11 October 2011

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After the last stretch of concerts in Europe that followed the Lean Left tour, I went back to Chicago for a week and got a haircut. Then it was back to Europe on October 10th to start 2 more months of touring, beginning with the new trio, Side A (w/Chad Taylor and Håvard Wiik). The band just released our first album, on Clean Feed and called, “A New Margin.” Side A works as a co-op, everyone contributes compositions and helps develop ideas for how to approach the written material, integrate improvisations. I spent time in Chicago reviewing the band book, it had been a year since the last time we worked together (in Portugal, when we recorded the album) and it was good to refresh the memory. The 1st concert took place on October 11th in Oslo, at Cafe Mir, where Paal Nilssen-Love held the “Blow Out” festival in August. Soundcheck was also the rehearsal, we only needed to play one set (we were on a double bill with a puppet show performed by musicians from Sweden!) so we pulled 7 pieces from the collection of 12 and focused on running those for an hour before getting dinner. We got back to Mir too late to see the puppets, but played a solid gig for a solid crowd, great feedback about the music- it’s a unique band, combining 3 very individual musical points of view and making them work in a group context; an excellent start to the trip. On the 12th the trio flew to Poznan, Poland. I made the decision to bring my baritone to Europe so that I can use it on projects on that continent, where the focus of my work now lies, and United charged me $250 for the privilege. Heading from Oslo, traveling with Chad and Håvard proved to be my good fortune, they both have Star Alliance gold cards, which meant that SAS transported my baritone for free. We remained quite happy about this until we landed in Poznan and the baritone was lost (my history with that instrument and Poland is a bit crazy) as well as Chad’s cymbals; so only the 1st gig with Side A had the same instrumentation as on “A New Margin;” luckily I had my tenor with me for the rest of my tour, and the clarinet in my suitcase which thankfully arrived; and Chad was able to borrow some decent cymbals for the gig. The band reviewed the rest of the tunes at soundcheck and had the book together for 2 sets of music at the Dragon Club to a packed house of enthusiastic listeners- great to be back. The missing equipment arrived at the airport at around midnight, so we stopped off there on our drive to Berlin to get Chad’s cymbals, the bari will live in Poznan until my show with Fire Room at the end of November; then I bring the horn to Amsterdam so it can live with Terrie Hessels. A 5:30am start in Oslo ended in Berlin at 4:30am the next morning- a LONG day. Side A in action: