Miami 2014

It's a pleasure to come back to Miami and play with some old friends. I was home for only 2 days since my last trip but the weather was so bad in New York that it was not so hard to get up at 5am for my 8am flight.

The day before I left

 Oh yes when it snows it's nice and fun, but when it melts it's not so fun anymore... And when it rains on top of that, it's time to go south!

 On my way to the airport, 6am, raining in NYC, sunny in Miami :)
I travel quite a bit and I have to say I really like Delta Airlines. Nowadays it can be really annoying and exhausting to go through an airport experience, so when you have to do that at least once a month (many of my friends travel much more than I do) I appreciate an airline that seems to be really trying to help the traveler. Here is a little tip: whatever airlines is the most convenient for you, try to stick to it and get in their frequent flyer program. It really works, at least with Delta I can testify! I always pay a coach economy seat, but because I'm a Delta Elite Member (they always try to flatter your ego with chosen terms...) I am automatically on the upgrade list and on domestic flights I think about 50% of the time I get to fly First Class for the price of the Economy. Frankly, that does make a difference after a 3-hour night! Spending 3.5 hours on a plane is easier in a large seat with a nice breakfast, priority boarding, free champagne (I didn't have champagne for breakfast that time, but I sometimes do!).

Oh, one more tip for travelers: I use to choose my seats, you can see which ones are the best on every airplanes, so even if I'm not upgraded, at least I can choose (most of the time) the best available seats in coach. On that flight I made sure to get an exit row seat (be careful if you are just in front of the exit the seat does not recline), so that's pretty good because I have plenty of leg room. But hey, First class is just better, first row and window seat baby, that's as good as it can get!


Here I am with my friend Aldo Salvent

Saxophonist Aldo Salvent released his first album and it's a great record! You can find it on this page in the album category. He is finishing his Masters Degree at Florida International University where he is studying with the great saxophonist Gary Campbell, and we will play his graduation recital on Thursday. 

After a quick lunch we go straight to rehearsal. Aldo has some really nice compositions that are challenging and fun to play on. In this photo you can see Hal Roland on piano, Jose Albizu on bass and Jerry Purpose Jerome on drums. 

After the two-hour rehearsal, Aldo had a class so I took a room and practice for another two hours. I'm having a challenge with my students, we just started practicing some exercises I got from saxophonist Kirk Whalum, chek it out 

Around 6pm we left for our concert at The Fish House, a funky little room that sounded surprisingly good and the audience was really listening and receptive so it was nice to play there. I was with saxophonist David Leon, drummer Rodolfo Zuniga and bassist Jose Albizu. I felt a bit old because Jose is 19 years old and really playing his ass off, and David Leon is only 21 although his playing is not only impressive but has a maturity that is actually quite rare even in older players. Even his attitude was surprisingly mature, he leads this concert series in this place with great confidence, yet he makes everyone feel welcome (far from being a usual thing in the music world...). And he is a beast on the saxophone, just wow!!! You should really check him out. 


​The room had a New Orleans vibe!

Ok so after our set there was a jam session, so local musicians come and play and hang out. I was already blown away by David Leon, but now comes in this 12-year old kid, a student of David, and boy he can play! I mean I think he is going to be like a Chris Potter. I didn't have half of his improvising skills and confidence at his age. Check out this video, Rodolfo is not making it any easier, he is playing just like with any other musician, and the kid is hanging there! His sound is so good and he plays really musical which shows he has an understanding of music rare for his age. He even already has a bit of an attitude, like the "real" jazz musicians of New York. Let's hope he doesn't forget the importance of humility, which is a great part of Music.

Today I'm doing emails, updating my website etc... We'll go to Florida International University later this afternoon for Aldo's recital at 7pm. Then at 10pn we'll be playing at Lilt Lounge, check out the calendar for the details, if you're in the area come and say hi.

We are now Friday morning, I had just a few hours of sleep so I'm trying to recollect what we did yesterday while drinking my coffee. We played Aldo's recital at Florida International University. It was a very special moment for him, the end of a 2-year voyage studying at FIU. Aldo is from Cuba, so, to use his own words "I'm used to eat shit", excuse his French. For those who don't get it, he has not always had it easy. He left Cuba many years ago to live in Costa Rica where I met him. I call him the Godfather because he is very proactive and get things done. When he arrived in Miami 2 years ago knowing no one, starting from zero again, it was rough. I knew it would take him just a few months for him to get known on the local scene and get some gigs. 
Aldo is a very genuine person and he was quite emotional at his recital. He thanked very sincerely his friends and teachers, and he made us laugh without intending to. He wrote a piece for his girlfriend who lives in Costa Rica, so he mentioned he lived there, and then says "I have a girlfriend there.... too", but with the pause everybody understand he said he has two girlfriends. He called me his "white brother", which is one way to put it. After presenting his teachers, who are in their 70's, he announced the tune "Santa Amalia" which is "a club of really old people in Cuba, like 60 years old", that made his teachers feel very good!

We had a great time playing his music, which is by the way on his first album! Support him and buy it! Just click on the photo below:

After his recital we rushed to our show in downtown Miami, Lilt Lounge. Pretty neat place and the acoustic was actually really good. We could play without microphone which is what I prefer. They were playing some good jazz and a live concert of Eric Dolphy on the TV screen. Considering that most of the time all you can see on TV is football, that was really cool!

Eric Dolphy

                                                My talking mic, pretty cool!


Alex Terrier, Jose Albizu, Rodrigo Zuniga


That was a really nice hang, right by the water, perfect weather (hello new yorkers!!!). We got back home around 3:30am and woke up at 8am. Now I give a class at FIU at noon, then I will play for a student's recital again at 2:30pm, rehearsal at 7pm and show at 10pm at Le Chat Noir. See you there!

I always feel like a tightrope walker when giving a clinic to young advanced musicians at a college level. Who am I to give then any kind of advice anyway? Well this was actually pretty fun to talk with the FIU students today, thank you guys for acting like I was saying something interesting, I appreciate the kind and classy gesture!

With FIU teachers Mike Orta on piano, Jamie Ousley on bass and Rodolfo Zuniga on drums.

Our show at Le Chat Noir was great. First the management of the club was super nice with us. It is rare enough to be noted. I am always surprised how the relationship between club owners and musicians is most of the time very poor. I do believe that the all Jazz business would do much better if their two principal actors were having a more positive business relationship, but that's another topic. So the guys at Le Chat Noir are super nice and warm, the place in itself is pretty cool. There is a restaurant on the first floor and the club in the basement. This is actually a pretty big room and the audience was really receptive. I was pleased to see some of the students from FIU in the audience.
Tonight we're playing at the Globe. Check out the calendar for details! 

I am now back home and yesterday was a looooong day! So let me go back to Saturday night where we played at the Globe in Miami. It was fun to play with the band but I can't say it was fun to play next a room with a private party blasting some noise (some people call that music?) with only a plain door to separate both rooms. 

We got back home around 2am, just when the time changed to 3am, great! So we woke up at 5:30am to go to the airport and catch my plane at 7:30am. It's a good thingI was upgraded again in 1st class so I could get a breakfast onboard and sleep a little bit.
We couldn't land when we arrived in NYC because of traffic on the runway so we had to circle around for 30 minutes. Now I got to rush to the rehearsal in Chelsea with Marianne Solivan Big Band. I'm really happy she asked me to play, she is one of my favorite Jazz singers and her band is killing! One rehearsal and to the gig at Smalls where we played 2 sets.
Marianne Solivan: vocal
Todd Bashore: Alto, arranger
Alex Terrier: Alto (I wrote one arrangement but it's nothing near to what Todd and David write, so hopefully I'll do better on the next one!)
Stacy Dillard: Tenor
Carl Maraghi: Baritone
David Gibson: Trombone and arrangement
Peter Nelson: Trombone
Andy Gravish: Trumpet
Mike Sailors: Trumpet and arrangement
John Chin: Piano
Neal Caine: Bass
Chris Smith: Drums

Marianne Solivan released a new album and you should get it!I finally got home around midnight to find out there had been some water damage coming from the roof. So that coming week doesn't look like it's going be as fun as the previous one!

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