Well, Dear Reader,
Winter is upon us full blast, but I managed to get away to sunny warm climes in January and had a wonderful tour in California.
With a jazz beginning of the New Year on December 31 I performed in Raleigh, North Carolina for their yearly “First Night” celebration. The entire town closes down except for entertainment events that are open to families.
I had a wonderful time performing with two great musicians…JIMMY MNGWANDI on bass and PETER INGRAM on drums. I met Jimmy performing in South Africa in August at the Joy of Jazz festival in Johannesburg and we hit it off right from the start. When he told me he was going to be living in the United States, I was happy to ask him to perform with me New Year’s Eve. The venue was in a church…wonderful acoustics, of course and we filled the house with jazz lovers of all ages. I am always happy to see young people enjoying the mu-sic. We need to expose children to more jazz and less of the violent mu-sic they are hearing these days. I travel internationally often to include jazz workshops as well as introductions to jazz to young audiences. If they hear it, they like it. If anyone has some creative ideas as to how we can get more youngsters to listen to it, I would be glad to hear from you!! You can e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you are doing, or would like to do in that respect. Perhaps we can coordinate something together.
The first week in January I was happy to be in southern California where the temperatures and bright sunny days were delightful. This tour was dedicated to my idol OSCAR PETERSON and With my good friend and wonderful guitarist HOWARD ALDEN we started off the tour in Rancho Mirage at the library. This is no ordinary library, howev-er. The concert room has a 9-foot Steinway grand piano (wonderful!!) and an enthusiastic jazz lover VICTOR HAWKINS, who has promoted the jazz concerts there and very successfully. We had a “standing room only” audience that wouldn’t let us off the stage. This was a really nice way to begin a tour.
The next evening, after a short drive to Temecula, California, Howard and I enjoyed performing at Jazz at the Merc. This is a lovely, intimate venue, very much like the old jazz clubs in Europe where the audience is really close enough to catch all the nuances of a great jazz perfor-mance where the players really communicate.
We were joined by bassist JIM DE JULIO on this performance. Jim has played with a “who’s who” of jazz…HANK JONES, PAUL SMITH and many more. He is a strong player with a heavy bottom sound…just what I like. Vocalist SHERRY WILLIAMS, herself a marvelous singer, has been organizing these concerts for years and they are always sold out.
Continuing on, the next afternoon both Howard and I enjoyed doing a jazz Master Class at the Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. The students were totally dedicated to the music, asked interesting questions, and when we were done, the bass student and saxophone stu-dent asked me if they could play Charlie Parker’s tune Anthropology with me.
Of course, I was happy to do that!! That evening we performed for the fund-raiser at the school and again, had a sold-out concert. Joining on this was JIM DE JULIO on bass, excellent drummer MATT JOHNSON, and the head of the jazz department, tenor saxophonist DAN ST. MAR-SEILLE. BUBBA JACKSON from the jazz station KJAZZ was the very able Master of Ceremonies for this concert.
Heading north to Los Angeles the next evening, we performed at the Radisson Hotel. The room is set up like a dinner show and we had a full house again. With CHRIS COLANGELO, a marvelous bassist from Los Angeles and ROY McCURDY on drums, this was a wonderful way to wind up the tour. Roy spent years touring with CANNONBALL AD-DERLY and what a great player he is!!! Presenter MERLE KREIBICH has done a wonderful job organizing jazz venues in southern California and I am really looking forward to going back next January.
Well, dear reader, the tour ended but as always I will remain on the road. Coming up in New York City on March 12th I will be with the renowned guitarist JACK WILKINS and bassist KELLY FRIESEN at Midday Jazz in Midtown in New York City. It happens at St. Peters Church every Wednesday at 1PM…54th Street and Lexington Avenue so if you happen to be in NYC do stop in and say hello. The always en-tertaining vocalist/pianist RONNY WHYTE hosts this event.
We will meet again on the road of jazz. Hoping for an early spring…I remain Your Road Warrior
e mail me with any ideas or thoughts you have about jazz education for young people. email@example.com www.lenoreraphael.com