Thursday, May 21, 2009

Almaty, Kazakhstan Concert

On April 23rd. we caught an early morning flight to Almaty. This is when I met one of my favorite Embassy personnel, Leila Aitmukhanova. Leila is very soft spoken and patient, an important virtue. We also met the amazing Jazz torch organizer, Karla Makatova. Karla is a human tornado, she started the Jazz Festival and she is a force of nature. We checked into a lovely Hyatt and prepared for an afternoon sound check at the beautiful Palace of Youth Concert Hall. This was the best sound that I experienced on this tour. Mr. Zaripov, who runs the program at the school has a great jazz band (he is a trumpet player) and his daughter Valentina is a budding jazz singer. The school big band played an hour and half before our show and they were great. It is always inspiriing to hear other jazz soldiers around the world - we are family.
We played a beautiful set and Ambassador Hoagland was on the front row. He had flown in to announce us in this concert and we thank him so much. Later Gabrielle Guimond from the embassy accompanied us to a jazz club, jam session and we had a great time with her too.