Oslo, Norway – 2015

Oslo, Norway – 2015

So all of a sudden there I was in the middle of the set talking about getting lost while jogging in Oslo in 1977, my first time in Norway. We played Club 7. It came up just a suddenly as this mention here and now. The rest of the story is that it was snowing, I got lost, and I was out for more than an hour and a half until I got a cab ride back and lived to tell the tale last night.

Our promoter, Peter, has done it again. Just like he did in Copenhagen, he found another great place in Norway. It was a big club-like arrangement but with seating this time coming right up to the stage.

Everybody appreciates this cooler weather that we’ve come into up north here in Europe, including Lubeck and Kiel. I still sweated like LeBron, though.

Friends of Larry come to sound check and hang out and talk about a project of theirs on which Larry did some soloing…on tenor sax as well as keyboard. Yea, Larry plays tenor sax real good! And flute! There were three of them and they all play keyboards. One of these guys is a schoolteacher and we immediately start talking about my coming to do some sort of residency for a couple of days. That would be great!

It’s an early start so I get to my dressing room and start warming it up and gearing it up and revving it up. The band has been so good during this summer’s string of dates that the new “worry” is how to sustain that and keep the fire with everybody on point. So we all visualize and picture it and remind ourselves as we go to stage…and it happened again last night. We try to construct some built in pacing to the show that risings and falls in energy and quietness. And here we go…they’re singing along in the chorus.

I don’t believe it! Directly in front of me, center of the audience, are four men. I don’t remember this ever happening in my life. Guys looking like football players! Those seats are almost always occupied by couples or women…girls’ night out. So it made me sing with some different nuances. Cool! A little more intensity is a good thing. Real early on they were placing photographs and album covers on the deck in front of me to sign. Old friends! Who knew?! Pretty soon the whole front of the stage was covered with items to sign. This was wonderful! What a great different kind of perspective to influence and inspire what we did on stage. I know the band sees this and reacts to it just like I do.

We’re affected by them being so close. We’re affected by each other. When the music is slow and funky like the chorus in “My Old Friend” their heads move and accentuate the beat just like they do in that bar on the south side of Chicago. There’s a lady moving her blonde head just like a sista. And our new song, “The Great City”, is kickin’ ass—Bassie style.

Silje is here tonight and I yelled for her. She’s a wonderful, young Norwegian Jazz singer who invited me to sing on her record in 2001, a song called “We should be happier by now” (well we are). Her daughter, who was a baby then, for years has called me “Al Zshashow”. All of sudden there’s Silje with flowers at the front of the stage and pointing to the balcony and I can actually see someone frantically waving their arms at me and squealing.

You must make and take a moment for times like this. It changes everything as an experience for you and your audience. They all heard a million singers with a million songs but they’ll never forget that night when Silje and her daughter were there. They even tolerated me and Sijle struggling our way through an impromptu version of “Teach Me Tonight”.

Mark was explosive again, finding those new moments to really solo. When Larry and Joe stop playing keyboards and pick up their flute or tenor sax it’s really an astonishing and eye-opening moment.

Well things go on and on like this and pretty soon we’ve done almost a half hour more than we should have but the audience is ok. It’s a big satisfying feeling. I should have done a bunch of autographs but we had guests waiting backstage so I’ll say “so long” for now.

See you in Montreux!



Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.