Girona, Spain Jazz Fest

I gotta say it again… Here’s another astounding breathtaking setting for music and whatever else strikes your fancy. Girona is a seaside town with lots of homes on the sides of the hills that slope to the sea, the Mediterranean. This show day morning is gorgeous, and sunny, and happy outside, with a great big evergreen out my window, and beyond that was the Mediterranean that goes on and on forever.

I wouldn’t have expected the setting of the concert venue to be even more beautiful. It was sandwiched between a cliff and a harbor, where private fishing boats and cruisers sparkle in the setting sun, gently rocking up and down with the soft ebb of the tide. These places on the continent where we play, Roman ruins, and natural amphitheaters like this one at the sea, and castles, are just a knockout for us Americans visiting places like Spain where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella came up with some money and ships to sponsor Christopher Columbus’s venture to the edge of the world. To think that many people still believed that such a trip would result in falling off the edge of the world! He didn’t fall off, he landed in America. And here we are.

This is a permanent venue for this jazz festival made of wood and concrete and this is the 51st anniversary of this festival here in Girona. The above says so much about the widespread international love for this really uniquely American art form with slavery at its roots that blossomed into a lotus and magnolia. The lotus flower only grows in the swamp. All Americans should walk tall with pride about this. There are still places in the world today where certain music is banned and cannot be played. Wonderfully, R&B and Rock & Roll came out of those wonderful humble jazz roots.

We huddle backstage and give thanks for this day, this visit, this work, this little family, and this audience, and we hit it… Me and Larry together.

Wow! POLITE! Cool and light. OK! Room to grow! Long show. The band is cooking good, and my smile grows as I see spontaneous smiles out there.  John and Chris play their butts off, and give ‘em plenty to think about. I talked about the list of great bass players throughout history and ended with Paul McCartney and Sting and Larry Graham. I started with Paul Chambers and Ray Brown, and ran the gamut all the way down through Stanley Clarke and Jaco. That was fun. Only three of those guys sing, but none of them like Chris Walker… Here he comes. Hold on to your fedoras.

I tell them John Calderon is my Segovia, my Julian Bream, my Laurindo Almeida, my Eric Clapton, my Ted Nugent. THAT got his attention… Ted Nugent. You should have seen him crack up, his eyebrows almost went up above his hairline.

I try out my new Elvin Jones vocal percussion as I walk toward Mark and his drum kit, and soon we’re skippin’ and poppin’ through Scootchabooty.

Chris and I have found a new front for an old favorite Take Five, and it’s a winner. And, fantastically, Mark is droppin’ their jaws with his little “Church Lady” vocal in the middle of his drum solo. Even though there was a “moat” between us and the first row, I could see bright smiles and nodding rocking heads and shoulders with some good solid hand-clapping, two and four throughout the night.

We’re into encores now, and I pick up the stomping of feet. And out we go again. I took a moment and thanked them for their longtime love of jazz and enthusiastic response. Right! “This is not Mozart. We laugh and dance, and have some fun… I’m gonna go over here with Larry and have some more fun.” We do that for a minute, and then the band reappears, and we pound out our closers and goodnights.

Thanks, Girona, can’t wait to see your shining sea again,


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