March 2009

March 4th, 2009

It’s a fairly busy month for me performance wise. My travels take me to the Jersey Shore (or near there), Arizona, Spain and France, while I’ll also be enjoying an engagement at a premier NY jazz club in the company of one of the legends.

I’m looking forward to a reunion with my longtime compatriot David Hazeltine this coming weekend when I perform with the group One For All as part of the Jazz @ The Point festival in Somers Point NJ. That’s on Friday, March 6th. The next night (Saturday, March 7th), my own Spheres Of Influence quartet (Rick Germanson, piano; Essiet Essiet, piano; Justin Brown, drums) will take the stage at The Inlet as part of the same jazz weekend. Next, off to the University Of Arizona – Tucson on the 10th and 11th, to conduct workshops and perform with the University Jazz Band. An early morning flight back to NYC will hopefully get me to Columbus Circle in time to take the stage with jazz icon Phil Woods and his Quintet for the opening night of a four night run (March 12-15) in Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center. This spring I’m celebrating my 17th year as a member of the Phil Woods Quintet. The music’s still fresh every time out! Later in the month I hit the road with Phil as we journey to Europe to present a tribute to the “Little Giant”, the great saxophonist Johnny Griffin, who left us last year. We’ll be performing in Barcelona (Mar. 26) and Marciac, France (Mar. 28) with a crack European based rhythm section including the wonderful drummer and US expat Doug Sides.

One of the joys of living in NYC is the opportunity to play with some of the world’s greatest musicians with the ease of walking out your door and down the street. One of those musicians is the legendary drummer “Killer” Ray Appleton, who was a mainstay of one of Freddie Hubbard’s 1960s groups, as well as playing and recording with giants such as Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane. Ray was a mentor of mine as a young man in Milwaukee, during his sojourn there around the turn of the ‘80s. Ray is putting a group together these days and I’d suggest you check him out if you have a chance; he’s the real deal as far as swing is concerned! I’ll be making the scene with him whenever my schedule permits. The first opportunity will be at Creole on 3rd Ave. and 118th St. in Manhattan on March 19th. Come on by!

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