Anyways, life has been pretty cool over here. Since my last post I've done a bunch of traveling with Roy Haynes to Japan, France, Germany, Israel... I'm trying to think of the other places we hit in Europe last summer, but I can't now. Israel was interesting. It wasn't easy for me to get in to the country based on the fact that I have an Arabic name. Although I was born and raised Christian, upon entering Israel I was asked by a customs agent who named me. When I told him it was by my Uncle who was studying Islam at the time, I was taken into a room and interrogated for a while. The thing that disturbed me was the other people in the room were all muslims... Talk about profiling.. I guess the situation over there is a lot deeper than I thought it was. All that said, I had a great time there.. Especially on the beach.
Other highlights of the Fall included two performances with the Dave Holland Big Band and Octet in Chicago and Tanglewood, a performance with Christian Mcbride in Philadelphia, and an end of the year performance with the Roy Haynes Quartet at Birdland celebrating the clubs 60th anniversary. The first day was an invitation only party the included MANY legends of so called Jazz... All I can say is I walked out on the stage to see Hank Jones, Grady Tate, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Heath, and Frank Wess in the front row alone. Lee Konitz, Paquito D'rivera, and Louis Hayes were also in the audience.. So needless to say, I was a bit nervous. I tried my best to be cool and kept my eyes on the picture in the back of the room the whole night! It was a great experience all in all and I got to talk to Lou Donaldson, who was very cool and told me he really enjoyed the performance.... Having read his latest Jazztimes before and after, I was relieved!
Well, I'm just getting back from a gig with the Gregg August Sextet and have a long day a head of me tomorrow. So I'm gonna split for now... Hopefully I'll have a more up to date post soon. - LEEL