Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Patrick, my new assistant, 23 and a half years old, says Tahoe is wonderful. He won at the table ($35.00), met some lovely people, had drinks last night with them, and hit the slopes this morning. He crammed a lot of fun into a short stay, and he’s sitting beside me musing to himself: …wow! From his age, it would still be twelve more years before my first record in 1975.

Yes! Tahoe is a wonderland. Winter, Summer, and the rest. It’s said it before that people visiting fun resort towns make a great audience. Well ANY audience that shows up is a great audience but these folks didn’t work today, hurry home, change, and then hustle through traffic again to get here. They slept in and ordered breakfast in bed and know that it’s ok to get twisted tonight. With all that lined up, we had a ball. Stanley Sargeant on bass soloed beautifully and blew ‘em away. He and Mark Simmons on drums and John Calderon on guitar called ‘em downtown with some funk from someplace else.

I talked about the shushing sound of skiing, and found a little ‘shush’ sound for Walking in a Winter Wonderland choruses. Fun find. Sunlight and chlorophyll. Joe Turano’s Bell Carol arrangement is a winner every time he conducts the vocal entrances. I’m singing, he’s singing, Stanley, John, and Debbie Davis, too. Delicious complexity.

John gets the acoustic out and joins me on a stool down front, and now after screaming all night, he recalls a simple time, just perfect for the “I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain…” Oh yes, let’s go on a journey.

Turano felt it, too, and played a lush ethereal synth pad backdrop for me to paint my way into Take 5. Another fun find!

And when crowd joined in to sing “O Come, let us adore him,” It choked me up and teared me up so completely that I couldn’t sing again ‘til the second verse that actually begins, “Sing, Choirs of Angels!” They sang so sweetly like the children’s church choir.

We closed the night with “Chestnuts Roasting” but there were several voices calling for more, and I signaled the band to go to Brazil with Agua de Beber and Mas Que Nada. The crowd joined in and it was magic.

Merry Christmas, y’all! Thanks for coming. Thanks Harrah’s, and Thank You Elfie backstage! You’re the best!

Love, Al

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