Timisoara 7/10/14

Timisoara, Romania. Pronounced “Timmy-shwarah”

It’s Friday morning. The night after our show and there’s a wonderful slowly falling warm summer rain. From my window, which looks out onto the city square and the performance stage, it seems to be out of a 19th century painting of a Paris street scene. Colored umbrellas, sidewalk cafes, rain slick streets, people looking in shop windows, and bareheaded lovers quickly scurrying across the stone streets. If it sounds warm and idealistic, let me assure you it was! Maybe it’s because I found a much needed 3 day break in the heated action. It’s been non-stop for me since late October when we decided the “My Old Friend” celebration of George Duke was a definite yes. A true delight, as I’ll continue to describe it going forward from here, but an immense undertaking of new learning, writing, and several live performances. So this little break in the action has been a very welcome moment. But we did analyze and make changes in the new summer set list.

All night from stage I talked about cozy, comfort, gentle, sweet and kind, and hurried, yes, romantic. A brand new festival just born two years ago is where we played. Terri Lynn Carrington Mosaic the night before. But the concept here obviously is to mix the traditional with new traditions where Jazz meets contemporary hip/hop influenced R&B structures. This has always been the first commandment and calling card of Jazz that is bebop with new direction forged by young jazz players who emerged from the big bands. Fusion jazz itself was the mixing of bebop virtuosity with rock n’ roll and R&B of that day. Jazz has always commanded the listener and the player to be alive and stay alive in his environment and musical setting. I saw this reach (for it) in this brand new festival. I congratulated the audience and festival organizers on this beautiful achievement. And guess what, boys and girls, I have a whole bunch of new ideas. Check out the ending of “Backyard Ritual”. It begins percolatin’ syncopatin’.

The band played with inspiration. We listened to each other with bigger ears and sensitivities playing off of this moment’s nuances. Mark, John, and Chris were a trio unto themselves and played with undeniable unity of expression. Then along came Joe Turano and kicked everybody’s ass when he started a mournful solo whaling on the alto leaving his keyboard and wandering across the front of the stage finally coming right up to Larry Williams, who played two or three sustained keyboard ethers. It made me sing “Teach Me Tonight” real new.

This new audience definitely did get it (if slowly) that a lot of this is toe tappin’, hip shakin’ music and it’s ok to be that way. When I noticed 5 or 6 people tentatively making their way down the middle isle from the back, I screamed, “Yea, alright! Come dance!”

In refreshed conclusion, it was just delightful to meet this new group of Jazz enthusiasts, from Andrea at the airport who organized some press with Altia and Mimo to young Norbert who I encouraged to keep going for it. He can become a new force for good, live music on into the future. I told them I’d come back tomorrow! Let’s do it at the Opera House and the museum, too. Maybe duo.

Off we go to the North Sea Jazz Festival. See you in Rotterdam!


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