Days 18 -22

Students from St. Charles East and St. Charles West High School

Day 18

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.

A view from the stage at the Norris Arts Center

Day 19

A view of some windmills on our drive through a rain storm to Bloomington.

Off day. Woke up in St. Charles and drove to Bloomington Indiana. We met up with Joey Tartell, master trumpeter and a good friend of mine. He took us to dinner at an excellent Japanese restaurant, then hooked us up with a rehearsal space at the Indiana University where we rehearsed. I’m really knocked out by the dedication of the band. They wanted to clean up a couple of spots on the tunes even after playing them for two and a half weeks.

Day 20

We had noon clinic at IU. The students were very attentive and asked good questions. IU has a very strong jazz program and it was great to meet them and talk about music with them. Pat Harbison was our host. It was great to see him again and we are honored that he would have us in at such a prestigious jazz program. In the afternoon Ted and I did an interview with Joe Bourne at the local NPR affiliate. He seemed very interested in talking about my resume, but Ted and I made it a point to talk about New Tricks and Joe caught on and became very interested in the group dynamic that is our trade mark.

Pre gig stage at Bears in Bloomington In.

Next up was a gig a Bears Restaurant. We played two sets, saw a bunch of old friends. Tom Walsh, the saxophone prof. at IU and a bunch of other musicians showed up. Pat Harbison sat in on “Ah Leu Cha” with us and we had another great gig. Dave Miller was our host for the afternoon and helped set a nice vibe at Bears. Later that night we went to a Pub where a jazz master’s student was playing his recital backed by a student big band. We had a great time hanging with the students and some old friends. Pat and Joey were there, too. A great day in Bloomington!

Day 21

What?! No hotel reservation?

We headed back to Cincinnati, where we started the tour. I took the guys on a little tour of the campus area at the University of Cincinnati,  where I studied many years ago. After we discovered that the hotel had lost our reservation, we hung out in downtown Cincinnati for a few hours before playing three sets of our music. It amazed us all where the music has come over these three weeks. In the middle of the last set, the cats embarrassed me with a “New Tricks” rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Strangely, there were two other guys at the club with the same birthday??

The Last gig on the tour. The Blue Wisp.

Day 22

Long Road Home

We headed up I-71 to our hotel, slept for a few hours and then had to get to Cleveland before Simon Auto closed, to pick up our van. A quick lunch, dropped off the rental van. We said “good-bye” to Ted, who stayed in Ashtabula that night and drove back to New Jersey. I got home in time to tuck in my little ones and see my family. A perfect ending to a fantastic tour. Can’t believe it’s over! Next tour starts in 2 and 1/2 weeks….

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