For the past few years I have wondered how the summers manage to disappear. It’s definitely my most busy time of year, and it’s rare that I can get a few days off to visit the beach or do anything summer-fun related, but this year seems to have really taken the cake. I haven’t been able to post a blog or do much of anything (laundry? grocery shopping? nah!) since July started. As I get back into blogging, let me share with you a few highlights from my travels.
This was my 5th year to teach at the Litchfield Jazz Camp. If you’re friends with me on facebook then you see me post pictures and links, but if you haven’t checked Litchfield out, you should. Litchfield is a 5 week Jazz camp for young people (ages vary from 10 – 18, and even adult students on occasion) which culminates in the 3 day Litchfield Jazz Festival in August. The students are great, the teachers are great, and the location is really great (this year the camp moved to Canterbury School in New Milford CT. It’s an amazing locale. Trust me.) I usually teach one week (piano mostly, not so many vocal students) and teach my ensemble the music of Clark Terry. It’s a special time for me to get to share some of Clark’s wisdom and his music with young people who, unfortunately, won’t get to meet him in person. The camp is still ongoing, and the festival is only a few weeks away. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth visiting.
The Official Group Portrait from LJC Week 1 (Thanks Dale!)
After finishing my week at Litchfield (which, by the way, totally exhausts me because I have to be teaching every morning at 9 AM, YIKES) it was time to travel to France for a short 3 concert trip. We played in Paris on Bastille Day at Sunside Jazz Club and then traveled north to the Valjoly Jazz Festival. I love being able to see different parts of France and this trip was no exception. We stayed on a working dairy farm and enjoyed fresh milk, cream, and yogurt among other fancy homemade jams and breads. The concert was a success and I was able to meet a young Jazz fan, Violette.
The concert at Jazz en Val de Cher was really picturesque as the stage was on a small island in the river. The backdrop of the town was just gorgeous, and since I have played in this region before it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces.
What an incredible view from the stage….
So then, back to NYC and to teach for the first time at Rutgers Summer Jazz Institute in New Brunswick NJ. It was their first time ever to teach Jazz vocals and it was really fun for me to help integrate the vocal students into the current schedule and curriculum. We had a great time singing together and they learned Eddie Jefferson’s “Now’s the Time” among several other songs that they performed on the Friday concert. Rutgers is hoping to start a full time Jazz vocal program in the next few years; I’ll keep you updated.
Me with 3 Vocalists from the Rutgers Camp, Having FUN!
During the same week of the Rutgers camp I also visited with the students at the William Paterson Summer Camp (hi guys!) and performed at Novita in Metuchen NJ as part of my usual Thursday appearances (come by sometime!).
Now, I am back in NYC and back to my regular schedule of gigs (please visit my website for current dates); and even looking forward to some days of relaxation and music on Shelter Island, where I’ll be playing music at the Pridwin Hotel August 3 &4, August 10 & 11, and August 24 & 25.
Come see me and as always, thanks for reading!