Wiesen, Austria

I’m just so deeply digging this Zawinul connection. Erich Zawinul, our promoter of many years, is the late great Joe Zawinul’s son. OK, at the risk of being over-elementary, Joe founded the group Weather Report with Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius. Joe was born in Vienna and studied classical piano and the classical approach. But he was a jazzer at heart and went to Berklee School of Music in Boston, and soon after joined Cannonball Adderley and wrote the jazz standard “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” and of course later he wrote “Birdland.” Wow, I’m just realizing that some of you guys may not know “Birdland.” Easily as important as “Five” or “Spain.” Joe and Erich.

Anyway, here we are again with Erich at Nova Jazz & Blues Festival, with thousands of people in the afternoon sunshine and moonlit evening. “Supermoon” these months!

Last time Erica Badu was in the next door trailer. This time we shared the day with Cody Chesnutt, Marla Glen, and Jamie Cullum. A mini-fest. Just set up and hit it. No sound check. We get a few songs into the set, and out comes Diodato to join me in our hit song, “Double Face.” This is when you really miss the opportunity to soundcheck. We’d never played this song together at the same time. But it works because we both played the song in our own separate contexts, so that it’s almost just a question of who solos where. And the audience really likes this mixing of artists, right there in front of them.

Everybody comes early to say hello and hear each other and play and cheer from the side lines. In festivals in Europe, it’s standing room only. Shoulder to shoulder and back to belly to back to belly with the electricity and emotions moving at light speed from person to person.
We all do our shorter jazz fest sets, making the chance for the audience to hear lots of artists. Although the time on stage was a little rushed, this time we arrived unusually early at the site, and actually chatter with Marla Glen and Cody, and Jamie. Back stage is buzzing and great catering, too!

Oh how lucky and blessed and given to have an audience for this music like we have today and still be getting calls from promoters to come and do this special music. This is the kind of communication that passes through every artist when they come and play a festival like this or when they continue to tour on their own. Erich is a serious member of our team. At the end of the night, we do hugs all around, and promise to keep on meeting like this.

See you in Neckarsülm, Germany, at the Audi factory!

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