Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tour Diary May 2011: Jack Dejohnette Group in Europe Part 3


How can I sleep when
I need to practice the rudiments?
What a difference some sleep makes! I'm feeling much better now that I've gotten four decent nights of sleep. Although, I must say, this tour started out with a bit of sleep deprivation, but it was nothing like my son's first year of life. That boy did not want to SLEEP! During that year, I was thinking that my wife and I would just go on like that forever, that we would never sleep again for the rest of our lives; that perhaps this was some sort of punishment for unknown sins or something. Thankfully, finally, Liam figured out how to sleep through the night, although he still likes to get up pretty early. I remember other musicians I know who had children saying they got more sleep on the road than at home; I never believed them until Liam was born!

In my last entry, I wrote that we were going to Schloss Neuhardenberg. It's a place in the former East Germany which has a rich history, dating to 1348, when it was a village called Quilitz. This village was once the geographical center of the Kingdom of Prussia. (Some say it was originally a Slavic settlement.)

Schloss means palace, or manor, and that refers to the "castle" built around 1762 by Joachim Bernard von Prittwitz, a soldier who was awarded the town because he had helped to save King Freredick's life during the Seven Years War. In 1814, Karl August Furst Von Hardenburg took over the town. Here is where it gets interesting. This is from the Neuhardenberg website:

Carl-Hans Graf von Hardenberg 
The castle and the related properties remained in possession of the family. In 1921 Carl-Hans Graf von Hardenberg took over the Neu-Hardenberg estate. He later participated in the preparations for the attempt on the life of Hitler on July 20, 1944, by allowing, among other things, Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, Henning von Tresckow and others to use Schloss Neu-Hardenberg to work out the plans for the assassination attempt relatively undisturbed. If the plot had been successful, the count was designated to become chief police president in Berlin and Brandenburg, a key position under the given circumstances of a national crisis. Three days after the failed attempt, however, Carl-Hans Graf von Hardenberg was arrested in the castle under dramatic circumstances before he could attempt to take his own life, and was taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where despite serious injury and grave danger to his life he survived.

Wow! I guess they had a real life Inglourius Basterds going on there in Schloss NeuHardenberg. After the war, the town , being in East German territory, was renamed Marxwalde, and was a model for the German Architecture Academy. It was also a garrison for the East German Army. When the Berlin Wall fell, they decided to call it Neuhardenberg again. Now it's a place which seems to be dedicated to art and music. They have a pretty extensive concert series; many of the concerts take place in this little historic church right next to the hotel that we stayed in.

I'm always interested in how a small town in the middle of eastern Germany will have the money, and the interest, to bring Jack DeJohnette and his band, and yet, most cities in the United States have neither the funding nor the desire to bring high level jazz music. It's kind of sad to me, that this band will most likely never play in Baltimore, or Philly, or Washington D.C., but we will play all over Europe in small villages.

Schinkel Church
And the concert went very well. It was not a huge crowd, since the Schinkel Church, literally a two minute walk from the hotel, could not, I imagine, hold more than 500 people. But the crowd was completely engaged, and they asked for an encore, even after 90 minutes of continuous music. And then they brought each of us a bouquet of flowers. Very classy! Again, the level of love and respect jazz musicians get everywhere except North America is still strange to me. I could never imagine Lorraine Gordon giving the band flowers after a set at the Vanguard! (Can you?)

Maybe it was a nightclub back in the day....
On to Athens, Greece! Most people spend a week or two in sunny Greece on holiday. Unfortunately, we only got about 36 hours, just enough time for a couple of Greek salads, a sound check and a concert. Regrettably, I did not go to the Acropolis, but I could see it from the rooftop restaurant. (It reminded me of when basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neil was asked, after he made a visit to Athens, if he went to the Acropolis? "We went to so many nightclubs, I don't remember the names of all of them...") While in Athens, I ran into drumming great Ralph Peterson, Jr., and I was able to get an interview with him. Hopefully, I'll post it sooner rather than later.

Now we are in Hamburg, Germany for a few days. We still have almost two weeks to go! In the meantime, here are some pictures from my Iphone. Nothing too exciting, but at least some visual representation of the tour. I've gotten out of the habit of taking pictures on the road. I think the last time I did it was when you still had to bring rolls of film to be developed. Enjoy!

in front of the hotel

nice little pool in front of the hotel

back of the hotel

our road manager, Ben Surman: "Stop asking me how long it takes to get to Athens!"

Dave Fiuczynski checking his luggage

bassist Jerome Harris

Jack and Ben checking in the bags

Ravi Coltrane: "One more donut, please..."

Jack, reading the paper

This was in Dusseldorf, the connecting airport. We thought it was funny....

view from my room in Athens

Jack tuning the drums

Jerome at soundcheck

This is the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens. It was sold out!

Dave and his double neck guitar

Ravi at soundcheck

My set up: Grand Piano, Nord Stage, Laptop controller, Yamaha Motif. The pocket trumpet is sitting on the piano

Another view of my set up

My view of the concert

Jack's view

The band after the concert and a few drinks

rooftop pool

view from the rooftop

You can barely see the Acropolis

Athens Airport: we thought this was funny too






30 comments:

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