Thank you to those of you who have commented on the new site and my facebook page. I always appreciate hearing from you all.
RTF rehearsals were a blast! It was 4 days of roughly 10-hour rehearsals which took place in New York. Everyone, Lenny, Stanley, Jean-Luc and Chick are all in peak form. It was a lot of preparation for the tunes. Initially there was a lot more tunes than we are actually going to play, but I know from experience that any of these tunes could be called in at any time…so as the Scout’s motto goes…. always be prepared.
It was especially fun playing Medieval Overture and School Days…two of my very favourite songs from the 70′s Fusion era.
We managed to get a very cool set together in those four days. We have a full production rehearsal in Perth the night before the show goes live so that the lighting engineer and sound engineer can have their rehearsal too!
It was good spending the time getting to know Stanley better. I had met him over the years and always found him to be warm-hearted and open. He shared incredibly great stories every evening over dinner. He should write a book…he has soooo many stories! I hope one day he decides to write it all down, because I’m sure everyone would love his inside scoop on all the many artists and situations he has experienced. I know I sure did. Amazing, amazing history from a very spectacular Jazz icon.
Getting to know Lenny and play with him is a real treat! Lenny is so smooth when he plays, so relaxed…plus he’s a fun guy. He brought in a cool new tune called “A Long Time Ago”, which is a combination hard funk, horror movie theme and sophisticated jazz. He has an incredible energy, it makes you just feel good when you’re around him.
It was great to see Chick! Most of you know how much I love him, so much of his music fills my soul. He has lost 80 lbs and looks like a young kid again…he is a remarkable man. He is the glue that pulled everything together with strong guidance with arrangements and new ideas for open sections to feature everybody.
It was very cool to reconnect with Jean-Luc after so many years. What a nice man he is, courteous and friendly and such an incredible musician, legendary really. We’ll be playing two of his tunes which are very beautiful and melodic.
Also there’s a new tune from Stanley called (tentatively)” New York”, and a new one from Lenny along with other classics from the RTF repertoire. It’s going to be a great show, with many of the well-known tunes represented.
While in NYC, there was a huge snowstorm and in general they had the most snow in January ever recorded and yes folks, I was there!…though I was trying to leave. When I arrived early in the morning to La Guardia all flights were cancelled. I wasn’t able to get back to sunny California until the following day…%$&^%!!!! Have you ever experienced trying to flag a cab, while carrying your guitar and a bag, all the while being violently slapped about by what feels like piercing icicles, and if that’s not enough, there’s a hurling whipping sub-freezing wind that seems to be purposefully holding back your every step and though you want to run you are actually moving in very slow motion, silently praying that you will have full mobility in your limbs again!!! Funny thing is I’d do it all again in a heart beat!
So since I have been home I have been hugging and kissing my beautiful wife and daughter as much as possible before having to head out again. I have been going through the music and going over the details and practicing the hard bits. I have also been making some loops of the solo sections that I’ll be playing on. The New York tune has some tricky changes!
One of Jean-Luc’s tunes, I have a solo over very complex (they sound simple) chords with odd meter bars – one bar or 6/4 followed by 2 bars of 4/4, that all repeats, then two bars of 5/4 as the B part then back in an AABA form…I will be working on that!
I leave Saturday for Perth Australia, one of my favourite places on Earth. It is considered the most isolated city in the world, that’s a big part of its charm. 1 million people live there. It has beautiful beaches, north and south, the city itself sits on a giant lake/lagoon and the weather is mild all year round. It’s still summer in Australia so that will be a nice bonus after the New York deep freeze.
It feels surreal to being going to Australia – to my ‘homeland’, playing with the Jazz giants that have so influenced me over the years. Playing in some of the best stages in the world. For me, playing the Sydney Opera House, with “Return To Forever” is really a dream come true. Growing up in Canberra, I remember all the buzz and excitement when this landmark theatre was being built. Well, you can imagine how this Italian boy from Canberra is feeling about this leg of the tour.
I’ll check in again later. Everyone that wants to stay tuned for some play by play info while I’m on tour should follow me on my Twitter as well get my Newsletter which you can sign up for at my website. Also there’s a new Facebook page that’s just gone up so there’s announcements on that too!
I’ll do my best to stay connected!
Ciao for now,