Students from St. Charles East and St. Charles West High School
We woke up in St. Charles on Tuesday and headed out to Oaklawn High School where Ted’s friend Paul Levy is band director. We gave a nice clinic for the students and Paul sat in with us and sounded beautiful. It was the first time I had heard him. Then we packed up and headed out to St. Charles East High School where we were hosted by my old friends, Jim Kull and Gil Wukitsch. We gave the clinic for a combined class of St. Charles East and St. Charles North Students. Jim Stombres brought students from North and helped host the event. We had a quick dinner and then played our concert at the Norris Arts Center which is on the St. Charles East High School campus. It was a very good concert. We met some new students and fans and had a great time hanging out in St. Charles.
Here is another clip from our gig in Iowa City. This is Mike’s new tune Vicenza Days. Mike wrote this tune about how he spent his days while in the city of Vicenza Italy. This tune has become one of our new favorites to play! Hope you enjoy. We have lots of more video footage that is still yet to be posted.
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.
Iowa City day off
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 . . . → Read More: Catchup Blog Iowa/Chicago by Ted
We had a fairly relaxing day in Galesburg. We had a great lunch with our wonderful host, Nikki Malley at the Landmark Restaurant. Then we gave a clinic at Knox College. This was one of our best clinics. The guys in the band are really contributing to the clinics and letting me relax a bit. After the clinic we hung around Galesburg, got haircuts (for $11!). Then we drove to Macomb where Mike Stryker and John Cooper from Western Illinois University hosted us for the weekend. Mike is an old buddy and it was great to spend a couple of days with him.
Day 8 – Macomb
with Mike Stryker from Western Illinois University after a great day of clinics.
We went out to breakfast before our very early masterclass at WIU. It was a true masterclass . . . → Read More: Road Notes Days 7-10
Yesterday the New New Tricks Van took us deep into the Midwest – the real Midwest! We’ve made it to Galesburg, Illinois. This is the home town of the great jazz drummer/band-leader Matt Wilson. For me it’s probably the 5th or 6th time I’ve been here, but for the rest of the band, it’s a first time thing. A small town in Western Illinois with a love for jazz. Scott Garlock ran the jazz program at Knox College for many years and one of his former students, Nikki Malley, now runs the program.
Shellen at McGillacutty's – Phot by Liz Thomas
We played a restaurant/bar called McGillacuddy’s which was packed by students from Knox. A great show. The student jazz band played a set in between our sets and let us play a few tunes with them. We met Dave Hoffman, the faculty trumpet teacher and a phenomenal jazz player. He played “Ah-Leu-Cha” with us much to everyone’s delight and then stuck around for “Port of . . . → Read More: Day 6 – Long Road to Matt Wilson
Yesterday started in Ashtabula with a trip down to Ted’s Aunt’s local mechanic to check on our car trouble. The guy pointed out that the van was losing power which was only really noticeable on an incline. He thought we’d be ok for the next couple of days. But as soon as we loaded the van and headed to Cleveland the problem got much worse. Now I knew we were in trouble. After calling a mechanic that I knew from 25 years ago, we were referred to a place walking distance from Cleveland Hts High School (the site of our first clinic of the day).
Sure enough the van needed to stay in Cleveland and we needed to rent a van to complete the tour. Ouch! But the band cooperated, Brett Baker, the director at CHHS helped by supplying students to unload the van and load the new one, and my old friend Tom Ianni from Academy Music gave me a ride to the car rental joint. So we’re . . . → Read More: Day 5 Car Troubles
Ok, we’re a little out of sequence here, but thought I’d recount our first couple of gigs now that I have second to blog.
Saturday March 20th was day one:
Road shenanigans, and this is on day 1!
We got together at my house to do one last rehearsal at around noon, then loaded the van and headed out around 3:30. I-78 to I-76 to I-70 through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and into Ohio where we arrived at Ted’s sister’s house in Columbus. A brief few hours of sleep and off to Cincinnati.
Shawn snuggling with my sister's dog Rasta after crashing at her house.
Sunday March 21st – day two: We arrived at the Northside Tavern in Cincinnati around . . . → Read More: Road Notes – Part One
New Tricks did a clinic/concert at Oberlin College today. We were honored to have so many of the great faculty members at Oberlin in attendance. It was great to see so many old friends. Paul Samuels has been such a major influence on my whole musical concept that I can’t imagine having become the musician I am without him. Bob Ferrazza was my running buddy in the old days, when we would sneak in to bars and challenge each other to call out the changes the band was playing. Wendell Logan is the man that has made Oberlin jazz tick since I was young enough to be a “ringer” with the student band. Of course Billy Hart’s presence today gave us all a lift by just being there. But he added more than that by asking more questions than anybody. Billy is the worlds greatest student!
We enjoyed making a lot of new friends with the fantastic students there. It was a rush to work with Paul Samuels’ student ensembles and hear the great talent that is being groomed by this great faculty.
It’s been a ton of work. But the New Tricks Midwest Spring Tour is really about to happen. Click on the “Dates” tab above and see if we’ll be near you. Tell a friend about it. This has been a tremendous undertaking. I’ve been really moved by the warm reception of the friends and presenters who have agreed to book this band on our first extended tour.
We’ve been in the shed for the last few weeks, “workshopping” our new tunes. We’ll be playing 9 new tunes in addition to the 11 on our current release.
The band t-shirts with Rob Henke’s fantastic artwork have already started to sell and we’ve hardly told anyone!
I just added the New Tricks fan link on the right. Please become a fan!