You made it! A preview of the Caramoor International Music Festival at WNYC’s The Greene Space

Jun 25, 2010

The title refers to what Paquito D’Rivera yelled at the end of our performance last evening at WNYC’s The Greene Space. This was an awesome experience and I hope the first of many new opportunities that I will experience in this lifetime. I’m playing a concert at the Caramoor International Music Festival on July 8th and last night was a preview of the festival where I luckily and surprisingly was teamed up with Paquito D’Rivera! We played his Contradanza for two clarinets and piano and it was so much fun. At the soundcheck we ran through the piece a couple of times and then he mentioned a part of the piece that was not written in the music. Immediately I thought back to one of my earlier posts about not reading the notes and was like, ok here it is! Little did I know that I’d be improvising in public for the first time on live radio streamed live over the internet, but hey, you only live once (or twice)! There was also a bit of stomping thrown in as well. The piece was only a few minutes long but it was such a rush and I don’t remember most of it, especially not the bit where we went off on our own for the longest 16 bars of my life. It was a real thrill to be up on stage with one of the greatest latin jazz clarinetists in the world, not to mention the composer of the work. His personality was bigger than life and I felt an energy like no other radiating from his being that was invigorating. This was what he does everyday and for me it was  new and different yet very familiar in some way. Of course he knew that this was not what I did regularly but he never hinted at it or mentioned it, probably because to him music is music the way it should be.

He told a story about when he was a kid; the two recordings that he listened to the most were Benny Live at Carnegie with his band and Benny playing the Mozart Concerto. He said he was so confused. He chose to just play music and it happened to be predominately jazz. In the end we are all just musicians after all. My program this summer at Caramoor has a French theme and especially Debussy and Stravinsky (not French but a composer like others with a French soul) were influenced by jazz. Unfortunately Paquito will not be making a guest appearance on my concert but I will think of this always. This experience will forever shape how I approach all kinds of music. The energy and spontaneity was so real. I give thanks for experiences like this.

Cheers and yes, I made it!


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