet Azaleas, every color every kind.

And the first and the last are all divine (are God’s design).

There is a dream of the trees and of the flowers.

There is a season of peace at the borderline…

Where we’re redeemed and history will crown us.

Jacaranda tree and Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, would you say that it’s alright?

When the children play they always say, they say that we were like

Cinderella, in your garden there’s a shrine,

To the first and the last they’re all divine.

One and all, big and small, a common birth.

Each and every child for all his worth.

Take the one who’s always last and make him first.

Take these seeds. Seed the earth.

Comin’ along,

Oh what a long way we have come.

Comin’ along,

Makin’ a home for everyone.

Comin’ along, way down South in Africa

Look at the Jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea

So much to say!!! I’ve never talked about three South African brothers (really blood brothers) who lived with me, Susan, and Ryan back in the late 1990s.We had so much laughter and fun that my grin still hurts. One of those guys is a record executive at Universal Music.

On another note, I’m also grateful these days, thoughtfully putting little tick marks on my calendar as we complete another on-stage performance. I’m talking to myself, especially my legs, like some crazy man. I’m almost tweeting and texting and shouting at my legs to keep on pushing. “Come on guys, it’ll be alright.”

Ok we’re off to London to visit Ronnie Scott’s for two nights. Amazing! My first gig in London was at Ronnie’s in the mid 1970s. I was already in love with this world famous jazz room because of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross jazz vocal trio who played there in the late 50s and 60s. Around a year ago I played a two-night stint with a London horn band doing a top to bottom performance of the 1983 Jarreau album.

This relationship with Ronnie’s is really special. I cherish it and appreciate it being kept alive. This is rare stuff.

Ok I’ll be back to you shortly!



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