Despite the fact that I'm operating on two hours of sleep and a nightmarish morning of travel, I must recount some details from my recent trip to New York, because it was incredible.
First, many thanks to my good friends who put me up for the week: Chris Ward, Maz, Ross Pederson, Chris Bullock, you're all awesome dudes, and not just because you put roofs over my head in really cool parts of Brooklyn.
My first day started inauspiciously: the plane I was supposed to get on suffered from a faulty fuel gauge, which means it wasn't going anywhere. After getting to Brooklyn three or four hours later than expected, I lugged my bag and tenor to Cubana Social in Williamsburg, where Chris Ward's talented band graciously allowed me to sit in on the second set. I got my ass kicked by the bridge on Jaco's "Used To Be a Cha-Cha," and devoured an incredible Cuban sandwich.
The next day I experienced some amazing food and coffee on Cortelyou Road courtesy of Cafe Madeline, which supplied great coffee and an excellent chive-biscuit and egg sandwich, and the Farm on Adderley, which supplied "red flannel" red beet and corned beef hash. It was some of the better food I've ever had. The next day was similarly tasty: also on Cortelyou, Mimi's Hummus provided a warm pita sandwich with beef, tomato, onion, and cauliflower tahini salad that was extremely good. My bro Justin Stanton and his lady Christine created a meal of salad and carrot-potato-ginger soup that absolutely killed. The remainder of Sunday is hazy in my memory for some reason.
I spent Monday night in the West Village, and had the supreme pleasure of sitting in with my dear friend Hildegunn Gjedrem's group at the legendary 55 Bar. Simply playing in that room was exciting, but Hil's group was world-class. (David Cook is one ridiculous pianist.) I then caught both of Ari Hoenig's sets at Smalls, and afterwards enjoyed some as-always hilarious conversation with Ari and wunderkind Gilad Hekselman. That was almost as fun as listening to them play some of the most beautiful music on earth. They are truly brilliant musicians. I got lost trying to find my way back to Brooklyn via subway at 2AM, gave up and got a cab. It was worth it.
My final day consisted of Justin showing me to some of the best coffee and sandwiches in the city, and then heading to Matt Garrison's Shapeshifter Lab to hear Matt obliterate galaxies... only to be followed by an incredible set by Michael League, Louis Cato, and Cory Henry, playing their own tunes. It was epic.
Almost didn't make it to my 7:20AM flight out of Newark, but made it to the gate by 7:10.
There is nowhere like New York, and I have really incredible friends.