Yangshuo


With Herbie Hancock

With Herbie Hancock

With Benny Golson

With Benny Golson

With Carl Allen

With Carl Allen

With Lenny White

With Lenny White

I am so proud to be a graduate, and on the faculty of The Juilliard School. Last night at school there was an incredible evening of celebration for Ron Carter as he has turned 75 years old, and a new Juilliard scholarship was launched in his honor. Fifty thousand dollars awarded yearly to a deserving student in the program. With Danny Glover as the MC for the evening, the program  packed Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Just a great presentation of  many of Ron’s tunes arranged by the students, and performed with the guest jazz masters. There were also performances by the Ron Carter nonet, and the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra performing selections from Ron’s big band recording. A who’s who of jazz history was there to support this event. It was a ball to hang with many of my colleagues from the faculty, as well as the legendary guests that performed with the students on the concert. What a great opportunity for the Juilliard jazz students to play with, Hubert Laws, Benny Golson, Herbie Hancock, Buster Williams, Russell Malone, Ron Carter, Carl Allen, and Lewis Nash.

When I was at Juilliard I was playing in the orchestra with the likes of Sexton Ehrling, James Conlon, Zubin Mehta, George Solti, Leonard Bernstein and others. They had no jazz program at Juilliard when I attended. Wynton Marsalis and I used to just jammed in the hallways to find somewhere to play. What a program. What a night. Just amazing!

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The Quartet

The Quartet

It’s been two weeks since my return to the US from the month long Rhythm Road/US State Department tour of Russia, and Asia. It has been quite an emotional adjustment since on the  tour we were treated as if we were diplomats from the United States. Driving in embassy limos. Being wined and dined constantly, and of course the 50-100 people who mobbed us after concerts and master classes to get a picture or an autograph, or to just talk about music. Most importantly I miss the day to day music. We played over 30 events, Everyday was another bit of magic from the music. We drove the music to higher levels. That is what happens when you do many consecutive events. My dream since I was 13 years old has been to do just that. Back in New York it has been a small adjustment from playing concerts, and master classes daily, to more occasional opportunities to do this. I miss the daily hang with the band as well. We all bonded like family. I am looking forward to Europe upcoming in the fall, Australia in the spring, and back to teaching in the university, and conservatory I work in. Hats off to the band of Tim Horner, Jim Ridl, and Tom Dicarlo for the completion of that month in Asia. We all worked our butts off, but the music made it all worth while.

Mountains for 50 Klm

Mountains for 50 Klm

We had a wonderful day off yesterday with a 4 hour boat tour of the Lijiang River and a shopping spree in the town 50 kilometers up the river called Yangshou. We were all exhausted the night before, but we had been talking about doing this boat ride for 6 months now, as it is one of the most celestial, and heavenly places on earth. The pictures on this post speak for themselves, but basically the entire ride is lined with these amazing small mountains, and limestone rock formations. It is really beautiful, and relief from the intense humidity we have endured in China finally came on this boat trip. A nice breeze in our faces, with quite fresh air. Basically you are traveling through a rain forest for 4 hours on the river. It was really incredible. Our hosts in Guilin from the school paid for our trip, which was quite generous of them, as we were all prepared to pay for this ourselves. The generosity has been really amazing throughout this entire tour. As I have said repeatedly on my previous posts, we have really been treated like royalty over here straight through from Russia, Korea, and China. The people have been really appreciative, and gracious, and clearly value our presence. The music performances have really been special for them. Dan Walcott from the embassy in Guangzhou, his assistant Raymond, and our host in Guilin Yi Linfei have become our friends forever. They treated us so great. Yi Linfei is just a beautiful wonderful person, beautifully dressed, and just full of love, and radiated such a positive feeling throughout our stay in Guilin. We were all very sorry to have had to leave her this morning. It was kind of a sad moment to have to part ways. For me that is the really amazing thing about this whole 4-week tour. We have met so many wonderful people, and of course we will remain in contact with them on Facebook, or email, but leaving them after spending maybe 3-5 days has been difficult emotionally sometimes on both sides. I learned a lot in China about the culture, and history of the people, and the traditional cuisine, and customs. What I have always said to my students is, “you have to get out in the world, and bring your music to the world, as the world cannot always come to you to hear what you have to offer. You really do learn an awful lot out here. The world is the biggest and best classroom of all”.

Our hosts Dan Walcott, Raymond, and Yi Linfei

Our hosts Dan Walcott, Raymond, and Yi Linfei

Quartet Chilling on the Boat

Quartet Chilling on the Boat

50 Kilometers of this

50 Kilometers of this

Low fog

Low fog

Someone lives here

Someone lives here

Surreal

Surreal

Hitches boat up to sell me a Buddha

Hitches boat up to sell me a Buddha

Buddha I bought

Buddha I bought

Everyone wanted pictures with us

Everyone wanted pictures with us

v

v

Tea Shop

Tea Shop

For all of us in these band being deeply spatially involved in what we do, and believe in, you can just imagine how we felt riding down this river with the deeply spiritual setting it brings. Upon arrival in Yangzhou we had an hour or so to do some shopping for the family back home. I bought my daughter, and wife some beautiful traditional silk Chinese outfits, and some green Asmentous tea to bring home along with some other souvenirs. The van was waiting when we finished to drive us back to the hotel 1.5 hours drive back. It was a great day off!