The 4tet did a nice mini concert (3-4 tunes) and a master class at the philharmonic hall in Vladivostok Russia yesterday. There were 80-100 eager music students and enthusiasts there to watch us along with 2 or 3 TV cameras filming it for the news as on Sunday night we have a big concert in the same hall that will surely be packed. Everything went well as we opened up by playing 3 tunes. One of mine entitled “Little Lullaby”, which started as a slow sensitive waltz that I composed when my little girl Ella was an infant and we routinely rocked her in her rocking chair. This piece over the last 7 years with the 4tet has evolved into a hard driving waltz that is surely not a lullaby anymore, but a nice vehicle for our art form of improvisation. Then we played a beautiful ballad by Tim Horner who always has had my ultimate respect as a musician, drummer, and violist, but until this past 6 months I had know idea that he was a great writer as well. This ballad is an absolutely beautiful piece entitled “The Museum Piece” that he wrote while sitting staring at art at the museum in New York City with his wife Nitza, a fantastically talented sculptor and artist from Israel. Anyone who cannot get motivated by this piece is DEAD! It captures what I personally live for in the music. The use of beautiful melody, chords and a free approach to rhythm and form that reminds me why I play this music. It is a very emotional piece that has really gotten under my skin. Can’t wait to play it tonight at our concert in Nakhodka Russia. After that we played one of Jim Ridl’s compositions entitled “Smile Said The Drum” which is dedicated to Elvin Jones one of my teachers and heroes in the music. The title refers to Elvin’s infectious smile that was on his face all the time. Jim Ridl is absolutely one of the finest writers I have worked with in my life, and it is a total privilege to address all the music he has brought forth in this 4tet. His music has emotion, direction, deep harmony, and is flat out challenging and fun to play. Our bassist Tom Dicarlo is the youngest in the group, but addresses the music like a seasoned veteran. His sound is warm, and his intonation is note perfect. He locks up with Tim Horner underneath Jim Ridl, and myself to create the magic, and rhythmic current that flows through the music direct into my heart.

After the 3 opening tunes we opened up for questions with a translator of course. After many questions about the technical aspects of the vibraphone, someone asked if I ever play solo on the vibes. So I knocked out a quick solo version of “Stella By Starlight”. More questions continued and then we spoke about the musical handouts we prepared, and of course they were given out to each person who attended. Lots of handshakes, and autographs were signed, and some CD’s given out as well. All in all a great musical start to this month long tour. In our briefing with Jazz At Lincoln Center, and The US State Department prior to our departure they told us “get ready to be treated like rock stars”. Well they were correct. That is exactly how we have been treated. It was all filmed by a TV crew and was on the news several times last night and this morning. We are all having a blast! Today a 3-hour drive to Nakhodka, and a concert tonight. Can’t wait to play again. This band is on fire already, and we just began the tour!

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