I am posting this from a McDonald’s in Cromwell CT. My hotel is right across the street and they advertised having internet access. They don’t. We have stayed at two Super 8 motels on this trip, and neither has had a consistently functioning internet connection, even though both have advertised that they did. I had a really bad Super 8 experience years ago when I was on the road with Buddy Morrow. I should have learned my lesson then. Oh well, I have learned my lesson now. No more Super 8’s.
The drive to Philly yesterday was ok. It rained most of the way, which was a drag, but the traffic wasn’t too bad. We had dinner at a cool Laotian restaurant with my publicist Matt Merewitz of Fully Altered Media. It was a nice hang. Matt did us right on the food suggestion, and it was nice to interact with him in person, instead of online.
Last night’s gig at Chris’ Jazz Cafe was a bit odd. Musically it went well, and the people that ran the club were nice and seemed to dig what we did. It wasn’t well attended, even though it got a Critics Pick in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Financially it was a bust. We made some money, but I was expecting that gig to carry more of the load. It ended up being less bread than the Hungry Brain, with no CD sales. I am learning that performing in your natural habitat is best, and I am not sure if “jazz clubs” should be our natural habitat. Open minded places that have music seem to work better. I’m not saying the folks at Chris’ weren’t open minded, they really were quite open minded, but that setting of the dark room with silver and glass ware and crisp white table cloths sets up all sorts of expectations for both the audience and the performers. I am finding that removing expectations is a good thing. It lets both the listener and the performer be relaxed and natural.
We are looking forward to tonight’s show at Boney’s Music Lounge in Middletown, CT. Some old and new friends will be there, and we’ll have a chance to get all New Orleans on them. It will be fun.
BTW, what’s up with all the toll booths up here? It cost $22 in tolls to drive from Philly to Cromwell. We have to run through all that again tomorrow on the way back south. This has turned into the Jersey Turnpike tour.
We had a great evening in NY, despite the traffic. 8 toll booths to 2 lanes of tunnel in a couple of hundred yards makes for some odd merging.
We took the Holland Tunnel through lower Manhattan and across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet my old buddy Andy for pizza at Grimaldi’s in DUMBO. We got to the Douglass Street Music Collective and heard a great set by Josh Sinton, and Ayreh Kobrinsky. Then we played to a room full of friends. It is a great feeling when so many of your friends take the time to come hear you play. I’d like to thank Andy, George, Sam, Linda, and Pete for coming out to hear us. When musician friends support you, it is especially rewarding, so I’d also like to thank Steve Swell and Rob Wagner for their presence.
After the gig we had something of a Loyola College of Music circa 1990 reunion at 4th Ave Pub in Brooklyn, which was just around the corner from the venue. It was great to catch up with Andy, Linda, George and Sam. I hadn’t seen any of them in a couple of years, and some of them I hadn’t seen for more than a dozen years. What a blessing to get to make music for, then visit with old friends.
I am looking forward to a short driving day tomorrow as we head to Philadelphia.
Wow. We drove all night, through really crappy weather, and got to our hotel in NJ about 2 PM. We get to sleep a bit before we head to tonight’s show. It reminds me of something Ellis Marsalis said to me, some years ago, as we trudged through an airport with the UNO Jazz Orchestra. “Some people think what we do is glamorous.”
Writing this from Baba Budan’s in Cincinnati. Just played a great gig here. The Cincy crowd was lots of fun. We played a set, then my friend Napoleon Maddox’s band, IsWhat?!, played a set, then we jammed together on some New Orleans tunes. Is was a blast.
We also had a fun gig/hang last night at the Skylark in Chicago. It was great to see some old friends and play some fun music, even if it is really hard to play after eating a Skylark burger.
We are getting ready to drive overnight for our show in Brooklyn tomorrow. East coast here we come.
Our Sunday evening was great. We met Jeb Bishop at Tank Noodle for some excellent Vietnamese food, then headed to the Hungry Brain for the show. There was a nice size crowd and they were very responsive. The Engines played after us, and they sounded great as usual. Ray and I joined them for a final improvisation to top off the night. I have always had great experiences as a player and listener at the Hungry Brain, and last night was no exception.
Day one of the tour went well. We left New Orleans about 5 am, and drove to Springfield, IL. The drive was as fun as a 13 hour drive can be. We had a good gig in Springfield, sharing the show with the End Times Trio. I’d like to thank Frank, Mark, Richard, and Crissie for having us on their series, and sharing some musical camaraderie. We’d also like to thank Crissie for putting us up for the night. It was a great hang.
We drove to Chicago this morning and picked Ray up at the airport. The next stop was Johnnie’s for a great Italian beef, and now we are at our luxurious low budget suburban motel digs, looking forward to a great show at the Hungry Brain tonight.
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