After attending the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, I travelled south to Washington DC, where I met with saxophonist and excellent human Brad Linde. There he let me attack his big band, the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, with a set of my music. It was a very special occasion, being the first time I had seen Brad since we met at the Banff Centre in 2013. He also invited our fellow Banffers Erika Dohi (piano), Tara Kannangara (trumpet), Julian Anderson-Bowes (bass) and Jonathan Taylor (drums) to sit in with the band.
We then travelled to New York City, taking the Banffers with us, to perform the music under the guise of the Brad Linde Expanded Ensemble. Making up the rest of the band were some of New Yorks finest musicians, each phenominal soloists in there own right and members of some internationally acclaimed bands led by stars Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider and Darcy James Argue. Needless to say, it was terrifying. We made it to the rehearsal barely with minutes to spare thanks to the New York traffic, picking up a bass on the way, and taping parts together in the car. However once inside the venue, the famed Jazz Gallery, everything calmed down and the rehearsal ran very smoothly. The concert itself was one of the best I’ve been part of, the musicians completely dedicated themselves to the music and performing with an amazing energy.
The next night, we travelled to Baltimore to play a final concert together. This band was made up of musicians from the DC area alongside the Banffers. While the audience was slightly disappointing, it was excellent fun and great to play and hang out with the musicians.
None of this would’ve happened with the energy of Brad Linde. He managed to simultaneously be a saxophonist, band leader, taxi driver, hostel manager, and countless other roles, taking everything in his stride and somehow making it all work. I can’t thank him enough and look forward to working alongside him again in 2015.
Below is an excerpt from the gig at the Jazz Gallery, performing a piano feature of mine called ‘Unprotected and Exposed’.
Combined Band Lists (BCJO, BLEE NYC and BLEE Baltimore)
Woodwinds: Jon Irabagon, Oran Etkin, Brad Linde, Billy Wolfe, Gina Izzo, Leigh Pilzer, Marty, Nate.
French Horn: Amy Amie, Bert Hill, Heidi Brown.
Trumpets: Seneca Black, Joe Herrera, Tara Kannangara, Bags Davis, Griffith Kazmierczak, Chris.
Trombones: Ryan Keberle, Jeff Nelson, Steve Shaw, Chris Buckley, Shannon Gunn, Harry Watters.
Rhythm sections: Aaron Quinn, Erika Dohi, Julian Anderson-Bowes, Jonathan Taylor, Josh Walker.