We did a morning clinic and evening concert for the outstanding band program at West High School in Iowa City. The Band directors Rich Medd and Rob Medd do an outstanding job there. Mike conducted a saxophone master class and Kellen coached a combo in the afternoon. We were treated wonderfully and hand a great performance in their auditorium. Later that evening we met with some of Mike’s great friends in Iowa City including John Rapson, Brett Sandy and Steve Grismore.
The next day we were treated to our first true off day on the tour. We were able to take advantage of beautiful weather and check out the campus of Iowa University. We taught some lessons in the afternoon to some enthusiastic students back at West High School. That evening, John Rapson, the director of the University of Iowa Jazz department treated us to dinner at his house. The food was great and the company was even better. Mike had been telling us all along how much he liked Iowa city and he was definitely right.
We drove from Iowa City up to Iowa State University in Ames. We were greeted by the jazz director Jim Bovinette. After getting some food and warming up we did a clinic for his Jazz Ensemble where we played and then worked with his band. We played later that evening at the Maitenence Shop an old club that many jazz legends have played in years past. It was an absolute joy to play there and the vibe of the room was great. A student combo opened up for us and we had a great audience. Afterward Jim opened up his house to us and had a great food and drinks for us and some of his students and friends.
We headed toward Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls driving through a rainstorm. Once we had arrived we unloaded and did a 2:00 clinic. Chris Merz the jazz director and great tenor player is building a nice program there. We played in their beautiful jazz studio that is complete with a full recording studio and booth. We played several tunes for the kids, worked with them on some improvisation, and listened to a few combos.
We only had a gig this evening at a club in Cedar Falls call The Hub. Although the easter weekend did affect attendance slightly we still managed to have a great gig. Some of Mike’s old friends from the area came to check out the band and hang and Chris Merz sat in with us on the second set. The bar staff was great and all things considered it went really well. At least we even still sold a t-shirt.
On Easter sunday we traveled to Chicago from Iowa. Shellen and I stayed at my great friend and tenor player Paul Levy’s house. We came off the road to a full house of family and friends and great food and had a wonderful evening. Mike took advantage of the time to see one of his oldest friends, Jimmy. They have been friends since pre-school. The next day we relaxed and did a little jam session at Paul’s house. Paul and I have played hundreds of gigs together but it has been several years since we have played. It was a joy to get to play some tunes again with him! Later that afternoon we spent some time in Chicago, ate some deep-dish pizza and then headed out to St. Charles through a rain storm.