Blues Alley debut w/Arturo O'Farrill a big success!
I had two rhythm sections backing us that night who are also the same players on the CD. Bassist Eric Leifert and drummer Tom Barrick started each set and then bassist Leo Lucini and his brother Alejandro finished each set. The magnificent percussionist Alfredo Mojica played all evening as did pianist Arturo O'Farrill. We packed the house for the first set and the mood was electric. There was a lot of risk to it all as well because I had very little time to practice with Arturo let alone the other musicians. It was time to fly by the seat of our pants, something I love doing. Fortunately I had all the music written and prepared so we had a pretty good road map going into it. The audience was wonderful, lots of friends and family and fans from way back in the day. The staff at Blues Alley was impeccable too. It was first rate all around!
We were very fortunate to capture some video of the sound check which I will be editing on Monday with the very talented videographer Corbin Long to release as a You Tube promo video soon. I think we are going to do a few interviews for that as well. Our tour schedule is still in the works and I will be discussing everything with an agent this week. I am very excited at the prospect of playing more of these kinds of shows. Its such a win/win for everyone involved to experience music at a place like Blues Alley where the sound, lighting and overall mood is so conducive to listening. These Jazz rooms are such a refreshing change after performing in noisy bars, lounges, and packed clubs my entire career.
At a Jazz club, its more like every little thing you do is heard and appreciated or sometimes even critiqued by your peers. But its all good. I remember back in the late 90's when people smoked in bars and the smoke was like this haze between the performer and the listener. Folks would talk pretty loud too and the combination of the smoke and the noise was at times overwhelming, but it allowed for a lot of creative exploration (cough cough) Those days are over and there is a lot more awareness about the music in a space. Audiences want to listen and take the journey. The entire musical experience can be fulfilled at a place like Blues Alley. I hope more clubs like this pop up.
I love being under the lights with the pressure on. It feels like home more than anything else I have experienced. I am not saying I wasn't nervous up there on the stage. I was feeling crazy butterflies before we played, but they were more exhilarating than anything. I felt like I was about to ski down a steep mountain or surf some big waves. I was scared to death but I knew I would have the time of my life and I did. I also knew I would take everyone with me on that journey, and that they would feel better for it. Based on the feedback so far, folks left that night feeling exhilarated and happy which is exactly what I was hoping for! Looking forward to the next adventure! ~ mjh