One of the many challenges facing freelance musicians is the scheduling of work. I’m like everyone else. I’ll have days off waiting for a call, the phone rings for a gig, you hang up thrilled and the phone rings again for another gig at the very same time. Frustration a plenty! For the most part, I’ve found the best approach to be true to your word. If you accept a gig, honor the commitment. Even if you have to turn something down that you’d really like to be a part of, the person calling will respect your integrity and know that when they do get you, you’ll be there for them. Obviously, if the Rolling Stones call for a world tour, forget what I just said!
Once in awhile, things line up just right and you’re able to do everything. A couple weeks back I was fortunate to have one of those stretches. I flew to Los Angeles on a Sunday and recorded two new videos for Hip-BoneU with the great Bill Reichenbach. They’ll both be coming out next month. Followed that up by interviewing both Bill Reichenbach and Bob Mintzer for Hip-Bone Music’s new artist of the month interview series bone2pick. Monday morning found me on my way to Tucson, AZ for three days at the University of Arizona Jazz Festival. What a treat to work with the outstanding students and program at the U of A. It’s headed up by a tremendously talented trombonist/educator named Moises Paiewonsky. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you will! Super positive energy on all fronts.
Following those inspiring three days, I was very fortunate to be asked to be part of the house band for the opening of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. A stunning new arts center in downtown Vegas that rivals the finest concert halls anywhere. The band was headed up by the supremely talented musical director/pianist/arranger Rob Mathes, contracted by one of New York’s best purveyors of talent the esteemed Jill Dellabate and featured an all-star cast including Michael Beardon on keyboards, Kenny Aranoff on drums, Zev Katz on bass, Bashiri Johnson on percussion, Stuart Duncan on violin and my fellow horn section mates Jeff Kievit on trumpet, Lou Marini and Aaron Heick on saxophones. We had the pleasure of backing up Carole King, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Hudson, Merle Haggard, Joshua Bell and many other wonderfully gifted artists. The concert was filmed by PBS for an upcoming special. It was an exciting and fun event to be a part of.
Since the gods of scheduling tend not to shine on us on a regular basis, I think it’s important to be grateful for those times when they do. I was definitely grateful for that week!