I “landed up” in my hometown Milwaukee yesterday afternoon for a couple of days of playing, teaching, and friends. The highlight and main cause of the trip is to perform tonight in a concert at my alma mater, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, along with a esteemed mentor of mine, the great alto saxophonist Charles McPherson. The rhythm section is the Conservatory’s faculty trio (also part of the WCM’s resident ensemble We Six): jazz department director Mark Davis on piano, Jeff Hamman on bass, and Dave Bayles on drums. A little teaching has been on tap (Brew City metaphor watch!) as well. I did a workshop yesterday with the students from WCM’s newly established Jazz Institute, which I’m predicting great things from and perhaps a ongoing collaboration with (thanks to my instrument company. Yamaha, for support on the workshop). I’ll stay around tomorrow to get a vintage horn repaired at Charlie’s Brass Works, one of the best brass shops in the world (Charlie Melk’s father, Phil, repaired my horns when I was a student at that very same Conservatory 35 years ago!), and jam with a old student of mine, Eric Jacobson, at one of the sweetest little real jazz clubs around, the Jazz Estate.
I love Milwaukee! Even after many years away, it feels like home to me; the people feel the same and I can relate to them so naturally, it’s relaxing. I love to woodshed in the very same rooms in the Conservatory (superbly refurbished a few years ago) that I got my stuff together in all those years ago. Other alumni of the WCM in those years included David Hazeltine, Jeff Chambers. drummer Mark Johnson and his bassist brother Billy.
Having a great time – wish you were there!