Wrapping up the tour with Yellowjackets and Bobby McFerrin. It’s been an amazing few weeks. Bobby is such a warm-hearted and incredible musician. Adding him to the Yellowjackets made for a great catalyst to take our little quartet in yet another direction. As is usually the case. the key word here has been “listening”, trying to find the proper fit between saxophone/ewi and the new addition to the band. Bobby is so pliable and adventurous to the point where you stumble onto all kinds of interesting somorities and new places. Very inspiring indeed.
The “bebop special” mouthpiece is feeling very comfortable as of late, and I am very grateful to have made the switch. It is the best mouthpiece I have ever played, and playing has been an absolute joy as a result. Bravo to Rafael Navarro, mouthpiece maker in Florida (rafaelnavarro.com)
USC is getting ready to start up again in a few weeks, and I commence as chair of the jazz department this year. I look forward to collaborating with the great faculty and students at school. All the USC jazz faculty are full time working musicians, many the best at what they do.

We had the opportunity to hear Sonny Rollins play two nights ago, and he was in fine form playing-wise. He is still reaching for the super-creative notes that have always been the signature mind set of his blowing. So inspiring! I love Sonny’s combination of swing, lyricism, and abstraction. He is the greatest! The band sounded great as well. Peter Bernstein sounded wonderful in the guitar chair. Bob Cranshaw, about to turn 80, has been playing with Sonny since 1959. HE looks as youthful as ever.

Starting to write for the next Yellowjackets recording project. There was ample inspiration flying around on the tour between McFerrin hearing the Crusaders and Sonny. I feel ready to move forward. There is so much great music out in the world.
The new big band cd “For the Moment” hit #11 on the jazz radio charts this week, so at least some folks are getting to hear it. We had such a great time doing the Bluenote in Tokyo back in June with the band and Kurt Elling. There are some tentative plans to do more with this configuration.
All in all, a great musical couple of months. Looking forward to doing more, learning more, and making a salad using the avocados and figs from our backyard!
Keep the faith, Bob.

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