Sailboat in the Moonlight
Whew! It was 4:43 in the morning and Irene has the wheel. We were driving through France on our way to London.
Spain was a wonderful experience…but very, very busy. I had absolutely no time to do anything but play and write and record. Julio Marti most often promotes our concerts in Spain, and the vivacious Marjorie Hernanz is our guide on the road. We have played El Festival de Jazz de San Javier many times and are always met with tremendous enthusiasm. There is a real following for jazz here that has been cultivated by this festival. This is the people's affair. It is a thriving community cultural event.
The venue was an outdoor ancient Greek-style theatre of about 1600 seats which sits in the heart of a down-home neighborhood. We sound checked in 95 degree heat (the sax section had towels over their heads). The hotel was about 25 minutes from the venue so we bring our clothes and negotiate —- ironing them, having them ironed, borrowing belts— collar stays— cuff links, and even sometime cologne ( Vic calls it 'smell sweet'). The meal before this concert is always memorable because it is served with warmth and hospitality at large outdoor family-picnic style tables.
We played a swinging concert and are brought back for several encores. We could hear very well (unusual in an outside venue) and many solos were imaginative—-Ted Nash and Chris Crenshaw come to mind most immediately, but the rhythm section really caught fire. The Equal Opportunity Rhythm Section went to work that night ladies and gentleman…..and this was the right place for it because people there love to swing.
At the end of the concert, Ms. Josefa Hernandez and festival director Alberto Meca presented me with a shining gold and mahogany plaque "in recognition of my life of contribution to the arts and in gratitude for the fine concerts we have played here." I was also given a sailboat souvenir that symbolizes the town's tradition of fishing in the life sustaining Mar Menor.
I am told to remember this soulful place upon seeing this symbol. Our bassist, sage of the Bronx, Carlos Henriquez said some words in Spanish on my behalf (he jokes constantly so I never know what he might do or say, but he is always funny) and people laugh. We swung some more…I am told that the city has only 31,000 people and our 1400-something attendance represented a large percentage. Mr. Meca said that every year the local cognoscenti say, "Bring them back. That's the real thing." I met with Mr. Meca's beautiful family and some cute local families whose kids play music. Before leaving, a friend named Maria who comes to all of our concerts here calls to me beyond a tall gate in her raspy sing song voice, "Hola! Weentone. It is me, Maria. Past this gate. Come out here." We struggle with limited language but communicate a warm and contented feeling.
Time for the hotel and tomorrow…