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Report on a Great Summer in Europe
16/09/2007 14:03:07
SUMMER 2007 TOUR, MY FIRST TIME IN FRANCE and ENGLAND

Italy, Paris, England. Two months. Much travel, many trains, planes, and long car rides. Fine rhythm sections. 22 concerts in all, three weddings in: Sabaudia (can't stop gasping over the beauty of the place), Taranto (Too hot!! But Lino Patruno & co. dropped in to play a number and surprised the rest of us in the band), and Paris. In England I played wth some unforgettable musicians, who show a great deal of depth: pianist Craig Milverton, drummer Malcolm Garrett (wow!), saxophonist Alan Barnes (besides all the other horns, he is PERFECT on bari!!!!!) and so many others.

In Italy I was with many of my favorites. Guitarist Carmelo Tartamella. Bassist Antonio Cervellino. Drummers Vittorio Sicbaldi and Luigi Gungui. So many more, I can't even find the space to talk about them. My admiration grows, and my sense of good fortune to be hooked up with all these great players.

Is Italy the only land that sits musicians down to a meal between sound check and gig? I'm beginning to think so. Have I been spoiled?? Yes!!!

Other than getting stranded in the midland floods in UK, all went perfectly. On that occasion, the concert organizer, Paul, was brilliant about thinking up a road to get me out of there after two nights, so I was able to move on, catch my flight back to Rome and thence back to New York.

Saw some beautiful towns. Played the Birmingham Festival - 6 gigs, lots of great venues - then Swanage on the South Coast, a gorgeous seaside town with ready-made return audience. There I played two gigs, with Alan Barnes and his great rhythm section, and American saxophonist Greg Abate. I couldn't walk down the streeet without someone asking for an autograph or stopping me to make a positive comment. Greg brought some great original tunes, "Hard Bop" and "For the Love of Life". What a fine, fine player and both he and Alan are amazing doublers with great knowledge of the language of bebop and all styles, incredible speed and great ability to render a ballad. Alan's bari sound and style have my unequivocal applause.

When I played "Weaver of Dreams" on tenor someone came up and asked me to check out the hairs standing on end on his arms.

In Bournemouth (where I spent a free day after Swanage - beautiful gardens!), I ran into an attendee in a bookstore, who said he questioned the management's pairing of me with these two giants. That was the first inkling I got that some folks felt this way. I trusted the management's decision and didn't think I was expected to match their level, but rather to play my own style. Who plays like Alan Barnes or Greg Abate?? Who can make an audience laugh like Alan Barnes? These are unique individuals.

I did some research and came across a blog entry by a writer who didn't think it appropriate that I should have been paired with Alan Barnes, and the response that followed it. The critic said that 'someone in my hotel' had said she wondered why they would put us together.


HERE IS THE RESPONSE (BY A REALLY GOOD WRITER!):
Grumpytone said...
Geoff,

Your take on the Barnes/Sudhalter set on Friday of the Swanage Jazz Festival leaves me a little cold. When I first visited Swanage some years ago, it was referred to by one high-profile artist as 'The Alan Barnes Festival' It was said in jest but resonated with everyone, because this view rather over-shadowed other artists. This year's festival, and indeed last year's, did not have the same Barnes obsession, but your comments prompt this response. These paired sets are not in the nature of a competition, but more about mutual appreciation. Carol Sudhalter's quality of expression on both tenor and flute seem to have passed you by, but I am sure will have been noted by Alan Barnes. Much in the way that Greg Abate will have admired Carol's splendid response, at blistering pace, to the complex arrangements he asked her to join him in during their set the next day. A set, by the way, that you chose simply to mention rather than review.

And another thing, Geoff. Dave Brennan's bass player Mick Kennedy announced his retirement at the Festival, not his brother Terry.

2:22 AM


So, so much more to say but will have to post another entry. It's been a great two months. Davide Corini, Carmelo Leotta, Corrado Severi Silvestrini, Vito di Modugno, so many gigantic wonderful players I love, and love to work with too, keep coming to mind. One thought/memory leads to another. But deadlines lie ahead, and computer life can only consume a small part of one's day, or we'd never sit down to a meal!



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"...la raffinata abilità e il buon gusto di Carol, oltre alla sua esemplare capacita di esprimere il suo profondo feeling per il jazz...per questo che sono convinto che Carol sia uno dei più grintosi sassofonisti attualmente sulla scena." W. Royal Stokes, Growing Up With Jazz, Oxford Univ. Press, 2005 Carol Sudhalter, sax baritono, tenore, alto, e flauto, nata e cresciuta a Boston, si è trasferita a New ...


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