First Day at Jazz Ahead
I’m finally here. Jazz Ahead once again. After a hectic day and morning, running on a very bad night’s sleep here I am at 4:00 o’clock in the morning in my hotel room and I can’t go back to sleep. I was so stressed yesterday because after having a subtenant I found back out because of changed travel plans, I found someone else to take my Manhattan studio for two weeks at the last minute. The procrastinator that I am, I left my packing duties mostly for the last minute, which contrary to my expectations were mostly taken up meeting a new subtenant, getting a contract together, and making sure everything was in order. But anyhow, it’s over and I’m looking forward to enjoying this great opportunity.
Yesterday, at Jazz Ahead, was basically just a travel day. The Kennedy Center’s Jazz Program held a reception dinner for all the participants at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club where we all got a chance to catch up and meet new people. It felt different than last time obviously because the feeling of surprise and excitement, not knowing what to expect were no longer there. I had gone through this whole routine before. It’s funny, this time it feels like I know more of the musicians invited than I did last time. But now that I think about it, I don’t. Perhaps it feels that way because I realize now that one of the most valuable aspects of the experience is making valuable lifelong musical and business connections. Last time I was here I met Stockton Helbing, the owner of Armored Records, which is the label I released my debut album Opus under…
I’m really looking forward to the program however. The musicians I’ve run into so far are all fantastic. Among them, Ben Powell, Will Graefe, and the fifteen year old Marty Jaffe. Ben is a phenomenal jazz violinist, and if you haven’t yet you should check him out! It’s an honor to have been chosen beside him. I’ve played with Will a while I was playing with vocalist Dana Lauren. I haven’t heard Marty Jaffe for a couple of years, but last time I heard him he sounded phenomenal. He’s only 15!!??
It’s 5am, and I’m going to see if I can get another couple of hours of sleep. I think I had set the temperature too high in the room, or maybe I needed to drink some water. Either way, it’s going to be a long, intense day of playing and getting to know each other musically today.