Well, dear reader, we are deep in the middle of winter but my road took me south to North Carolina and then on to southern California and Hawaii in January with some wonderful musical experiences.
Saturday January 10th, my fourth year as jazz artistic director of the JazzLive series at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, North Caro-lina started with a wonderful performance by the great trumpet player Jim Ketch,
Jim is also jazz director at the University of North Carolina and has been very influential and involved with jazz education. Also on this con-cert we had the swinging bassist Jason Foureman and a wonderful young drummer, Kobie Watkins. The theater was sold out for this per-formance and I am proud to say, word is spreading and the audience is growing with each concert.
The very next day, I boarded a plane to Los Angeles LAX airport and the next day was invited to do a jazz master class at the Orange County School of the Arts. My good friend Howard Alden, a word-renowned guitarist, joined me for this. We had eighty students present for a really exciting class. The students astounded me with their perceptive ques-tions and interest in jazz. The school (OCHSA) is an amazing place that now has over 800 students, gifted not just in the arts but in academics and even now has a cooking school. More schools should emphasize the arts because it has been shown that students who participate in arts pro-grams do better academically. Enough said.
From there, the next day I wound up in Palm Springs for a concert at the Rancho Mirage Public Library.
This would be my third performance at their concert room performing on a marvelous nine-foot Steinway. Howard Alden again joined me and I also had the pleasure of having the great bassist Jim Del Julio and tasty drummer Roger King join me as well.
The room holds 250 people and we had some standing due to the huge turnout. I love playing at this venue and of course, being in Palm Springs in the middle of winter is not a bad thing at all. I am waiting to see the video of the concert.
The next day I did the hour drive to Temecula California (a historically restored turn of the century town in wine country) to perform at The Merc for Jazz. This venue is run by a wonderful vocalist, Sherry Wil-liams, who is totally dedicated to bringing jazz to the area. Again we had the quartet and again, the room was full of local jazz lovers.
I always give great credit to anyone who works hard to bring jazz to areas where there is none and Sherry deserves a lot of credit for this.
Onward to Honolulu Hawaii the next day…a 5 hour flight from Los Angeles.
This was my first time there and no question, I will be going back next January.
I performed at the Atherton performance space, which is run by the wonderful people at Hawaii Public Radio. Again, a sold out concert (they had to turn people away) had me performing with another wonder-ful guitarist, Doug MacDonald. Doug is a lyrical, swinging player and we really play well together.
The next day Doug and I performed at the Kahala Hotel, unexpect-edly…and it was delightful.
A planned event was the jazz master class I did the next day at the Uni-versity of Hawaii in Honolulu with a very talented young piano student who got everything I was showing him immediately. Professor Jonathan Korth is the head of the music program at HU and a very fine classical pianist.
I did have time to meet George Nellas, owner of PianoPlanet and a major Steinway dealer in Honolulu. George treated me to playing the nine-foot Steinway at the gallery and invited me back next year.
The tour ended with a short plane ride and a day in Maui, an island of extreme beauty. There I met Phil and Angela Benoit, a lovely couple who perform jazz standards in Maui.
Well, dear reader, returning to the cold north, I am definitely returning to California and Hawaii next year…what can be bad???
Aloha and Mahalo nui…. (greetings and thank you so much)
Your Road warrior, Lenore, The Swinging Fox.
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