17 April 2008


“Magnus, please. How to? Snack for Yuri.” To illustrate the problems he was having, Yuri then pulled on the packet six different ways with no luck. He then passed the package to Magnus.

In a millisecond and without missing a beat, Magnus opened the peanuts and handed them to Yuri, whose eyes were wide with amazement.

-“Hey, I’m a snack expert,” said Magnus.

The Resonance ensemble finally arrived late in the afternoon outside of Alchemia, exhausted but excited. In a sense we were back on home turf and the memory of the concert the night before gave people a lot of confidence towards the music, I think. People scattered to take a quick nap, or shower, or grab a coffee (or all three), then met back at Alchemia to start heading to the Japanese Manggha Museum for our performance. The hall was great, acoustics clear, and though the room was smaller than in the Ukraine, we benefited from the intimacy the space would provide. Ania and the Alchemia crew somehow outdid themselves, taking care of every arrangement possible. I drank coffee by the quart with the hopes of tapping into at least a caffeinated form of energy- the week of running rehearsals, answering questions, and trying to keep my own playing focused had begun to really bear down on me. Before the show I was asked to do a last minute T.V. interview, which was pretty straightforward with questions about why I come to Poland so often (the people invite me, and they’re wonderful), and what do I think of Krakow (it’s incredible). Then came:

“So, Michael Jackson, Sting, and Madonna are considered the Kings and Queen of the Pop world. Which one are you most like as a King of the Jazz world?”

Oh boy. “Well, I guess Madonna. Like her I keep changing what I do.” The T.V. crew seemed to buy this response and they thanked me as they packed up to leave. I got out of there as quickly as I could before I broke down laughing.

The Krakow concert on November 18th picked up from where the Lvov show left off, it was a marvel. Before the two sets I didn’t review the music with the band, I told them that they knew it now, and to just enjoy themselves onstage. That’s definitely what happened. The group was playing so well that I frequently went to the side of the stage just to listen and enjoy the power of the ensemble playing the music so well. The auditorium was packed, at least 250 people, and super enthused. I introduced each piece, trying to explain how important the time in Krakow has meant to me by dedicating each piece to individuals from Poland who have really changed my life. “Counterprint” was for “Laurence” Wawrzyniec; “Off/Set” was for Olek Witynski and Jacek Zakowski, who have invited me back to Alchemia countless times; “Landshaft” was for Marek Winiarski who believed in my music from the start; and “The Number 44” was for Ania Czarna whose assistance has been impossible to describe, only the people who have worked around her too know what a positive force she is and why this special number applies.

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