I woke up this morning, and wow, there was sunshine!  In southern California, we coast along with sunny mornings being the norm. Over here, in Europe, by late September, there can be days and weeks of cloudy days. Cool and cloudy, then cold and cloudy. And then comes the snow. After several days of cloudy weather, I found myself reacting to sunshine, just outside the window… and I laughed to myself. That set the tone of things for the day.

The concert hall is almost a 360 degree wrap around audience seating venue. It was at sound check that I realized what a long walk it was going to be from off stage to my set up on stage. But I get there, sit down, and take a moment to thank NDR for this time with them, where I’m learning so much and finding a new me. I love being around so much inspired “playing and soloing”. We stop in the dressing room for an hour, and then it’s show time! For my first number, I start out to cross the stage, on a crutch, with Joe Turano supporting me on the other side, shouting, “Come on, let’s go to Harlem!” Of course, they did not know I was coming out on a crutch, but there’s a slow and gradual increase in applause and shouts, and I realize it’s an acknowledgement of the effort. I sit down on my stool and raise my arms in the fashion of an Olympic gymnastics champion who just stuck the landing, and throwing my arms in the air like they do, in that well known end of routine pose, and I yell, “Ta-daaah!” They recognize it and scream. It’s a great way to begin the night.

Off we go with “Drop me off in Harlem” and Ingolf’s fiery trumpet playing gives them fair warning. And then, bang! Right into Duke’s “I let a Song go out of my Heart,” as a hot little jazz waltz, with a screaming alto solo by Feite. This is probably a new and challenging version of “I let a song” but it is so powerful that it carries you along and it works. It’s just about at this point when I look down at the first row and directly in front of me, there’s a lady who looks like the twin of  Angela Merkel.   I was convinced, and spent a lot of the evening addressing songs and comments to one of the great world leaders.

I rode the wave of that possibility all night long, and made comments to this Dortmund, Germany audience about so many things, like the importance of this national/international treasure, Nord Duetsche Rundfunk Big Band,  Pretty soon, we’re at “Take the A Train,” and close out the first half of an eight song set.

It’s somewhere into the second half that I look up and realize that there are three balconies. The third is so high up near the ceiling, that I hadn’t seen it ’til the lights were just right. And there were people up there. I began to look more toward the balconies during the second half. Frank Delle comes down front and blows the front doors off, with tenor sax at “Beginning to see the Light.” Claus plays the most blue and moody muted trumpet on “I got it Bad and that Ain’t Good”.

The spectrum of the concert takes more shape, and then another surprise, and then we close the evening with some Jarreau standards as encores. This was the seventh time doing this program, and the audience response has been wunderbar. Thank you, God. Thank you, Dortmund. See you in Vienna.

– Al Jarreau

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.