Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Really Cool!!

My daughter Rebecca has a way of saying 'Really Cool!!' that never fails to warm my heart. And when Dr. Jazz, my radio promoter sent me the cover of this weeks Jazzweek radio chart, that's what I heard: Really Cool!!. So I'm back at number one on the charts (Jazz Brasil hit #1 as did Con Alma). So why do I feel like such a failure. I can tell myself that it's because I rarely perform, or because I'm 71 and feel time running out or because I still long for a relationship with a woman. But I think time running out is up there as the reason for my persistent negativity.

I've been thinking about the philosopher Heidegger despite disregarding him for both professional and personal reasons. I'm a logician and trained in analytic philosophy rather than in continental philosophy, which Heidegger dominated, and he was a Nazi, belonged to the party and etc. But in checking out Wilkepedia, which embarrassingly I rely on more than any self-respecting academic should, I came upon one of his central ideas that I can relate to, as they say.

The basic idea is that we (all of us, even Jews) come into existence with a relationship to the world, that world that manifests itself as the condition for our being-in-the-world as we are concerned with it through our interactions. Our engagement with the very stuff of our existence: the existence that we care for. But being-in-the-world is conditioned by its temporality, our present draws upon its past as we move ahead into the unfolding future. And at 71 it seems that I can't count on very much future at all.

It's not that I think I haven't accomplished anything. My recent interest in Heidegger is sparked by a doctoral student I'm working with who is writing a dissertation on math and ontology. Just being able to say that should shut me up. For god's sake I have doctoral students and built a successful career as an academic after a really shitty start in the 1970's that included being fired when I got my degree, going bankrupt and having to reinvent myself as an educational consultant and getting my first tenure-track position at 47. But I was associate director of an institute for critical thinking, department chair and as a full-professor have a great job, a reliable income and have been able to live out my dream to create a body of work as a jazz musician.

And dammit, I have a #1 record! Again! But somehow it doesn't do it for me. I still miss the life that didn't happen. Being a working musician and celebrating the success of my music with an audience and with other musicians. The life! I know it is a crappy life. Being on the road, not hearing yourself on stage. Not knowing where your next gig is coming from. Feeling your musical worth loosing purchase as younger musicians are called instead of you. Not to mention that there are very few gigs, that jazz is geriatric in its appeal and as Nicholas Payton has recently said in defense of his move into jazz-fusion (as it used to be called) playing jazz requires you to be a necrophiliac. One step beyond Frank Zappa's infamous gibe that jazz wasn't dead, it just smelled funny.

But boy when I look at the photos on my facebook page from the hundreds of musicians that I am friends with, I crumble at the thought that I am not doing it, and it is overwhelmingly probable that I never will. Those photos of smiling guys in airports with their instruments at their feet, or sitting around tables with their arms on each others shoulders. Boy I miss being a musician among musicians. I have lots of recent photos of myself with musicians, a few from every record date. And when I record it is a short trip to musician heaven. Hangin' out with the guys. The being-in-the-world of musicians. I did it for 15 years starting when I was a kid and lasting until my early-thirties. And even though my rotten personality kept me from enjoying it as much as I should have, I look back to that period as a period of intense engagement with life. And I long for the chance to do it some more. Just like I long for the possibility of one more great romance, one more chance to love someone.

I guess that what happens when the future futures seem be closing off. As the limit from above meets the limit from below (think of calculus) defining the vanishing point of existence. As all past pasts meet all future futures in the obliteration of life, everything vanishing, including especially all future possibilities.

Holy shit! You won't believe it, but I'm not depressed, just telling it like it is. Life is the result of choices and contingencies. And every actuality crowds out all of the unactualized possibilities of roads not taken. As Popeye used to say: I am what I am, and as I might add, I done what I done. I stopped playing trombone, I stopped being a musician. I became a philosopher and started playing the flute. But I sat on two chairs, each with a halbe tuchus (yiddish for half an ass) and so didn't end up doing either with a whole heart or with complete dedication. And I'm stuck with it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ups and downs

Once again, I've let a lot of time go between posts. But things have been complicated. It started with my trip to Israel in June on a grant to work with Arab and Jewish Israeli educators to develop critical thinking in teacher education. This refers back to what I did during the '80's and 90's when I was deeply involved in critical thinking, both in New York where I directed a program called the Reasoning Skills Project and in New Jersey where I was the Associate Director of the Institute for Critical Thinking at the University I teach at. The idea of getting back into the hard work of developing critical thinking programs that promote change is not all that attractive to me at this point in my life. But the idea of trying to do some good in Israel across the Arab-Jewish divide is very compelling. Anyway everything will depend on getting funding and in this economic climate I am not particularly optimistic.

Anyway, I went Israel in June and stayed a few extra days to record an album. That's the guys in the picture. Steve Peskoff, the guitarist who put it together for me is on the left. Steve is the head of the jazz program in a conservatory in Jerusalem. Originally a New Yorker, Steve has been on Israel for about 25 years. I’m next to him, then Steve's son Chaim who played drums, and Gilad Dibrecky a percussionist I played with quite often in the states, who has moved back to Israel. On the right is the bassist Gilad Abro who rounded out the quintet.

We recorded for two days after one day of rehearsal and things went rather well. I put it on a hard drive and took it home. I finally got a chance to pick takes and do a rough mix, which prompted the post. The music is like my other albums, playing jazz in response to world music traditions. We recorded a number of Chassidic tunes (niggunim), three originals (two by me and one by Steve) and a waltz from the 1930's. The engineer says the music is 'Jewish, retro, contemporary' but I guess so are all of my albums. My Cuban, retro, contemporary album El Cumbanchero is mastered the cover is done and going into production.

El Cumbanchero might be the best album I have ever recorded. It certainly has the most beautiful cover, as you can see. I've mentioned this in previous blogs, but it is worth saying again. Aruan Ortiz who wrote the arrangements for string quartet and contributed three original compositions has written one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The fact that he gave this music to me and permitted me to respond with complete freedom is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

Although I have complete confidence in the result, I was a bit anxious as to how the music would be received. Since it uses both a traditional Cuban form, the charanga, and recasts the form in contemporary terms. The first test was when I asked Danilo Lozano to write the liner notes. Danilo is a fine classical flutist working out of LA and a serious student of charanga music. His father Jose Rolando Lozano is one if the legendary Cuban charanga flutists along with Fajardo and Richard Egues. For those of you who don't know much about the music, it is played on a 5-key wooden flute that was the basic flute before the Boehm system became available at the end of the 19th century. It is a flute that is favored in many folk kinds of music and is still used by Irish flutists. It was the instrument of choice for Cuban charanga flutists who played it in the extreme high register. Not only did they play the highest notes with a beautiful tone, but they used a fast operatic vibrato, something that requires enormous strength and control. I on the other hand, am a jazz flutist, use a metal flute (a Powell Aurumite) play mainly in the low and middle register, using high notes only to extend the range of my lines, and use a wide harmonic vocabulary. But I have been playing Cuban-based music for 50 years and have a deep respect for the melodic sweetness and rhythmic power of Cuban music. So I hoped that those who love the charanga would be willing to accept my reconfiguring the charanga flute tradition around my strengths as a jazz flutist. Happily I can report that Danilo was happy to write the liner notes, and without tooting my flute too much was quite positive about my flute playing and how I approached the form.

But to be honest I take much less credit for the beauty of the album, which I owe to Aruan. My only instructions to him was to listen to number of tracks from a CD compilation of the legendary charanga Arcaño and su Maravillas and to 'extend the music from the inside.' I knew I was on the right track when for his first arrangements he choose to rearrange were two of my most favorite compositions, 'Doña Olga' and 'Armoniosos de Amalia.' Choosing to recast these classics, originally arranged by Israel Cachao Lopez, was both a tribute and an enormous risk. The way I approached playing the flute presents an even greater challenge, both to the musicians and to the listener. In the liner notes Danilo focuses on the tension between what we did and the expectations for the audience who is deeply engaged with the charanga tradition. And he sees it as ‘a risk well worth taken.’’ I hope his acceptance is any indication of how others will feel and I have great optimism about the success of the album. But acceptance aside, I think it is truly wonderful music and I know it will be a welcome addition to my work over the past 6 years with Jazzheads records. Needless to say, Randy Klein, the president of Jazzheads is supportive of this latest effort and is planning a significant promotional campaign including branching out internationally. I have already seen some success in this regard. Timbassa was licensed by Japanese label and I get quite a bit on play outside of the US.

Speaking of international connections. I got a chance to play at the Quebec Music Festival in July, thanks to a wonderful woman Jocelyn Michaud who has been promoting my music in Canada. I played with a sextet, two sax players and a rhythm section. I played the parts originally written for flugelhorn. It was quite a different musical context for me, but it was a lot of fun. And I did a few features with the rhythm section that were very well received. All ups so but the downs started the night I got back from Quebec.

When I got back I had no electrical power. I microburst took out a tree which took down all of my external cables. Little did I know that in a few weeks many people would suffer much worse as storms, floods and fires would result in far greater catastrophes. But at the time, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, even though I was up and running in a few days. I started teaching my usual two section of a graduate course in research methods. Three weeks into the semester I had one of the all-time pain experiences of my life, and I have a few, diverticulitis that led to major surgery in 2000 followed by a large kidney stone a few months later. The kidney turned out to be a lucky break, since when they did a procedure to see how big the stone was they saw a sponge that was left in me when I lost a foot and a half of colon to the diverticulitis. More recently I had a glaucoma attack that was one of the worst headaches I ever experienced. I had disregarded sign of glaucoma for some time, and by the time I got to the emergency room I was very close to losing the sight in my right eye. You think I would have learned not to disregard pain. Anyway, back to the my recent travails. I had been having stomach aches for several months and even after finding out on Google that there is no disease called a stomach ache or even one called indigestion, and that people over 55 should take frequent stomach pain seriously, I didn't pay much attention, assuming it was something I had eaten. Until the third week of my class, on a Sunday I sat with crippling pain for an entire afternoon telling myself I had food poisoning from the smoked salmon omelet I had for breakfast. Then all of a sudden the pain went away and I set down in a room without an air conditioner to watch television. In about a half hour I started shivering violently. I checked my temperature and it was normal, but the shivering got worse. I took my temperature again and it was starting to climb. When it hit 102.4 I went to the emergency room. After 9 days I was finally allowed to leave, without a gall bladder. It was a simple laparoscopic surgery that usually gets you out and about in 24 hours. But not when you have been disregarding stomach pain for several months. I was badly infected with a blocked bile duct, the resulting jaundice and liver malfunctions, plus blood pressure off of the scale. Plus my poor students didn't have classes for the rest of the semester but still had to produce a semester project. Fortunately I could read their papers on the Internet and get them comments by email. I gave lots of A's so nobody got hurt.

Those are the downs.

One more up. I got through Irene with just a damp basement and no trees down despite the fact that I am surrounded by big trees and I thought it was great that my house is covered with English ivy. Unfortunately so are the biggest trees in my back yard and the tree lady says it is only a matter of time before the ivy kills them. But if I don't take warnings seriously about my self, how can I be expected to worry about ivy. There is nothing like being a critical thinking expert who is a complete damn fool.

Friday, April 29, 2011

hope conquers all

Well my best chance for an end run around the music scene towards recognition has been seriously compromised. NARAS, the folks who give you the Grammys got rid of the Latin Jazz category. That was a funny category in a way, the only subdivision by genre. Jazz was divided into instrumental, vocal, big band, contemporary and Latin jazz. But there was no free jazz, no mainstream jazz, no Dixieland, only Latin jazz. So in a typical year there would be hundreds of entries into instrumental jazz and only dozens in Latin jazz. So you could always hope that you could sneak in at the bottom (the nominations are for the top 5). But with hundreds of jazz records to compete with, everyone from Chick Corea to Vijay Iyer, getting a nomination for a recording on a small independent label (most Latin jazz comes out on small labels) looks pretty bleak.

But anyway, a Grammy nomination would have been the one way to move up in the consciousness of the jazz scene, although talking to guys who got nominated, it doesn’t change things that much. In fact for a long time I thought that was the only way, given my limitations. Teaching full time I can't afford to take tours that would make me have to cancel classes. They know about my music at the university, put since I do my job they disregard it. But if I was making money as a musician in a way that was a detriment to my teaching I’d be out on my ear. No professor’s salary, no recording. So the only way I’ll be known is if my records are taken seriously and a Grammy nomination would have been perfect. But there is no point in crying over spilled milk. And to top it all off, my last record Jazz Brasil debuted at #1 in the country and has been at the top of the Jazzweek World chart and top 10 in Jazzweek Jazz, for 10 weeks. With Kenny Barron on the record, this was my shot for a nomination, but there is no easy way without the Latin jazz category. I’ll put it in the Latin Grammy (if they don’t do something weird) and as instrumental jazz in the regular Grammy (and get to compete with Wynton Marsalis et al). It’s like they took a target away and I got a quiver full of arrows. I guess I’m stuck with the big target in the sky. I have to make records just to make a record of my music. I have to think enough of my music to make it real, and for me real has always meant recordings. As my ex-wife Joyce used to say, it is all about making art objects. But I’ve always been hungry for recognition, never secure enough in my musical abilities to rely on doing the best I could. I wanted the world to tell me how good I was. I’m 70 years old and still as hungry for approval as I was when I was 25. Damn, when will I ever grow up.

But I’m stuck with it. I have another record finished, the modern charanga album, El Cumbanchero, written by Aruan Ortiz (scroll down a few entries) and the tango album with Pablo Aslan (2 nominations, Grammy and Latin Grammy, in 2010 for Latin Jazz) is just about done. And I’m going back to Israel in June to make a record there. And I’m going into the studio tomorrow to work on the tangos and I’m writing the blog as a bit of occupational therapy. I have to get past the Grammy crap (me and everyone else have been on facebook and twitter, signing petitions all day) and get into the head to play music.

The picture above is from my trip to Isreal last June. I’m sitting in a park overlooking the old city. I videotaped myself playing and have still not gotten around to editing it down (I recorded about an hour). I have to stop, and get ready for a day in the studio tomorrow.

I'm back! The photo above is the trio that recorded the last half of the tango album, guitarist Francisco (Pancho) Navarro on my right and on my left, Pablo Aslan, who managed 2 GRAMMY nominations in 2010 for the same album, one on the Latin Grammy and for Latin Jazz in the Grammy. That is the 3rd album I recorded with Grammy nominees (the others were Con Alma with Mark Levine and Tales From the Earth with Omar Sosa). Well who knows, the Latin jazz community is up in arms with petitions to NARAS to reinstate the Latin Jazz category, and all sorts of theories about why it is being dropped (all focused on the rise of the indie labels and backlash from the pop establishment, since Esperanza Spaulding got the big prize in 2010). If any of you want to get involved, here is a link to the petition.

I was obsessed with the Grammy controversy when I started this post and since then I have been taught an object lesson in why negativity is a meaningless response to disappointment. The Grammy awards are open to every one who is a member of NARAS and the scuttle-butt is that that majors make everyone who works for the label join so that they can swamp the voting without doing campaigning, which is actually in violation of NARAS rules. So among us small-fry the word is that it is all 'politics' with music taking second place to connections. Not that anyone complains when they beat the system and get a nomination. But the real test of your status in the jazz cosmos was always the Downbeat critics poll (and I can't even get a review in Downbeat, so that's out) and the Jazz Journalists Association. The JJA is a group of jazz writers who represent the most informed group of individuals, including musicians, since they represent all of those who focus on jazz through an intellectual and critical perspective. Every year they vote in a broad number of categories, including flute. And, mirabilis dictu, I have been nominated as Flutist of the Year for 2011. I'm one of five, and I don't think I'll win, since some flute stalwarts are in the running. To get a sense of how prestigious the group of nominees is check out the 2011 nominee list. So I'm back up off the floor after a glancing blow to the heart from NARAS and full of hope that somehow my music will survive. That is the point of recognition after all. When I was younger a big part of being a musician was the hope that it would yield romance. It did in a way. I met my first wife playing bass in a pre-hippie illegal club called the Jazz Zoo, a block away from Brooklyn College during my freshman year. And that was a disaster, since I was married shortly thereafter, and that put a stop to my romantic aspirations. I was not happily married to say the least. Playing trombone got me a few cherished affairs, being on the road has fringe benefits for unhappily married musicians and I met Souix, my teenage sweetheart playing the flute in the park. But generally speaking, it has been my experience that playing music is over-rated as a seduction strategy. For most guys the major fringe benefit of being a musician is getting to 'hang' with the guys. It certainly was for me, and the recognition that you get from the musicians you play with is as good as it gets. But at 70 years old, and only starting recording at 56 my main fear was that my recordings wouldn't make enough of an impact so that they would be part of the consciousness of musicians and music lovers after I have moved on to the proverbial green pastures. Getting good reviews and radio play was a sign that my fears were somewhat less than reasonable. Getting the JJA nomination gives me a real sense that I am making an impact with my recordings and that my music well be seen as a contribution to that ethereal world, distributed among the artifacts and minds of human beings that is the only world for which artists have concern. Wouldn't it be a gas if the Lord liked jazz, according to the Good Book, He certainly loves singing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year, new music

Happy New Year to all! Well it's official. Jazz Brasil is officially released; promotion starts in the next few week with albums sent out to reviewers and radio stations and if it works out I'm finally moving into the 21st century with twitter. I'm trying even harder to get my music noticed and I'm going to work to build more of a presence through social media. This is partly the idea of the record company. To try to broaden my fan base, mainly people who listen to Latin jazz, to other groups that might appreciate what I'm trying to do. A few blogs ago I mentioned my performance at the National Flute Association (NFA), and I still see flute players as a group that I want to reach out to. Jazz Brasil is going to be included in an article on jazz flute players who performed at the NFA in the groups very classy periodical, The Flutist Quarterly, but if I am going to keep the attention of classical flute players, many of whom are flute teachers, I'm going to have to do something that relates to their needs and interests.

From what I pick up from flute lists, a few more school jazz ensembles are using flute players, and the general increase in interest in jazz at all educational levels should be able to be connected to the literally thousands of kids, teens and college students who play flute. My idea is to start another blog geared to aspiring jazz flutists and to introduce classical flutists to the possibility of playing and teaching others how to play jazz on flute. What I'm planning, although I'm not sure whether it will prove technically or financially feasible is to have a place where aspiring jazz flutists can post links to their recordings or videos and where others can listen and comment on the music. Sort of a virtual master class for jazz flute. That will be supported by jazz flute discussions including responses from more experienced jazz flutists and flute teachers to start to build a community of support and awareness of the potential for flute as a major contributor to jazz.

Among the incentives to put up the blog is my desire to make my early (pre-Jazzheads) recordings more available so that my own development as a musician is acoustically available to those who are interested in my music. This blog tells the on-going story, but it is, after all, about the music. That brings me back to Jazz Brasil. Jazz Brazil is my fourth significant effort to record Brazilian music. It is preceded by Lua e Sol and O Nosso Amor, both of Jazzheads and a number of earlier efforts. Jazz Brasil is probably my most 'inside' album. As I mentioned in the previous blog, playing with Kenny Barron landed me right in the center of my bebop roots. I came up in Brooklyn in the late 50's and early 60's and the musicians I was connected with, especially the African-American musicians like Ronnie Matthews, who was part of a group of musicians centered around Red Hook Projects (where I lived as a toddler) had a distinctive perspective on where to take bebop (white musicians who came out of the Brooklyn scene included the brilliant clarinetist and saxophonist Eddie Daniels). I was an undergraduate at Brooklyn College (as was Eddie) which supported a community orchestra in which I played trombone that included Jimmy Garrison in the bass section. But the strongest influence on me was composer and pianist Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, who was probably best known in the jazz world for his work with Max Roach. 'Perk' as we called him, was the orchestra conductor and on the side he had a jazz sextet that he wrote for in which I played trombone from time to time. I wish I could remember all the musicians in it. But it was a 'rehearsal band' and so different guys played at different times. I was the only student in the group and I was in awe of the music and the musicians. Booker Ervin, who I played with later in a sextet led by a very talented but obscure pianist-composer Paul Knopf around the same time, sometimes played tenor, also alto player Bobbie Brown, who also played with me and Paul Knopf as well. But I digress!

Anyway, playing with Kenny was pure bliss, although the record date had some tensions (both Nilson and I were very much aware of the fact that we were recording with a jazz master). And since there were no rehearsals, the session was intense. So intense that we didn't take any pictures (nobody wanted the intrusion of photographs while we were recording. But we did take pictures during a break. I like this one (Phil Ludwig my engineer is standing next to Kenny Barron, with Nilson Matta and drummer Marcello Pelliterri on the other side):

My playing on Jazz Brasil is in interesting contrast to both the records that preceded it, Timbasa and Lua e Sol. Both of the earlier albums were very much cutting edge. The young Cuban musicians (Axel Tosca Laugart and Panagiotis Andreou both won Best Latin Jazz of 2010 awards for their work on Timbasa on piano and bass, respectively) were playing beyond anything I have heard. That album, in its own way, is so far in advance of what is going on in Latin jazz that I expect it to be years before the musicians integrate what those guys were doing with the music. And my playing of the album drew upon everything I knew and more. Playing up to those guys was a challenge and I am very pleased with the result. Similarly for Lua e Sol. Cyro Baptista is probably the most innovative percussionist in Brazilian music. His own music (Beat the Donkey and other ensembles) reflects the avant garde scene both in Brazil and New York. Using him on the record, with no drummer, freed Romero Lubambo and Nilson Matta to experiment with form and texture. Again, my playing in response to them pushed beyond the standard idea of bossa-nova flute playing and enabled me to freely explore melodically and harmonically. But then came Jazz Brasil.

You can hear three complete tracks from the record on my myspace page:

In particular check out my version of 'Brazil,' the most classic of all of the Brazilian tunes, Ary Barroso's anthem. My statement of the melody is as pure as it can be. And the solo is right on the pocket, nothing fancy just those great changes and the sweet spots to make clear and musical statements. My approach to playing the melodies of great tunes is based on hours of listening to Frank Sinatra on AM-radio. I was working as a consultant in the New York City public schools, running something called the Reasoning Skills Project in the mid-80's and I had half-ownership of of 76 Dodge Dart with my ex-wife (it had been her father's car) She had it weekends and I had it to drive around from school to school throughout Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. I was in the car a lot and it only had an AM radio. And there was a program that played Frank Sinatra, and only Frank Sinatra, all day long. Like everyone else on the planet I had heard Frank Sinatra, but is was only in the Dodge Dart that I really learned to listen to him. And what struck me was the care and precision with which he just sang the notes 'as written.' That become my model for playing great melodies and 'Brazil' is certainly as great a melody as anyone could hope for.

How far my performance on Jazz Brasil is from my earlier attempts a playing Brazilian music is best looked at in comparison to the other extreme. In 1998 I recorded an album of trios, playing Afr0-Cuban, Brazilian and post-bebop with three different groups of guys. The trio that did Brazilian music was Romero Lubambo and Cyro Baptista, and what we did there makes Lua e Sol look timid by comparison. Each group played two extended improvizations. When I played the first trio for Romero (Jean-Paul Bourelly on guitar and Milton Cardono on percussion) Romero suggested we record a classic baião, basically a 16-bar blues, probably by the master of the baião, Luis Gonzaga. We play the tune for close to 16 minutes. It is a serious composition, improvised completely (the only prearranged part is the figure it ends with). It moves through 3 distinct sections and includes some of the best playing by Romero on any of my records. Check it out, track 2 on the album):

Here is where I have to take it on faith that you listened to it. And this goes back to my earlier discussion of my proposed new blog. I want to talk to musicians about that piece of music. I want to engage in a technical discussion of its form, its use of structure, its use of harmonic motifs, it's use of contrasting acoustical environments and especially how it is possible to create such long forms through improvisation. That is, I want to start taking my music seriously and engaging with jazz theoretician and teachers using my music and their music as the basis for the discussion. Such a discussion includes how artists, change and develop. To give you an idea of where it came from and some other places I went check out two other early Brazilian recordings. The first is from my first album, Seasoning, recorded two years before Jazz World Trios in 1996. It is flute and two acoustic guitarists, Vic Juris and his student Robert Reich. It is a recording of my favorite tune from my favorite movie, 'Felicidades' from the movie 'Black Orpheus,' track #8:

After I recorded Jazz World Trios (and returned from California where I recorded Cuban Roots Revisited for Cubop records) I recorded an album of duos, Three Deuces, with three different guitarists, Vic Juris, Ed Cherry and Paul Meyers. Paul contributed an original tunes called 'Andando.' Here it is (track #2):

But is was a collaboration with guitarist, singer and composer Richard Boukas that consolidated my interest in Brazilian music and introduced me to Nilson Matta who would co-produce all of my Brazilian recordings on Jazzheads, eventually reconnected me with Romero Lubambo and Cyro Baptista. The album with Boukas was his concept throughout. First, suggesting that we record all Hermeto Pascoal, compositions, then settling on tunes from Hermeto's Calendario do Som, writing all of the arrangements, playing a myriad of guitar-like instruments, singing, booking the musicians, running the sessions and mixing. The album is called Tudo de Bom and is well worth checking out.

If you would like more, there are two sets of videos of duo's with Paul Meyers, one in concert in 1999, right after I recorded Jazz World Trios and another group that I recorded for the NFA competition a few years ago. They are to be found at:

They include my least favorite bossa-nova, 'Wave' ( a requirement of the competition) which I learned as a trombone player playing club dates the last year I played professionally before taken a few years break from music to earn my PhD. And which I played endlessly when I was broke, playing flute on the street for spare change in the late 70's (I was fired from my full-time teaching gig at CUNY when I got my PhD, since they had to promote me, but all promotions where cannibalized due to the budget crisis of 1976).

Such is life! Let us all wish for peace, health and happiness in 2011 (and a little prosperity wouldn't hurt).