Europe In July Wrap Up

July 26th, 2010

I’m luxuriating in a couple of days of rest and comparative indolence after returning from more than three weeks on the road in Europe, quite a saga and the longest I’ve been out for a good while. My last post chronicled the first part of the tour, with Eddie Palmieri and then a special appearance with Orlando “Maraca” Valle’s Monterey Project. Instead of an attempt at a chronological narrative or rundown of the second half of the trip (days in Paris and another stint with Palmieri), I’d like to share a few thoughts that have emerged from the overall tour experience.

It’s a beautiful thing to be together with folks you know, trust, and love making music and seeing the world with. Even when things get funky (not in the musical sense), you come out enriched for the shared experience, and the music always yields a rich harvest. Thank you Eddie Palmieri, for making it possible. Thanks to Eddie Palmieri the 2nd for making it happen in real time. And thank you to Jose Clausell, Luques Curtis, Yosvany Terry, Little Johnny Rivero, and Louis Fouche for making the bandstand a inviting and invigorating place. Even after all these years of being on the stage with Eddie, it’s still a fresh challenge every night. That’s what keeps us all going out there dealing with the road in order to do it…..

Eddie’s band played really well throughout both the tours this month. Our sound was a little different on the second half of the tour; Luques left his travel bass at home and used full size basses at each venue, which worked out well; the more natural sound of the bass inspired Eddie to go for the acoustic piano more over the keyboard, I think. This can be tricky since it’s very hard to get the regular piano to cut through enough to dominate the way it needs to in the music we play. While it wasn’t always a walk in the park to get the mix right, overall I enjoyed the sound a lot. Like I said, everyone played their butts off, every gig. We had a couple of strange experiences; in one venue (which I won’t mention) the presenter’s representative and venue staff had the weirdest sort of animosity going on like I’ve never seen – they even counted the towels after the gig! It reminded me of some of the stuff we used to see in Art Blakey’s band- I thought that kind of stuff didn’t happen any more! Guess again, son.

I really dug having days off in Paris in between Maraca’s gig and Palmieri II. Saw a bunch of friends, had lunch with Phil Woods, who also had a few days off before playing in Paris, met with Herve Sellin and started planning our project. Had some good typical Parisian meals, and one crazy one, the signature dish at Le Pied au Cochon:

Had a lot of fun hanging out, playing trumpets and listening to our hero Woody Shaw with my buddy Mike Missiras. Let’s do that project, Mike! Took long walks in the morning and got on the subway a lot. Got to know the city a little better again and I hope to have some more experiences in and of the City Of Lights (am I getting that right?) soon.

It’s a blessing to be able to play music together with great players in front of folks who appreciate it. That’s always the pay off.

Here’s a little clip of one of my solos with Eddie from the tour – “In Walked Bud”.

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