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Regarding live performances, the first great thing on the tour was the party at my place in Tony's honor, led by pianist Kevin Bales. Walking into the Iron Post in Urbana IL a few minutes late and hearing the UI Concert Jazz Band play Mean What You Say was really memorable too. The Humber College Jazz Band (with guest soloists Pat LaBarbera and Shirantha Beddage), led by Denny Christianson, was a great midday Toronto experience! One of the tunes will be released by Humber on their next sampler. In Montreal, the Altsys Tentet played Faulkner's charts to a rousing audience, followed two days later by the recording of the charts at the Puffin Foundation in Teaneck NJ. Two night later, trumpeter Vinnie Cutro tore it up with Diane Moser's Composers Jazz Band at Trumpets in Montclair NJ. We've videotaped a lot of the gigs, so you can look forward to seeing clips at pepperadams.com.
I especially liked our experience at Wayne State University. The really good Wayne big band played two world premieres for us of entirely unexpected Pepper Adams arrangements. I also had a large and enthusiastic audience for my Pepper lecture, including some students that came in from Windsor, Ontario. Chris Collins was a very warm host to Tony and I and there's the possibility of returning sometime down the road. I especially enjoyed walking the same halls that Pepper walked in the late 1940s.
John Vana was an equally enthusiastic and warm host to us in Macomb IL. There and elsewhere it was fun to meet young, aspiring jazz musicians who dig Pepper Adams.
Some notable food moments took place too. We stumbled on a great coffee shop in Galesburg IL that makes terrific pastries. The Ann Arbor restaurant Grange was excellent, especially their Michigan white wine list. Who knew that Leelanau wines rival Oregon and the Finger Lakes? The French bistro L'Express in Montreal was also really superb, as was Blossom, the vegan restaurant in New York City. They have a terrific and quite affordable Alsatian Pinot Blanc on their list. Zafra and Cucharamama in Hoboken NJ were as good as ever!
The tour has some forward momentum. I've been invited to speak at Temple University and Montclair State University next year, plus it's possible that Tony and I will tour again in 2015, since some Midwestern schools are interested in having us return. Driving 4,500 miles in a month are kind of grueling, so we'll look forward to some longer residencies the next time around. Thanks again to all the Kickstarter donors who made this exciting tour possible!