It’s day 3 here in Xalapa Mexico. We
arrived night late. Monday
we just got to chill in the hotel and get used to the mountain air! I
have to say I "oopsed "a little bit. I didn’t look at the weather before
I came and I brought too many summer clothes! Wishful thinking. We
are actually right next to the mountains so the weather is very similar to
Boston. It’s pretty chilly. Our hosts said it’s usually not this
cold and that they are just going through a cold spell. Today (Tues) it
was warmer, it was easy to go out with just a jacket. Yay!
I’ve really been enjoying my time here so
far. The people are incredibly nice and enthusiastic.
The early concert was outdoors in the town square. They also had a display of caricatures of the artists at the festival. So very cool. There were two of me.
The artists who drew them are very famous political catoonists in Mexico.
I met the artist who drew the first one(pink background) and later in the week I did a TV show interview and as a surprise I was presented with the original artwork of the second caricature. Although the artist could not be there because he was ill at the time. I will cherish it very much and have framed it already.
Last night I
played in the welcome/jam session. The place was packed with a few
hundred who stayed up till the wee hours just watching the jam. The cats
that joined the stage were all amazing and really high level. I got
particularly excited when songs started going into crazy claves and grooving
I just arrived back to the hotel from an amazing
Ray Drummond concert. It was so swinging, and transported me into a
different space for a couple hours. I had my rehearsal with the band
today. We are playing my set sat night. This is a 3-year-old festival so a
very new one and my friend Francisco Mela (Amazing drummer) is the artistic
director of the festival. He’s the one who brought me here. I am so
amazed that every concert/clinic I go to people are all over the place.
Even in the paid concerts the place is more than packed and people are standing
way in the corners. Everyone seems so into the music, it’s very
exciting. Lots of young cats too. It’s a very mixed audience in terms of
ages and genders. It just seems like everyone’s out!
Tomorrow is a busy day for
me. I have a rehearsal in the morning, my clinic, a rehearsal with Jack
DeJohnette (him and McCoy Tyner are the two big artists here) and I’m playing
at night. I think these next few days will fly by. I’m playing
every night and then we head back Monday.