24 March 2012

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On Sunday, March 18th I traveled from to Brugge after staying overnight in a town called Genk at a motel with no heat and no soap, to play my first solo concert in Europe since Peter Brotzmann asked me to open the 3 day residency of the Chicago Tentet in Wuppertal last April with a solo set that pretty much scared the crap out of me- playing alone in front of Peter, Joe McPhee, and Mats Gustafsson, 3 masters of the form, was not easy. The show in Brugge would also be the second time I approached an unaccompanied performance without a plan. The club was called Parazzar, a fantastic, intimate room run with real energy- another great spot to add to the list of amazing venues in Belgium. I played two sets on baritone, Bb and bass clarinet; ending the concert with “Brullt,” the Jaap Blonk inspired piece that pounds a low Bb on the baritone into the ground until I can’t hold the tone together any longer. The audience was stellar, super focused, and the show was recorded by Michael W. Huon, who also documented the Resonance Ensemble performance from the night before. I stayed up until 4am with the owner Joeri and some of his friends, listening to great and sometimes obscure Jazz sides played on the stereo by a dj with an amazing record collection. A fantastic way to end the initial tour of the year in Europe. The next day I walked around Brugge, took a late train to Amsterdam; and on Tuesday I visited the Van Gogh museum which was surprisingly empty, allowing me to really look at the paintings without fighting for some space with a thousand other tourists. I left there mulling over the fact that he started and ended his artistic career in less than a decade, between 30 to 40 years old; the way he pushed representational painting to its edge- I can see why Francis Bacon was so enamored of van Gogh’s work. On the 21st I set out for Brazil: Amsterdam>Zurich>Sao Paula (Guarulhos)>Sao Paulo (Congonhas, by bus)>Florianopolis; a nice 25 hour journey. Met by Christof Kurzmann and the presenters in Florianopolis who immediately showed me a great time as soon as we left the airport- incredible lunch, a colorful city and island; the first night Christof and I sat at a bar on the beach as the rain came down, watching fishermen throw their nets into the sea- an unreal vision after leaving Amsterdam just a day earlier. On the 23rd Christof and I were showed more of the island, then we spent time rehearsing for the upcoming shows in Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Florianopolis, which will be the first duo concerts we’ve ever performed. The day ended with a huge meal at a churrascaria, where I somehow got food poisoning that kept me up all night with fever and sickness, though luckily not to, in the words of Monty Python, “the sluices at both ends.” Sonore in St. Petersburg: