Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society just finished a successful tour of Europe–we were out and about for three weeks of wonderful concerts. Summer is a fun time to be traveling around Europe and playing the summer jazz festivals…we ran into so many friends and acquaintances along the way! In the lobby of the Hilton in Rotterdam, site of the North Sea Jazz Festival, I ran into my friend Akiko Sasaki and her husband Jesse Stacken, friends of mine from Manhattan School of Music Days. It was a crazy coincidence because neither Akiko nor I knew the other would be at North Sea, and two weeks later we were teaching together in central VT at the Lyra Summer Music chamber festival! Small small world! THEN, a few hours later, as I was packing up my mic and music on stage after Chamber Music Society finished our 5:30 concert at the festival, I heard a “hey, Jody!” from the edge of stage–and lo and behold–there is my dear friend Benny Peled whom I hadn’t seen in about four years! We are old pals from playing chamber music together at ages 15 and 13, have been friends ever since, and now Benny is playing violin in the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra in Amsterdam–I had no idea he would be attending North Sea! We had a wonderful evening catching up, and headed over to the Paul Simon concert, on the other side of the complex, to enjoy the gorgeous music. Afterwards we headed backstage to chat with my friend Mark Stewart, musician extraordinaire, who is music directing the Paul Simon tour. Mark plays many, many instruments beautifully. Mark was a cello major in college but now plays guitar, saxophone, sings, clarinet, and makes a billion and one instruments of his own out of found objects–in general, he is one of the most exuberant and fun musicians (and souls) I know! In short, North Sea was a real highlight of the tour, although the whole tour was great.
After our last concert in Lisbon, Portugal, I took an epic 27 hours of travel to fly from Lisbon to Milan, Milan to Shanghai, and Shanghai to Taipei, where I met my beloved in Taiwan. Alan was teaching at a jazz festival in Taipei and it was great to see him and meet all the wonderful folks in Taipei! The students were eager to learn and so much fun. I also had the great opportunity to catch up with my best friend Shaw Pong Liu’s parents who live an hour south or Taipei in Hsinchu. i took the AMAZING bullet train down to Hsinchu, which cut the travel time down to 35 minutes! Can I please join the lobby for bullet trains in America?! Bullet train from Boston to NY, PLEASE? Bullet train from San Francisco to LA, PLEASE?!? I had a great time experiencing Taiwan from Mr. & Mrs. Liu’s view: they were both born in mainland China, but had come to Taiwan as toddlers & were raised there. Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Liu, for the amazing hospitality, and stellar food!
I’m now teaching in VT, enjoying the vast, rolling vistas of central VT here in Randolph. Visiting Neighborly Farms this afternoon for a tour! I’ve had their cheeses many a time, and love them, so I’m glad we have access to a fridge here, I’ll be stocking up!
My next trip is to St. Louis to visit Mom, Dad, and Papa (Grandpa), and then on to San Francisco to see Jill (sis), Ben (soon to be bro-in-law), Kathy & Stan (parents-in-law) and then to LA to see Alan play a concert of his KICKIN’ big band music with an LA band. And BTW, I would definitely have bought a bullet train ticket to travel from SF to LA, had there been one to buy…
Coming up in September: Brazil and another US tour. More news soon!