East Meets Jazz

East Meets Jazz
I just returned from the Sandip Burman “East Meets Jazz” tour. Unfortunately, we were cancelled in mid- tour as a result of the terrible events in New York on Sept. 11. We played our final show that night in Blacksburg, VA. It was a very emotional concert. We began with a long moment of silence and played a concert marked by everyone’s hearfelt emotions as well as their virtuosic playing.

Our bassist, Victor Bailey, broke into a moving version of the Star Spangled Banner in the middle of a bass solo. I played Amazing Grace in the middle of an unaccompanied harmonica solo, and we finished the concert with Sandip’s beautiful Alap, Jor, Jhala in Rag Bairagi.

Before Sept. 11, we were cruising along. In Lubbock, TX, I finally got to meet Chris Sampson of Octagonal Madness. He is the person responsible for this web site and the sites for many other musicians. He and his girlfriend made the marathon 9- hour drive to hear us play (a medium-length drive by Texas standards). It was great to finally meet him. Chris is a bundle of non-stop energy and great ideas.

In San Francisco (our first gig with Randy Brecker), we had an afternoon concert/workshop with questions from the audience. It left us time to do things later. Steve, Jerry, Victor, Winslow Yerxa, and I went over to Pearl’s to hear The Vince Lateano Trio, with guitarist Bruce Forman. Victor’s uncle Donald, a fine chromatic harp player as well as a famous drummer, stopped by. It was great to meet him. Steve and I sat in and played a few tunes together, and had a great time.

After the San Diego show, we flew the red eye to Baltimore through Chicago. That night, we stayed at the Best Western Pentagon, very close to the impending disaster. Then we played Annapolis, the first of what would be just 2 nights with the great guitarist Paul Bollenback as the newest band member. From there, it was on to Blacksburg.

Getting home on Sept. 12 was difficult, as there were no flights, no rental cars to be had, no trains, and no buses. Jerry Goodman, Steve Smith, and I finally rented a 14 ft. U Haul truck, the smallest thing that would fit three people, and drove it to Chicago. From there, Steve was able to rent a car and drove all the way home to San Francisco. Jerry stayed in Chicago for a while and was finally able to get a flight back to LA.

The other band members got a ride in the band van from Blacksburg back to Baltimore, from where they each managed to get home. Our soundman, Chuck, who drove them there, had to rent a U Haul to drive back home to Charlotte, NC.

So, onward and upward for us all. My best wishes to all of you who came to see us play, and my apologies to those whose shows were cancelled. Hope tosee you all soon.


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