Wynton’s Blog

Vamping in Valencia

The renowned and brilliant architect Calatrava is from Valencia. He designed a cultural complex and science center which is an iconic masterpiece. The “City of the Arts and Sciences” is the modern architectural jewel of Valencia and that artist's spectacular tribute to his hometown. This complex is on the "Paseo de Artes y Ciencias" which runs along side a magnificent, flowing 10 km park, the "Jardin del Turia".

Our gig overlooked a portion of the park. We have played here several times and remember a gig with Chano Dominguez 3 or so years ago that produced an eventful "hang" afterwards.
A resident took great relish in describing 'Fallas', a colorful Easter festival. Citizens are sponsored by local businesses to build enormous puppets (which portray public figures, mythic entities, or some unique, topical artistic creation). The puppets are paraded through the 'old town' to cheering throngs. Ladies are dressed in traditional garb, and men are just there (that's what he said). After the parade, these enormous works are displayed in various squares and parts of the city. The festivities conclude when all but the one deemed the best (by a panel of experts) are burned.

It was not Easter, and I failed to realize that the Vitoria concert was the next day. We were supposed to play the whole suite and were not ready. Talk about a coach putting his team in a bad position. Ishould have detected the urgency in Sherman's voice when he said, "We need to get that big 12 together" (Big 12 is the 6th movement of 12). The biggest drag about not flying is travelling without the cats. If we had been together everyday, no way I would have slept on the pressing importance of rehearsing for the gig in Vitoria, not to mention the recording. The most enjoyable part of the road, besides playing, is the bond between bandsmen. Playing and travelling with the same cats year after year gives you an unusual closeness; especially the playing, because even the most anti-social person must share himor herself with the other musicians and the audience in order to play something meaningful. "Hear and be heard". Anyway, after sound check in Valencia, I realized we had to rehearse 4 hard-ass pieces the nextday. Impossible in many situations, but with these men, I was worried but not overwhelmed.

The concert in Valencia was a good gig in a very live hall. Some halls are perfect for classical music but give us acoustical problems. We have to play a lot softer to hear and be heard in proper balance. After the gig we fellowshipped over some spirits in the hotel bar for a minute then Joe and I went over the music for tomorrow (one piece has very tricky entrances).
The next day would begin with a 7hr drive to Vitoria. Valencia to Vitoria.


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