17 March 2012

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There seems to be some kind of law that, no matter how long a bus ride is supposed to be, it will last two hours longer than indicated. So, of course, the “five hour” trip between Poznan and Gdansk on March 16th takes seven, during the travel I copy out parts for another new piece. The group arrives to the venue late and tired, but still up for trying out the new material- except there are only five music stands instead of ten due to some kind of confusion in the rider details- this means we can’t run material until the necessary stands show up. I spend the time trying to get an unhelpful club employee to assist me in making copies of the new music, deal with money and paying the band, etc. When the stands show up we start to work on the new composition, things go fast, I make adjustments to the parts and everyone picks up on the ideas quickly, within sixty minutes we’re at a point where the band can play the chart. Another packed house and we’re ready to start with the latest addition to the book… I had to change my baritone reed before the gig and in the chaos didn’t push my mouthpiece all the way in; forgot about this and when the tune started I was about a quartet tone flat; couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on until later in the piece; then, as I realized that I was the problem, I had play a long series of vamps with Per-Ake Holmlander and Mark Tokar- nearly split my lower lip in half trying to get enough pressure on the reed to play in tune! Other than that the concert went extremely well; featured Mikolaj Trzaska a lot because he was playing in his home town. The 17th was tough- group had a 4:45am pickup to get to the airport to fly from ordergenericpropeciaonline.com/buy-cheap-propecia.html Gdansk to Munich, layover, Munich to Brussels, pickup and drive to Hasselt, Belgium, but no rooms for most of the musicians because of a huge dance party that night- 17,000 people dressed up in white outfits descending on the town means no rooms for the Resonance Ensemble! Group is shot, exhausted, sleeping on couches at the Belgie after some lunch, trying to rest somehow before our soundcheck at 5pm where we run through material, correct some details. I’ve got new flowcharts written (the band has been playing each flowchart for two nights in a row so the music can solidify before we jump to the next combination of structures), so Resonance will play both new compositions and 2 different long form pieces each set. When you tour the last gig always feels precarious; it’s as if you’ve been climbing a mountain and then sometimes the psychology of the band leaves the peak before the climb is really over. But in Hasselt this isn’t the case- the Resonance Ensemble played its best gig of the tour- strong ensemble execution of the compositions, good focus on the structures, excellent solos and group improvisations- it was a great band playing as a real unit, for an outstanding audience which requested two encores. To get to play with Magnus Broo, Steve Swell, Per-Ake Holmlander, Mikolaj Trzaska, Waclaw Zimpel, Dave Rempis, Michael Zerang, Mark Tokar, and Tim Daisy for seven straight concerts (was it only a week? so much was accomplished!) was a real privilege; to write new music and hear it played the same night was a beautiful creative experience, a luxury. I’m sad to end the trip, but excited that the band will reconvene for the Chicago Jazz Festival at the start of September. How strange to go from working with a ten piece ensemble to playing solo, which I’ll do in Brugge on the 18th!