The year… quickly waning…

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning, December 3rd. Still trying to navigate my own website after a year and a half and be more active with this ‘blog”. Technology and I are still at odds more often than not.  Hard to believe the year is quickly waning before our eyes. SO much happened this year in reflection, just wanted to express my gratitude for all I have accomplished, experienced and had the opportunity to share in the year. It’s easy to complain (so many of us tend to wallow in eternal frustration and disappointment) but more fulfilling and inspiring to reflect and embrace the positives. It extends our lives, brings joy and hope, and perhaps inspires.

Musically things have been rewarding. I became a Selmer Paris Artist this year! I feel honored to be recognized by the makers of what I consider the finest saxophones ever to be worthy of representing their wares. Thanks to Bob Lichty and all at Conn-Selmer for the acknowledgement. I had the privilege of recording with the great Dave Samuels where we were both guests on a record by Sergei Ioannysian, a drummer/composer and recent Berklee graduate. Nice tunes, nice players should be a good CD. He just sent me some of the finished masters and I think it sounds great. Hoping he can find a label soon so you can all enjoy. I just received a copy of a new disc by Rebecca Perricone that I had the pleasure of playing on (tenor, alto, alto flute) that also sounds great. Again, great music, great players, good stuff. It’s entitled “Labek”. Some great concerts with Pablo Ablanedo and Sergio Brandao this year at the Regattabar and Beantown Jazz Festival. Pablo is gearing up for a new recording that I’ll be featured on. Looking forward to it, I love Pablo’s music and his spirit, not to mention the cats in the band!

The NWJCO released our 3rd CD this October entitled Breaking News! I’m really proud of this recording and think it’s the best thing I’ve released on my label so far. A million thanks to all the musicians/composers that contribute to the success of this endeavor. Especially to my dear friend, mentor and partner on the project Ted Pease. Ted has been such an inspiration. His music is beyond compare, he makes this 8 piece group sound like a symphony orchestra, a big band and chamber music all at the same time. To Matthew Nicholl, Dick Lowell, Felipe Salles, Walter Platt, and Jeff Friedman for their great music on the disc. I’m so rich to be able to play their music and to be entrusted with it.  My words don’t express my gratitude. Thanks… To the cats in this band Ken Cervenka, Walter Platt, Felipe Salles (my partners in the wind/brass sections) and to the greatest rhythm section anywhere that drives this bus: Tim Ray, Keala Kaumeheiwa, Mark Walker and Ernesto Diaz. You all are the best. The disc has received several great reviews already, thanks to the writers/critics for actually listening!  I hope you will check this new CD out (not to mention our 2 others!) and share it. My dear friend Chip Bubeck shared it with lots of his friends he was so impressed with the disc. Again, I’m rich for having such dear friends and such selfless supporters.

i also wanted to mention a great opportunity I had recently. I had the pleasure of performing with the Kalistos Chamber Orchestra in a concert at the Berklee Performance Center. I had been approached and asked to write a piece to feature myself with the orchestra but deferred the writing responsibility to my hero Ted Pease who wrote a beautiful piece called Spring Rounds:Variations on a Theme by Igor Stravinsky which featured me on soprano, alto, and baritone saxophones along with piano and acoustic bass in front of the orchestra. This was a wonderful concert, a terrific piece, a great orchestra. Many thanks to Kari Juusela and Andrew List at Berklee for extending the invitation and creating the opportunity. I’m hoping to organize a recording in the not too distant future of works for jazz trio and orchestra. More to come on this…(anyone with some deep pockets want to climb on board for this project?!)

So much more to share, but also much work to do. So time to get some of it done!

Happy holidays to you all. May your season be joyous and bright as the song goes. Take time to spread the warmth of the holidays with someone you love…and in this troubling economic time give the gift of sharing your time with those in need. A dollar to the homeless, an hour or two of your time to a shelter, a toy to your local Toys for Tots program. You’ll be glad you did and so will those you touched.

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