Well there is a first for everything. This time I really did myself in. I just returned from a really incredible European tour with my 4tet of 7 years of Allen Farnham, Dean Johnson, and the great Tim Horner. Anyway we did a bunch of great concerts in Germany, and Switzerland, and then I went on alone to Italy where I had several engagements with Italian musicians. So here is what happened to me in Avelino Italy.

I was staying with a friend and colleague Luigi Ruberti in the center of Napoli, and I had set the vibes up to practice the day of my concert in Avelino. So I practiced all day , and ate. Then came the time to get ready for the gig that night. I packed up the vibes. The dampener for the Yamaha vibe I use in Italy, and leave in Italy is an older frame, and the dampener that mutes the bars splits in half when packing it up. I packed everything and left one half of the dampener leaning on a case in the room. I did not notice it. I was picked up and departed for Avelino. It is 100 K away from Napoli. When I set the vibes up at the club my heart sunk as I realized I had forgotten this vital piece of the instrument. We were a little less than 2 hours before the gig, and it was raining hard, and certainly driving back was a real pain in the ass. After trying to call several friends to see if they could help by picking the piece up we went to plan B. Look for a complete instrument at 8pm on Friday night. The conservatory was closed. Everything was closed, and of course getting a vibraphone even when things are open is difficult. What a disaster. Anyway some very inventive people at the Charleston Jazz Club got together, and with tape, wire ties, and a piece of long plastic with table clothes wrapped around it,  we managed to extend the dampener and mute the bars so it was playable. We put 5 or 6 pieces of firewood underneath the sustain pedal to prop it up so the newly constructed pedal would mute the bars. In essence we turned the vibraphone into a metal marimba. I played the gig but for sustain I needed to roll all sustain notes, and chords. A really tough gig for me. I was literally hurting in my arms the morning after from all the extra rolling of the chords, and sustains. What a royal pain in the ass it was. The music was still swinging hard, as Giuseppe La Pusata, and Corrado Cirrillo ,and I played the run of standards, and blues we ripped through. I can’t say it was the most comfortable concert I ever played, but we pulled it off, and an enthusiastic audience from Avelino enjoyed it. Thanks to Danielle, the owner of Charleston Jazz Club, and his great staff, and friends for the assistance putting this contraption together so the concert could somehow happen! Check the pictures of what we did to save the gig.

DANIELLE CHARLESTON JAZZ CLUB OWNER

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