St. Mortiz, Switzerland – 2015

St. Moritz, Switzerland – 2015

St. Moritz. Dracula Club. We’ve played here one other time before…only once. But this venue and location is so rare that you find yourself thinking about it a lot. At the moment, we’re descending back down the Alps here in Switzerland and we’re looking at unbelievable mountain ranges and evidences of geology that is mind blowing. One changing visual after another. It’s dizzying.

Ok let’s get back to the Dracula Club. The guys who organized this club were part of an Olympic bobsledding team who continued to bobsled long after competitions. But the unbelievably wild thing is that they found a way to bobsled at night, especially late at night. And somehow, the term “Dracula” came into play. Amazingly they were serious jazz lovers and did the almost unthinkable thing of building a restaurant/club/performing venue. It’s cramped and tiny but that’s the magic. People sitting on the floor close enough to reach out and touch them. I don’t know another club like it in the world. There’s even a balcony in this room that is about 20 yards square.

You just don’t forget this. The people love the music and they’re super precious about this setting. And they are right.

As a performer, it’s a lead pipe cinch in this setting. So, once again, when our outfit took the “stage” (that’s right—same level as the people) and gave it to ‘em the same way we do at the Hollywood Bowl with all the bells and whistles, you make “friends” real fast and they ask you back. We were here 24 months ago, but now we’re back with a new program of music and the surprise and near astonishment is real visible. Huge grins with eyes darting back and forth from one soloist to another in the band. They were singing along a lot and I love it because it never interrupts the serious soloing and playing of the band but rather brings them in and makes them performers themselves (with us). Somehow this is happening on this tour more than ever before. It’s got me grinning right now.

We’re popping and sparking and Mark has them astonished. They are so very close to this kind of intensity with its “right now” improvisational freshness. A balcony in a place this small is so unique as to make you think of the coziness of a loft. Where are the pajamas and potato chips?!?

We did a little more than an hour and a half but could have played all night long. They were yelling for more! Christian and the other club personnel were laughing and grinning…and so were we. When we left, I was surprised to see the rain. There had been a pretty good little downpour and I immediately thought, “They came out anyway.”

As we were leaving I had this little tugging regret that I couldn’t do the most natural thing in the world in this situation, which is to stay and hang out with the people in this restaurant/bar. That’s what I used to do. But these days my legs and back don’t like that so I head back to the hotel and enjoy the thunder and rain in my room.

As I said earlier, we’re descending down this glorious mountain with little villages and I keep thinking somebody’s going to pinch me and I’m going to wake up from this amazing dream. This doesn’t happen to kids from Milwaukee from the other side of the tracks. I was just talking to my sister, Rose Marie, about all of that just yesterday.

Well, we’re going to do this one more time on this tour in Munich tomorrow. Then we’ll go home. Thank you, God! This was wonderful!



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