I’m in New York. I’m doing one of those hit-and-run trips. I have a little scene in a movie to do today then I’m off to the UK for the shows there. There are still some tickets available for the London and Birmingham shows if you want to come. I think, since I spread out my shows there, people who would’ve traveled to come don’t need to now. I know who my people are. I know there’s a ceiling to my audience but come if you can.
I love NYC, kind of, for a few days. Maybe not. It’s hard to find what was great about this city sometimes but I also know we’ve both gotten older and gone through some changes. I have to be honest, though. The fact that the Lower East Side has turned into to some kind of chaotic-bridge-and-tunnel-international-touristy-dumb-drunk-bro-dumb-girl-dumb-dumb-shit show is hard to take. I’m sure I’ve covered this before, but NYC is really some kind of theme park caricature of its former self. It’s okay. Some of the institutions are still holding.
Every time I come here now I get it in my head to check out what’s going on at Jazz at Lincoln Center. I don’t see jazz anywhere. I know it’s around, but I don’t get out much. So, I landed at Kennedy, checked into my hotel, didn’t even change, walked briskly to the subway, got up to Lincoln Center with a few minutes to spare and was sitting in a sweet box seat for another flight of another kind. Marcus Miller (who I knew NOTHING about) put together a continuous musical evening comprised of a selection of later Miles Davis work (which I knew a little about). He was the bass player for his band during that electric period. He surrounded himself with great players:Russell Gunn, Marquis Hill, Alex Hahn, Brett Williams, Alex Bailey, Vernon Reed (yup, that guy) and Mino Cinélu. Then they just went for it with selections from ‘In a Silent Way,’ ‘Tutu,’ ‘Bitches Brew’ and more. It was great. I can really lock into listening to an improvisation on almost any instrument. I can feel the musician preparing to launch into space once they’ve laid down the basic riff. It’s exciting when the get out there and when they land, if they land.
When I walked in, the usher said, ‘there’s no intermission and you can come and go as you like.’ I thought, ‘what a great definition of free jazz.’ What a great definition of life.
Today I talk to the amazing and gracious John Lithgow. On Thursday I have an informative and exciting conversation about music with T Bone Burnett. Great talks.