Tag Archives: concert

Great Tristan, Mozart victim of swine-flu, what do kids listen to?

I came home Wednesday night last week after the dress rehearsal of Brief Encounter, André Previn’s new opera, and happened to turn on the TV just as the last act of Tristan and Isolde started. This was a live performance from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conducted by James Levine, and it was great! I’ve always liked the overture (or “vorspiel” as Wagner calls it) but never though I’d enjoy 5 hours of Wagner until I got to play it with the Royal Opera in Stockholm last fall. It’s mesmerizing, great story, great music!

If you get a chance to see it, do it, but bring a snack!

Thursday night we rehearsed Mozart’s c-minor Mass at the Centrum in Spring, north of Houston. Everything worked fine until the school district (half the choir was from a local high-school) decided to suspend all extra-curricular activities because of the swine-flu. They moved the concert from last Sunday to May 17, which means I can’t play the concert because of a jazz gig! Even Mozart is not immune to the flu! Luckily it seems like the outbreak is a lot less severe than first thought.

So what’s that jazz gig on May 17? It’s at the Houston Community College northwest, a benefit concert for guitar-great Mike Nase, who suffered a stroke in December. It’ll start in the afternoon through evening, and pretty much all the Houston jazz cats will be there. I will play with Matt Lemmler’s sextet, and also Joel Fulgham’s big band. Come check it out!

This is funny: My ten- and seven-year-olds come home from school raving about all these really cool tunes. Turns out it’s all these songs from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” from 1983! The kids have since been glued to the computer, watching youtube-videos from the 80’s! I don’t mind at all, when was the last time parents and kids actually agreed on music? I played Jakob some Tower of Power, and he thought it was the coolest thing, not realizing it’s 30 years old!

I asked some high-schoolers not too long ago what they listen to, since I have no clue what’s popular right now. The answer: the Beatles!

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Teaching at music camps this summer

After coming back to Houston, I’ve been hanging out with my kids a lot, going to the pool almost every day. The last week of June, I was on the jazz faculty for the American Festival for the Arts. AFA is a high-school camp that goes over several weeks. It’s mostly orchestral, but they have one week of jazz each year.

We had lots of fun, great kids and a killer faculty under the direction of sax-player Warren Sneed. The rest of the faculty was Pamela York piano, Dennis Dotson trumpet, Woody Witt sax, Mike Wheeler guitar, David Craig bass and Sebastian Whittaker drums. That’s the kind of camp I wanted to go to as a kid! We ended the week with a concert in Zilka Hall at the Hobby Center. The bands were kicking, and we had a blast.

I also taught trombone master classes at the Austin High School in Sugarland for one week in August. The kids were great, very appreciative, and we had a good time doing both fundamentals, classical and jazz playing. On August 22 we had a concert/live CD recording at the Lakewood church with Israel Houghton, Cindy Cruse, the band and the choir. It should be a kicking gospel album, to be released in November together with the new book by Joel Osteen.

The Houston Ballet season starts with rehearsals late August. I’m also playing a jazz concert September 2 with Barrie Lee Hall, great trumpet player and musical director of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

That’s it for now, more to follow.

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