6 June 2012

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I stayed in Rome after the Ex & Brass Unbound tour for 2 days of recording in a session organized by Stefano Ferrian (soprano & tenor sax). Also participating were Luca Pissavini on bass, Simone Quatrana on piano, and Mimmo Sec on revox/electronics (an adapted reel to reel player used as a pickup and processor); with Matteo Spinazze’ as the recording engineer. Nice symmetry to starting this European in Italy on a concert that Stefano helped to organize in Novara on April 20th, then ending the trip with another opportunity that he coordinated, this time in Rome. The quintet of improvisers was utilized as an ad hoc pool, different lineups were put together, from duo to full quintet. Having only played with Stefano once before, in a casual set of duos on the evening I arrived in Italy more than a month previous, and none of the other players, the communication and quality of music was surprisingly consistent and strong over the day’s recording. [Because I’ve been so busy with other projects since the start of June, I still haven’t had a chance to review the music we made- something to accomplish now that I’m back home after another tour in Europe since those June days in Rome.]

Getting back to Chicago on Wednesday, June 6th, turned into a bit of chaos- I arrived okay but my baritone was lost by either American Airlines enroute to Heathrow from Rome, or by British Airways enroute from Heathrow to Chicago; of course neither airline would claim responsibility. This would have been enough of a pain in the ass, but I was scheduled to play with Paal Nilssen-Love as a duo at the Hideout about 2 hours after landing at O’Hare; luckily I had my tenor with me and my clarinet in my suitcase. Paal also had travel problems, arriving late from Houston and meeting me at the airport in Chicago instead of having the afternoon off to relax before the show. Both of us somewhat dazed, we ripped through a burning set following a solo performance by Fred Lonberg-Holm, and a trio set by Ballister. The process of getting my baritone before the Okka Fest (which started on Friday, June 8th) quickly turned into a farce- no one could locate it, and no one at either airlines was really interested in providing a solution other than to “wait it out and see;” the fact that I make a living with the item they failed to deliver was met with a fairly indifferent shrug. An example of the duo, baritone in tow: