Ali Jackson shares this “Note from the Road.”
San Francisco, March 20-24
We rolled into San Francisco on a sunny afternoon to conclude the “sleeper” bus portion of our tour. This would also be the last Cali city of the tour. We were all excited and interested to see the new home/ performance space ofSFJAZZ. We were more than content to be in one place for a few days and that satisfaction started with stellar sun rays.
'Everyday travel' is one of the most difficult aspects of touring. When you can stay in the same hotel for more than a day, it's a gift. You can get your laundry done and suits dry cleaned. The city of San Fransisco was an added bonus. Most of the times we have days off in small towns with not much happening. SF is culturally diverse, scenic, architecturally interesting, historic, eclectic, foodie conscious, hill heavy and hike happy hip big city.
This SFJAZZ residency was the most musically challenging portion of our tour. We performed over 60 compositions ranging from early Jazz to original compositions a few weeks old. These pieces covered an uncommon diversity of techniques and approaches from lyrical to cacophonous to everything in between. The commitment of our orchestra was clearly demonstrated in showcasing the diversity of compositions and artistic conceptions. I felt we performed all of the music with zestful feeling and serious intent.
We had a JLCO vs SFJAZZ softball game on March 22. This was fun! The friendly game was followed up by a concert.
See this post:https://www.facebook.com/alidrums/posts/10152314841184851
In touring, the most memorable and meaningful thing is seeing family, old friends and meeting new friends. It’s always great to see Lilly Schwartz. She has been involved with presenting good music and Jazz at Lincoln Center for years now. Her Jazz exuberance and skills have found a welcoming home with the SFJAZZ family. The soulful Robert Stewart ( Tenor saxophone & JLCO alum) sat in with us Friday on a smokey blues. The brilliant Lawrence Patrick (former JALC Director of Strategy and Business Development) graced us every night. He is always noting and tracking the artistic evolutions of the band; individually and collectively. Lawrence and I have been friends since 2nd grade.
Sam Berkow (Founder of SIA Acoustics & acoustic consultant on SFJAZZ’s performance facility) picked our brains on what it felt like to play in SFJAZZ’s (and his) new performance space. Scott Steiner (film maker/ film editor/ music editor & long time friend and collaborator) came to 4 of our shows, bringing a diversity of guests to each show. We met Scott on the silent film “Louis” that many of us in the JLCO worked on. He also opened his home to host two post concert receptions.
Last but not least, it’s always great to see our students and upcoming musicians. I saw Kanoa Mendenhall (bass) at the post-soundcheck Q & A hosted by Dan Nimmer and Paul Nedzella. Blane Wilson, young pianist (B.S. Candidate at Stanford University) came to send his greetings, anecdotes and optimism for the future of Jazz music.
On Sunday, I went to the hall early for 2 reasons: to shed on the Charles Mingus music and to give Tim Angulo a lesson. Tim is a drummer and junior in high school and I met him the last time we played the Zellerbach Hall in Berkley, CA. The lesson was on sound and function of the drum set- two principles often overlooked.
Good weather, good people and good music make a good time.
That is what was had in San Francisco. We are ready to ride the home stretch of winter tour 2014 on out.