I’m crazy about England and have always been treated beautifully there, beginning with my first hiring for a recital at Eton, and rock star treatment at Claridges, where I was housed for my stay.
“Now THIS is a country that knows how to treat a jazz musician!” I thought.
My love for Brits grew when my concert was cancelled (due to scheduling issues) and the presenter felt so bad he insisted I stay a WEEK and enjoy my Claridges digs and see the sights.
This is what we call a “good gig”, for those of you new to jazz.
I’ve played a number of clubs in England, but my most memorable performances have been in unusual settings. One of my favorites, was the Chipping Camden Music Festival in a converted barn, open on one side to the picnicking audience spread across an endless green field surrounded by gently rolling hills dotted with grazing sheep. The beautifully attired revellers sipped champagne and ate from white linen-covered tables loaded with delectable-looking goodies. American picnics are all about fried chicken, beer, ants and bug spray, so this was all very exotic to me.
I especially enjoyed my reception when I was introduced to enthusiastic applause and “BAAAAA . . . BAAAA!!!!!” from the hills. “Wow, even English sheep are into jazz!”
My present English adventure is my upcoming participation in the International Wimbledon Music Festival November 21st. I often perform in classical festivals where I’m the only jazz presented, and love this opportunity to bring new ears to the music.
I’m a fanatical tennis player, so of course when I first received the email asking me to play Wimbledon, I jumped at the chance. When I focused a bit more, I realized my tennis skills would not be required, but this will not stop me from telling everyone that I’ve “played Wimbledon”.