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Practice Makes Perfect

Last night we had rehearsal at Oakland Public Conservatory for an original piece by Dr. Jaz Sawyer titled, "Message Forward Suite." It is in the vein of Abby Lincoln (with whom Sawyer played with for year) and Max Roache's "Freedom Suites: We Insist!" First, it was great to see all my old buddies, including my UC Berkeley classmate David Ewell, and to reconnect with saxophonist Melecio Madaluyo, who I first met with the late great Flip Nuñez. Second, it was awesome to finally meet Cana Menzies in person. What a pianist! Third, it is ridiculously hard to interpret a new composition. Sawyer is new to composing for vocalist and the type of contemporary jazz is out of my usual wheel house. Lots of in unison parts with the horns meant no room to mess up. Fortunately everyone was super nice and accommodating and supporting. Sawyer did not mind suggestions and we collectively came up with ways to make the lyrics cadence more natural. It gave me even more appreciation for early jazz musicians like Billie Holiday who could take the quarter notes in "All of Me" and alter it rhythmically to make to sound as if she was talking to you.

I recorded the rehearsal and I will have my hands full today until our next rehearsal before the show at Stanford tomorrow. After which we will party down for my birthday!!


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