Cedar Walton and Lisa Hilton at The Jazz Bakery/Culver City, CA
What a week jazz had last week, losing two great pianists – Cedar Walton and then Marian McPartland. They will be missed. I always admired Cedar’s ability to create a “perfect” performance set – you would feel so uplifted and satisfied after seeing him perform. I was introduced to him by Lewis Nash in the photo above. I saw Marian at Carnegie Hall as a part of the Tribute to Oscar Peterson, shortly before he passed. With a bill that included Billy Taylor, Hank Jones, Mulgrew Miller, Renee Rosnos, Eldar, and Roger Kellaway on the piano at different times I was curious how Marian would do: the concert was in 2007 and she was 89 at the time, and I had not had any previous chances to hear her. She played very sensitively and beautifully, and I felt lucky to have seen her so well too – my seat was 3rd row center, so it was a perfect view of the stage and a capacity crowd. The entire concert was a treat with Lewis & CMB backing and Wynton, Paquito, Russell Malone, Clark Terry and a host of others. I am thankful for those experiences.
As summer is wrapping up, I am doing my best to squeeze as much in as I can. I love the longer days, sunshine and the “permission” we give ourselves to spend time doing what we most enjoy doing which for me, also includes composing – that always makes me happy! August started with my favorite of all festivals – Newport Jazz Fest in Rhode Island. Seven hours a day of great music, beautiful views, and the best seafood imaginable makes EVERYONE smile! I checked out Mary Halvorson, Marcus Miller, Jim Hall, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Steve Coleman, Gregory Porter, Michel Camilo, Bill Charlap (with Anat Cohen & Bob Wilbur – hearing Anat play Art Tatum’s piano line from Jitterbug Waltz on clarinet just tore the audience up), and Roy Haynes. I especially enjoyed Chick Corea’s new band with his ace rhythm section of CMB & Marcus Gilmore, (who I got to meet), the ever-popular Terence Blanchard, (who I got to hang with backstage), and the big crowd pleasing performance of Robert Glasper with his ultra cool singer Casey Benjamin with his wild hair (got to meet him too!). Oh, and I also enjoyed the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band – they played some original charts that were just super, guided well by the sharp sounds of my friend, drummer Lewis Nash who even scatted during one tune! Fun all around with something for everyone. The jazz-filled weekend started out with a lobster dinner, key lime pie and Georgetown Cupcakes on our first night with a great group of jazz friends, and ended with the Cliff Walk along a coastline exploding with huge wild roses. Great memories!
I’ll say it again, THANK YOU TO RADIO and all our FANS AND FRIENDS for your continued support. We love it! Our last CD, “Getaway” made the TOP 20 on three radio charts. We appreciate your support so much!
No tour stop until October 21 at The Green Mill in Chicago at 6pm – a fundraiser for The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. (Hope you can come!) The Dizzy’s date in NYC has been dropped due to conflicts with the band – I’m sorry!
Wishing you the very best for the rest of the summer and beyond!