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Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA (2)

Yesterday was a good day ... didn't even have to use my AK (wait a minute, I don't have an AK!). The Mexican place on the corner turned out to be pretty good. I had tacos al pastor that were just about perfect. From the decor of the small restaurant, it looks like the owners are from Acapulco.

I walked over to the conference to register and listen to a few papers in the afternoon. The Radisson is about a half mile away, and there are no sidewalks, but I made it. Today I'm skipping the morning sessions because I ... Do I really have to give a reason? But I'll be there all afternoon. My talk is at 2:30.

I did a little web search (jazz pittsburgh September 23) and found out that the Bob Mintzer big band was playing last night, so I bought a ticket on-line. My hotel has a shuttle service. A bunch of kids were heading downtown, some to see the Foo Fighters, others to see the Reds and Pirates play baseball, so the van was full. The venue was a sort of art gallery / jazz concert hall in what seemed to be a warehouse district. A huge UPS center across the street, for example. The racially mixed crowd was a little older. If I had gone to see the Foo Fighters, I would have probably been one of the oldest dudes there. As it was, I was a younger-than-average concert goer. The program was Brazilian music, at least Brazilian music as filtered through the sensibility of a top-notch American big band. Since I played in a big band a couple of times, I kinda know what it's about: how they are structured (five saxes, four T-bones, four trumpets, drums, bass, piano and guitar). The arrangements were amazing (there's no way I could have played one of the sax parts), complex but swinging, and the execution was flawless. All the saxes could double, either on flute or clarinet. Those who took solos could really blow, especially one of the trumpets, a trombonist, the second tenor, and Mintzer himself, also on tenor. The pianist was Russell Ferronte, who plays with Mintzer in the Yellowjackets. Mintzer got up and introduced all the tunes ... He told a funny story about a trip to Brazil where he was supposed to do a clinic with a big band. He says only one sax showed up, only one trombone, and four trumpets, three of whom wouldn't be at the performance because they had a gig. And they all had the second parts, "not a melody for miles," Mintzer said. "So play as loud as you can and I'll see you at the last note." This in talking about the Brazilian approach to life: take things as they come. For the last three tunes they invited up a Brazilian singer/guitarist by the name of Chico Perinho. He had nice tunes, and he could play, but I wasn't crazy about his singing.

I got a taxi back to the hotel.

Now I think I'll work on my paper a bit, get cleaned up, have lunch again at the Mexican place, and head over to the Radisson.



May 2019



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