Happy New Year! It will be hart to top 1996, such a banner year for Bud celebrating his 50 years in jazz. Several major tours, three records, his birthday composition by Bill Holman and its premiere at his own Festival, the Tribute Dinner in L.A. in July, the royal treatment on the Norway Jazz Cruise in the Caribbean, sitting on the runway at SeaTac for eight hours in a snowstorm trying to get to New York to do a CD with Cyrus Chestnut, George Mraz, and Lewis Nash. (How did that last one get in there?) Many thanks to the promoters, producers, and friends that made 1996 so special for Bud.
After three extremely hectic years, 1997 will be a bit mellower by choice, hoping to avoid those six-week road trips and crazy one-nighters. Took December off to enjoy the holidays at home, including the blazzards, monsoons, flooding, and ice storms that have plagued the Northwest this winter. At least there were no locust (too cold). Bud is happily anticipating the release (finally!!) of his Bill Evans Tribute CD in early spring, and quickly followed up by the above-mentioned New York recording. A new recording contract is in the works with a major label -- too soon to talk about it but the possibilities are very exciting. Bud has been active in booking the mainstage and faculty for his workshop and festival in July, and will be happy to welcome among others the Phil Woods Quintet, Joanne Brackeen, Cyrus Chestnut Trio, and Bob Florence to lead the Festival Big Band. Bud heads off to Canada in March for three performances and some clinician work, then back home for a few days, and onto the road again for the month of April with 15 dates all over the western states. (WELL maybe just ONE tour.)
September brought a nifty three week tour back East, an extra pleasure for Bud as he seldom tours there. First stop was Jazz At Seven Springs, near Pittsburgh. This is a model jazz festival - more promoters should take a lesson from producer Marty Ashby! Bud's Sunday concert was packed and CDs flew out the door. From there it was on to stifling Washington DC, where Bud joined a stellar rhythm section at the Blues Alley and managed to jam the place despite it being the Tuesday after Labor Day and raining like hell. Speaking of which, a sightseeing detour into Virginia turned into quite an adventure as Hurricane Fran arrived there at the same time !! Arrived in Louisville, Kentucky, drenched but intact, and played a concert there for the Jazz Society at the glorious Seelbach Hotel, where Al Capone used to play cards in a back room.
Negotiations are in progress for a group of festivals in Europe in early July -- has anyone noticed how expensive it is to try and convey six people all over Europe from the West Coast? It is usually a case of the promoter is willing but the wallet is weak. However, it is a good opportunity to learn some Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Russian, Dutch, and Polish!
Work is also progressing (slowly) on Bud's autobiography and writing some new music, creative pleasures to enjoy throughout the coming year.
Best wishes to all for a marvelous 1997