Growing up in Oklahoma my family and I would often drive to Chicago to see Jazz. When I was 15 I saw Benny Green & Russell Malone at the Jazz Showcase and then a few months later I saw Frank Morgan for the first time, with Willie Pickens, Robert Shy, and Marlene Rosenberg as his rhythm section. Because of those two shows, the Jazz Showcase was my first “Jazz Club” experience. When I dreamt of moving to New York and playing clubs like the Village Vanguard, I imagined them in the image of the Jazz Showcase. Working as a musician in Chicago was, in my mind, the pinnacle of success on the Jazz Scene. I even remember, when I was 11 years old, going to Ravinia for the first time and seeing the fans of Joe Williams and Clark Terry line up around the arena – I imagined one day I too would have fans that would bring me plates of fried chicken and greens. 🙂
This past Wednesday I performed in Chicago for the first time – at the Jazz Showcase. We are in week 3 of our Sings & Swings Tour and on Wednesday I performed as a special guest on Solitaire Miles‘ show WITH Willie Pickens and Robert Shy! It was truly a special night for me. The Showcase is in a different location now, but the magic has followed to the new spot. I love that it’s a huge room with excellent sight lines and the greatest Jazz paraphernalia on the walls.
Solitaire was so kind and generous to let me play so much on both sets. I’ve known Solitaire about 6 years, although we met in person for the first time on Wednesday! That’s the power of Facebook! 🙂
Last night (Thursday) I played at Andy’s Jazz Club with my own band. Also a wonderful experience! Like the Showcase it’s a big room and there’s something magical in the air. My friend Robb Jackson came and shot some gorgeous photos:
I am so happy to have one more chance this week to play in Chi-Town. Thanks to all my friends, new and old, that have come out and made this so special!