We had a wonderful European tour that wrapped late last week and which found us zig zagging our way across the continent, marked with memorable shows and people along the way. The fun didn’t stop there, however. After returning home from these incredible two weeks, it was straight to packing boxes. My wife and I, and our two daughters now call Brooklyn home. We will miss Montreal but are excited for this new chapter to begin.
Starting off in Bucharest on July 4 was an unforgettable experience. After looking back on the performance and setting, this ended up being one of my favourite shows. This is kind of funny because it was the last show to come in on our summer bookings, literally one week before we left. When we got there, one would’ve thought the show had been planned for a year. Every detail was thought of, the crew and hospitality were great and even the advertising was spot on. Dave and I shook some hands and signed some records and read some great translations on menus. The highlight: Beaten and tormented beef for the pleasure of your taste.
Next, July 5, we were off to beautiful Vigo, Spain. I knew this was going to be a show to remember when our driver from the airport seldom let the speedometer dip below 190 km/h on our two hour trip. It was a pleasantly smooth ride, even with Dave and Steve in hot pursuit. We played in the town square that night where Steve, due to airline malfunction, had to return to an old friend – the 4 stringed Fender Jazz bass. Although Steve would’ve liked to have had his own instrument, a beautiful 5 stringed Citron, it was a welcomed reminder to me that it is, indeed, the player and not the instrument that makes the music. Steve played great and it was fun to hear him on a different bass. A bit of Duck Dunn and Carol Kaye in there.
On July 6 we made our way to Marigliano, Italy (close to Naples). The name of the game was finding Steve’s bass. Everything worked out and when we arrived back at the venue, after eating the best pizza I’ve ever had, Steve’s mainsqueeze was waiting for him on the bandstand. Another concert in the town square on a beautiful night, hard to beat!
July 7 took us to Geneva. We were supposed to play in city hall square but the weather decided for us. We ended up being pleasantly surprised by our indoor alternative, Victoria Hall. It was great to be playing in a concert hall after four outdoor venues in a row andthis show was recorded for radio broadcast for a later date. Look out.
The next night, July 8, was our first night off and Riverside was a bit banged up. Lots of flights and little sleep, the band was ready for a reset. Thanks to a restaurant recommendation from fellow horn player, Ohad Talmor, we made our way to a nice little Italian restaurant and kicked back. Dave’s treat! Thanks again chef d’orchestre.
July 9 is when things got really interesting. We flew into Timisoara, Romania, and then had a 3 hr van ride straight up hill to home base, Garana. The roads are one and half lanes wide and two ways. Close calls seem common place here, as our driver didn’t seem too concerned with near head-on collisions. An exciting ride, to say the least. A day off in the woods at the Gasthof Tirol lodge was a definite change of scenery and vibe. Our generous host, Andrea and her family, took us swimming, kept fed and watered, and kept us safe from the roaming dogs! No joke, there were dogs everywhere. Semi-domesticated/semi-wild, the dogs snack on ankles and bike tires.
On July 10 we did what we were brought to Garana to do. Another 25 mins into the mountains and we arrived at the stage. It was a really cool venue. The seating is provided by hundreds of giant tree trunks in multiple rows. People use these as benches and I gather that the venue is used year-round for a variety of shows. It was a fun show. I remember Dave coaxing his tune Backyard into rhythm changes for his solo section and tearing it up! It’s not often that you get to hear Dave play bebop but man, you can really hear his love and appreciation of the music and the language that has been such a big part of this music. Another highlight was getting to hang with and hear the saxophonist, Andy Sheppard. His playing has always knocked me out and his trio played a beautiful set that night. He’s a great player and composer, and continues to be an inspiration to me.
We left Timi Soara, complete with another death-defying car ride, and flew to Rotterdam on July 11. Another family dinner, care of Dave (thanks again!) was a great way to end an epic travel day.
On July 12 we played at the North Sea Jazz Festival. The North Sea fest is wall to wall music. It takes place in a giant conference center so all the concert go-er has to do is walk across the hall to hear another act. We played in the Hudson room after Tineke Postma who’s band included Greg Osby, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh and Dan Weiss. It was really nice to see some familiar faces, have some laughs, a glass of wine,and toss around some Tim and Eric quotes. Also, Danilo Perez’s trio played after us and they played beautifully. John Patitucci played mostly electric bass and Brian Blade was his, usual, brilliant self. To open the show and to recognize the passing of Charlie Haden we played his composition, Silence.
July 13 had us going back to Spain to El Puerto de Santa Maria. Yup, the same as the boat. Sergio, our main man in Spain, took us to a wonderful spot for lunch where he did the ordering and we happily did the eating.
This was the day of the world cup final so after some long afternoon naps, we met to watch the game and eat dinner. After the first overtime half we made our way down the street to Osborne wines and played a wonderful show. Considering that it was an outdoor venue, the sound was remarkable. Steve played an amazing acappella solo on an old hymn that Dave brought in called Arbacoochee. Hard to ask for more in a night than that!
July 14 is when we lost Steve but gained a wonderful musician named Andy Clausen. We flew into Venice and from there drove into the Dolomites, arriving in time for a late dinner. A great meal with local wines.
On July 15 after a most of the day to walk around the charming mountain town of Cavalese, with rehearsed with Andy. Andy is a very gifted trombone player who memorized the entire repertoire, very creatively covered the role of the bass, and soloed amazingly well. After rehearsal in the room that the hotel provided, which gave us panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, we headed down to the restaurant dinner and more local treats. We got hang with Anna, a new member of the team at Saudades.
We had a great meal then we hit the local mini-putt course for a high stakes game of after dinner fun, capped off with gelato.
On July 16, we headed up the mountain. We were met by the mountain guides who were there to carry of gear up to the venue. Strong lads with good vibes! This was Dave’s fifteenth year of playing in the Suoni della Dolomiti. After one gondola, two chairlifts and a one hour hike we made it to the magical venue. Dave chose the spot and as you can see, it had it all. During the set we changed positions to play from various vantage points. This help create different vibes for different and let us connect on different ways with the crowd.
July 17 we all headed our separate ways home thankful or the experience of getting to share Riverside with new audiences in new places and charged up for the next outing.
Thanks to all of you who picked up our recording Riverside. Great to meet so many listeners out there, thank you for your continued support. We look forward to the next time!