Every once in awhile, we as musi­cians are for­tu­nate enough to do a gig that inspires us and reas­sures us that there is indeed a great pur­pose behind this some­times crazy busi­ness we exist in. For me, that gig came last week when I was for­tu­nate to play with Bob Mintzer and his incred­ible big band at the Blue Note Tokyo for four nights.

Bob is as good a musi­cian as I have ever played with. There are a few who equal his level of vir­tu­osity, but none better. His writing is bril­liant, inspiring and a joy to play. For this par­tic­ular engage­ment, he com­bined his New York and West Coast big bands to form one of the finest ensem­bles I have ever been a part of. Cap­taining the ship was the great, and I do mean great, Peter Erskine on drums. The com­bi­na­tion of Bob’s music and Peter’s drum­ming is sub­lime. Peter has a way of set­ting up the fig­ures and phrases that makes it impos­sible to fail as a horn player. For the most part, the music we per­formed was from Bob’s latest CD enti­tled For The Moment. A brazilian themed project that is extra­or­di­nary in every way; bril­liant writing, fab­u­lous playing and excep­tional pro­duc­tion. Go online asap and order a copy. It’s worth ten times what you’ll pay for it.

Just to sweeten the pot a bit, I was hon­ored to give a mas­ter­class at one of the most incred­ible music stores I have ever been to. The shop is called Joy Brass and is ded­i­cated to selling the finest prod­ucts the brass world has to offer including instru­ments, mouth­pieces, cases, mutes, stands, music, books and record­ings. In short, it’s heaven for a brass player.

Mas­ter­class Joy Brass Tokyo 6.23.12

I was thrilled to see they had 5 Michael Davis model Shires trom­bones in stock and had already sold sev­eral more. The shop is run by a gen­tleman named Kazuhiro Sanada who is both a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional and a won­derful guy. So, calling all brass players, the next time you’re in Tokyo, check out Joy Brass.

Thank you Bob Mintzer for your amazing music and for giving us all such an inspiring oppor­tu­nity. In an era when people tend to cut as many cor­ners as pos­sible, thank you Kazuhiro for doing things right. Tokyo RULES! I cannot wait to go back.

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