This post is more or less to amuse myself before the Jazz Bash by the Bay begins tomorrow, but you can come along as well. I have just completed, or perhaps begun, the most intense loop of jazz travel I can recall. It began with my happy viewing of Nancy Harrow and Will Pomerantz’s play, ABOUT LOVE, which is the subject of yesterday’s blogpost. (“Don’t miss it” is the edited version).
Yesterday, I went to Philadelphia (the World Cafe Live) to hear, witness, and record Marty Grosz’s ninetieth birthday party, and after that I flew to Monterey, California, to the Portola Hotel and Conference Center, where I write these words.
I am sorry that Dan Barrett isn’t attending the Bash this year — for many reasons, but were he to see me with that button and ribbon pinned to my shirt, he would walk over and put his palm on the ribbon and push. “It says PRESS.” But I shall go on.
On Thursday, at about 2 PM, I asked a favor of a neighbor who gave me — and my knapsack of video gear — a lift to the train station. Once there, I found Amtrak (twenty minutes late) and eventually got to Philadelphia, where (once again) I imposed on a friend — this time Joe Plowman, a stellar fellow whether playing the string bass or not — to take me to the World Cafe Live.
The Marty Party was a delight, and, yes, if the Tech Goddess favors me, there will be video evidence. I asked Danny Tobias and Lynn Redmile for a lift back to the 30th Street Station, and Dan Block and I rode back to New York City — arriving around 1:20 AM on Friday. Dan went off to his home, about four subway stops away, but the next train to my suburban Long Island town was two hours later, so I asked the first cabbie in a line of cabs what he would charge; we settled on a price, and we were off. (He had been a lawyer in Egypt, by the way). Around 2:15 I was home and went to sleep for what I knew would only be a brief interlude. My alarm went off, as planned, at 7; I did what was needed and got in my car to drive to parking for Kennedy Airport. At 11:30 we were airborne; I arrived in Monterey close to 6 PM. (I have adjusted none of this for New York and California time zones, but you can imagine that my eyelids are heavy.)
I really have no idea what time it actually is in my body clock, but will find out. I can tell you that this travel rhapsody will have cost me about fifteen hundred dollars when it is all through. I am blessedly fortunate to have that money, but the pleasure of seeing Marty Grosz, Vince Giordano, Dan Block, Scott Robinson, Danny Tobias, Randy Reinhart, Brennan Ernst, Joe Plowman, Jack Saint Clair, Jim Lawlor, meeting people in the flesh whom I’d only known in cyberspace — one night! — as well as receiving an autographed copy of Marty’s autobiography, IT’S A SIN TO TELL A LIE: MY LIFE IN JAZZ (Golden Valley Press) . . . .and from tomorrow on, seeing Marc Caparone, Dawn Lambeth, the Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, Carl Sonny Leyland, Clint Baker, Jeff Hamilton, Hal Smith, Le Jazz Hot, and more — that pleasure is and will be uncountable in mere currency. And unless you knew my past life well, the immense freedom to do what I want is bliss, a bliss I hadn’t always been able to have.
And I can sleep next week.
May your happiness increase!