Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Estoril Summer Jazz Festival, 2009 - June 27th

photo's by joaofrazao.estudio@gmail.com
The dinner with Paulo Gil, Carlos, Tim Horner and Ro

Estoril was a great experience. My friend Paulo Gil and I reconnecting.
joaofrazao.estudio@gmail.com -photo

The Estoril Jazz Festival has existed for over 35 years. Duarte' Mendonca is the Jazz Afficianado who loves jazz music and has put together great shows for all of these years. He is a delightful man who still has a twinkle in his eye. I loved meeting Duarte and having a chat with him. The bill was filled with great musicians; James Carter, Chick Corea, Christian McBride and more. Kenny Werner and I were billed together and my right and left arms: Tim Horner and Bob Bowen were on bass and drums. This was a cherry on our touring cake after this month, touring South America. I am still awaiting pictures of all of our workshops and concerts for a more complete look on our blog. Soon I should have photo's of Paulo Gil, my heart in Portugal. I love this man. He is a soul mate to me and to all good musicians in Lisbon and ports in the area of jazz. Paulo took Tim, Bob and myself out for jazz and great seafood on our arrival day. Langostino's, Squids, clams and fine Portugese wine - what a great hang, physically and spiritually. I feel very lucky to experience so many great musicians and see so many great sites this past month. I am more inspired than ever before. Thank you's to all who have made a difference for us on our musicial journey.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Club De Jazz DE STGO & Curico, Chile -

We had a great time in Chile. Thanks to Sandra Perroni and Michael Orlansky from the U.S. State Department (Jen and Carrie too) and Danielle Gilson from the Santiago Jazz Club, also Pepe the "Main Jazz Head" in Santiago (more on him later!) and of course Shana Bromberg and Billy Banks from Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Our gigs in Chile, the first was : Curico, we had a total blast in concert at the 50th Anniversary of the Binational Center.

Curico photo

This center is a meeting place for artists and talent and the walls were covered with incredible paintings. We had a two hour lunch and learned about the "Pisco" (a magical Chilean Brandy made in the fourth region). The audience was Great and we had a wonderful ovation and encore from a Very spirited crowd - Thank you!

Our next day work event was a workshop with the ProJazz School Big Band student musicians and four local singers, led by Danielle Gilson ( a fine singer and jazz support in Santiago). The workshops were great, instrumental and vocal. I am waiting for more photo's, but Armeniabar Ñuñoa took photo's of our concert at the Club - Thank you. Augustine, a great local sax player sat in with us. The regular soundman was gone, so our first set suffered bad sound for me and I sang "More Than You Know" without a microphone for my third song and actually got an amazing response from this sophisticated jazz audience. Jose' Hossiason was on the front row (Pepe). He is a world renown jazzhead, journalist, had a radio show, owns every jazz recording and book ever printed, besides the shows he bootlegged (he has photo's on his wall with Louis Armstrong, Basie, Ellington, Diz - on and on)...Wow..
Our second set found us with good sound and Billy Banks back on the PA. Thanks Billy!!
Bob and Joel met and played with many great musicians in Santiago. I hope they will post about them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hello Santiago - Goodbye Quito

Zazu Restaurant in Quito, Ecuador *****
Chef Alex - Amazing!

Beautiful Santiago

Today we left the lovely Le Parc Hotel in Quito at 6:45 am. Tim, Billy Banks and I had an incredible 'tasting dinner' at Zazu, where Chef Alexander Lau blew our minds and taste buds. Luis from the Embassy wanted us to eat at the best restaurant in Quito - thank you Alex for your artistry.

Our day was filled with two flights, another lay over in Lima, Peru and finally we landed in Santiago, Chile. We are on the home stretch! Michael Orlansky, the cultural affairs officer met us at the airport. In 2004, we worked with Michael in Macedonia, so this was a very nice reunion. We're off to Curico tomorrow for a full day, a two 1/2 hour drive and concert and drive back. The band is lucky to be staying in an Intercontinental Hotel for our last 5 days in the amazing city of Santiago. Stay tuned.

Quito, Ecuador - Workshop and Goodbye

The Whole Gang in Quito: Kevin Skillin', Elizabeth Serrano, Pablo our soundman!, The JazzIam Band, Billy Banks
The Workshops in Quito

June 16th - we presented two workshops - one at 10:30 am. and one at 3:30 pm. Our workshops convened at a coffee house across the street from the concert hall. Pablo our soundman set up a little pa. system, electric piano, drums and we were set to go. These workshops were to be 'general -what is jazz? - workshops, but it didn't turn out that way. The room filled with musicians and singers. We played a couple of tunes and opened the discussion for questions. We received many great questions regarding leading a band, what to do if the leader won't let the sidemen solo on his original work?, what should a singer do when her accompanist doesn't listen to her? many great questions and my great band had helpful answers for these young musicians.
I'm waiting for the pictures to post! Until then, here are a few pics from Quito and what a beautiful old city it is.

The Concert in Quito

Teatro Nacional Sucre

I did not have my camera returned from the driver who drove us from Loja to Cuenca. My great photo's of the drive are gone. I am waiting for Embassy personnel and friends and band to give me photo's of the past two days.
We had a great concert at the Teatro Nacional Sucre Theatre on June 15th. This theatre is beautiful, red velvet chairs with balconies like Carnegie Hall. Thankfully we had Pablo the soundman for all of our gigs in Ecuador, which gave the band 'peace of mind' - good sound, a grand piano for Joel and a good mic sound for me, plus good drums for Tim.
A crowd of 400 turned out for our monday night concert. Heather Hodges, the Ambassador of Ecuador introduced us at the concert. The band and I hit the bandstand and played our hearts out. I discovered through questions with the audience that six jazz singers were in attendance. Cathy Elliot is a marvelous jazz singer from New York City who has been teaching vocal jazz in Quito for the past three years and she is growing a lovely crop of jazz singers in this area. I brought all of the singers up on stage at the end of my set and we had a scat fest! Big fun and we ended with one more standing "O" from a great audience.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ecuador - Quito, Loja & Cuenca!

Saraguro ( I bought jewelry there today)
The Road to Quenca from Loja

I left my camera in the car that transported us for 4 hours today from Loja, Ecuador to Cuenca. I felt like I was in a National Geographics documentary. What a beautiful country this is.
We arrived in Quito at 9 pm. after traveling from Montevideo at 10 am. What a long travel day we had. Kevin Skillin from the U.S. Embassy met us at the airport. We were taken to Le Parc Hotel, which is an amazing hotel. Thanks to Kevin for setting us up in this beautiful hotel. Unfortunately the post had planned a 5:45 am departure for Loja. So we were off the next morning with barely 4 hours sleep, after eating and brushing our teeth. A sore throat/cold has been chasing me and these schedules are not good for a singer or anyone else really.
We blindly hit the airport and off we went to the southern tip of Ecuador. This country is absolutely gorgeous. We arrived in Loja with Elizabeth Serrano (a proud Ecuadoran from the Embassy) and off we drove to the Grand Victoria Hotel. This is an enchanting old hotel and we had a wonderful time with the people here. A great soundman - great concert, then off this morning to Quenca. It's been raining and the drive took longer than expected on the mountain roads. You have to see this country to believe it's beauty. When I get my camera back, I'll post pictures that I took of the drive. We had a lovely concert tonight at the Central Bank Museum. I am grateful that we have today off. On monday we fly to Quito for a big concert.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Solis Theatre Master Class/ Goodbye Montevideo

This afternoon we presented a Masterclass in an absolutely gorgeous building called the Solis Theatre. I think they are mainly a classical venue and opera singers perform there. The building is amazingly beautiful.
The Embassy Post staff: Nahir, Lucia and Blanketa copied 20 of my workshop packets and burned the 2 accompanying cd.'s - one vocal jazz history and one that works in tandem with the work packet. We performed three songs and then I took the singers to a separate room. There was over 25 singers in attendance and they were ready to sing and study. We had a Great master class. The instrumentalists taught from 5:30 pm. until almost 8 pm. This was a very rewarding workshop for all involved. Thank you's to the Embassy people who made this event happen.
Off to Ecuador in the morning at 8:30 am.

Concert at the Binational Center / Montevideo

Our whole gang in Montevideo. Billy Banks from JALC in action on his first night in Montevideo. Welcome Billy. For more photos from Vince Alongi go to: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=117492&id=10527233063&l=4519f9fb47

Last night we performed at the Binational Center Theatre. This is a theatre which mostly presents plays. The seats are very close to the audience. Migel the sound man was very patient and Billy Banks from JALC arrived this morning and came along with us. Billy immediately got on the sound board. Billy has run tours, worked at WKCR, has his own company, participated with all of Wynton Marsalis's various tours and programs - a man of experience! Good news for us. As usual, Joel was on a small electric piano-oy. I can tell by his face how happy he is or isn't. We eventually got a good sound and the concert hall was packed with invitee's - Ambassadors from Costa Rica and various places. Singer Maria Noels was there ( I listened to her cd. today - very good). We had a great concert! The lights went out in the second song. I was singing a Kenny Rankin song, making a dedication to him, since he passed away last sunday - then Boom! out go the lights for the whole concert hall! You know my band: we just kept playing! Eventually the lights came back on - all white emergency lights. Then the mic chord went out - we had all kinds of events going on, but we never missed a beat. We did perform an encore and had a blast.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Colonia, Uruguay - Beautiful

The Uruguay Embassy Group (Robin Matthewman, Robert Zimmerman and wife,
Gloria & Sebastian, Tim , Jose', Christian, Nahir Lois, Blanketa & husband, Ro.

Yesterday we hit the road to Colonia. This is a little town, across the Rio de la Plata River. Buenos Aires is about 40 mins. of a boat ride, just across the river. Colonia is a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese lineage. They fought over this land and the 'ish' sound is prevalent in their double ' ll's'. The architecture is filled with Portuguese designs too. This is a lovely town and it was about a 2 hour drive from Montevideo. We started with a lovely lunch in the old town square and started calling the 'soundman' about 3 pm. mmmm Well...he did not arrive with sound equipment until about 5:30 pm. and the concert was to be at 7:00 pm. I waited in my room to receive the call for sound check? Zimmerman and I walked over about 6:30 pm. I knew something was up~! One soundman, an out of tune accoustic piano, a small electric piano, a left handed drum set for right handed Tim - m...am I leaving anything out! ...we had an opening act; Sebastian, Christian and Jose'. Sebastian is a Canadian who connected with Gloria from NYC. (a friend of Will Friedwall?) small world man. I could see the JazzIam was in for a challenge....the opening group sounded great for 20 mins. We hit 'without' a sound check and one lonley Pablo soundman, doing everything. I was ready; we hit...absolutely had a great concert! another "o" and an encore - bap! From the lemons came the sweet lemonade...ahhhh.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Montevideo/ The first day

The drummers, the Great singer and the dancer (her birthday)

Hats off to Robert Zimmerman, public affairs officer in Montevideo - when we landed we were expedited through the airport/ passport control with total ease...Thank you so much for your help Robert! (hey, he's from Teaneck). We immediately felt at home in Uruguay. This is a peaceful country, which is a relief after the heavy security in Colombia. Tonight we went to, El Milongon, a local dinner theatre, which presented the history of Uruguay, dancers, music, Tango and many styles of singing from this region. The dancers were Hot and the drummers were great!

Taca Airlines/ going up and down South America

Taca Airways
Yesterday we waved good bye to our friends in Colombia. We have had an unusual zig zag up and down the continent of South America. Bogota is near the top and now we are near the bottom on the east coast side.
Our flight arrived at 4:15 am. to Montevideo, Uruguay. We changed planes in Lima, Peru again before boarding the second flight. On our early flight, which was dinner time in the U.S., we did not realize that it is lunch for South America, so we laughed when we saw what we thought was dinner. Tim is enjoying his dinner.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Goodbye Bogota -

This was the workshop group at Juan Valdez, plus Clara Lopez (our jazz guru).
We are packing once again. JazzIam had a great concert last night to say farewell to the city of Bogota. We performed at Auditorio Jorge Tadeo Lozano to a rousing crowd. The band was on fire, the show was recorded. We drew a standing "O" and an encore. I brought up three of the college singers from Javeriana University for a little 'Blue Monk' blowing which was big fun.
We are headed to Uruguay today at 5 pm. We will arrive in Montevideo at 4:15 am.? On to a new adventure!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Manizales, Colombia

Clara Lopez is the Jazz 'mom' in Manizales and is making big waves musically for the young musicians futures in jazz here in Manizales.
Clara, Roseanna and Marlene Saavedra.

We arrived yesterday morning to the discovery that Manizales is one of the most beautiful locations in Colombia. It is very San Francisco in it's terrain with deep hills and beautiful views.
We had an incredible concert last night in the beautiful Auditorio Universidad Nacional. They had to turn away 50 people. The audience was great and we had a jam with the local University students afterwards in the concert hall - big fun. Today is a day off - Laundry anyone?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ambassador Brownfields Big Party

Conductor of symphony
Monica Giraldo-Grammy Nom artist - Bob,Tim, Ro, Ambassador Brownfield, musician

Tonight we were presented by Ambassador Brownfield. The Ambassador has an amazing, palacial home fit for a king. On his wall are great black and white photo's of 'Lubbock' Texas. He is another Southern escapee. About 150 important writers, artists, musicians, gallery owners, just a great audience of interesting people were there to perform to and converse with. We started the evening with an interview with a National Newspaper, ElEspectador with journalist Juan Piedrahita. Then on to the bandstand outside. The Ambassador gave a great opening speech and then JazzIam blasted off into a great set of music. We finished and were greeted with cheers for an encore and of course we joyously obliged. Joel, Bob and Tim are sounding fantastic. We're all working on our Spanish. Tomorrow morning we're off to Manizales, which is supposed to be lovely.

Radio Interview on thursday at 2 pm. from Bogota!

Radio, Javeriana University - RadJaveriana io 91.9 FM We headed to the Javeriana Conservatory for an interview which will be played on the internet, June 4th at 2 pm. (we're an hour earlier than NYC here). Go to www.javerianaestereo.com

Batua School Workshop at Ambassador Brownfields

(Claudia-our interpreter and also a lovely singer)
Today was the most beautiful day imaginable here in Bogota. We headed out at 8:30 am. for our security briefing at the U.S. Embassy. Security here is like nothing I have ever seen or experienced. This is a large Embassy with about 4000 employees and if you really need help, they give you a number for the Marines!

Then we had a classic Colombian lunch, with beautiful local soups, shrimps and avocados.
Off to Ambassador Brownfields residence for a workshop with 50 classical students from Batuta school. These kids were all classical musicians. We had another great workshop, four high school singers sat in and scat sang with me and then three of Javeriana's vocal jazz students got up and sang "Autumn Leaves" and scatted very well. Tim has been asked to give a special drum clinic when we come back from Mantizales on thursday. Teaching the kids about jazz and hearing them get it, is the best part of my gig.