Rome – 2015

Rome, Italy – 2015

I haven’t mentioned the heat yet but it’s been a monster.   We’ve managed to escape that beast by indoors on some of these dates. Even the hotels have been hot and uncomfortable at times for sleeping. So here we are at a shopping plaza but it’s also a genuine outdoor venue…and it’s steaming.

From the start it is obvious that a lot of these people are old, traditional Roman friends of Al Jarreau. “Maestro”! They’re talking to me…I’m very flattered. But they mean it and it’s sincere and, in fact, it’s how they would address Pavarotti or Mick Jagger or Herbie. It’s really quite touching. Italians are deeply sentimental and warm of heart.

You should’ve heard the one or two little improvised lines I asked them to sing during Larry’s introduction to “Your Song” by Elton John. It’s a nice surprise for everybody to start the evening in that quiet way.

Pretty soon they’re singing “and touch the face of God” and then “I need somebody”. New venue or not, these are old friends—enthusiastic and unashamed. It’s like a pep rally. They’re really young, too. I’d say under 30 years old. When you really think about it that’s pretty amazing, and it is so often the case here in Italy and on the continent. They didn’t get the message that this music is irrelevant for them and their friends and their generation.

And I’m starting to get really comfortable and quite active from a stool at center stage. I can lean in a certain way and almost do dance step kicks in the air like Fred Astaire. Back in Venice, Joe Turano played one of the most beautiful tenor sax solos in a ballad that’s ever been played anytime anywhere, and tonight he stayed on it again.

I’m really amazed that we keep finding ways to reinvent old goodies like “Roof Garden” and “Take Five”. You’ll see…we’re coming to your neighborhood soon. Let me close by just saying we’re playing like a refreshed, new family unit. We’re seeing it, aware of it, and enjoying it.

Thank you, Rome. Thank you, Italy. Here we come, Germany!



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