San Francisco Tiki Action & Nuit Blah!

Daron, Sammy C., Tricia and I loved the fine dining in San Francisco!

My week began in a happy daze Monday morning at the Hyatt Hotel in Monterey, California. The festival had ended the night before and as I’d been partying for several days the hangover was minimal. I boarded our private Jazz Safari bus and we all headed to San Francisco to spend a few days being tourists. Our hotel, The Mark Thompson InterContinental had beds that were even more comfortable than the Hyatt, which at first I found hard to believe. It’s on Nob Hill directly across from The Fairmont Hotel which has a terrific bar upstairs and the largest Tiki Bar on the planet, The Tonga Room, in the basement. I took the donors to Tonga for happy hour and the ginormous cocktails led to some pretty animated conversation. My old pal Paul Myers lives in the area and joined us for some yummy food and merriment! I took a bunch of friends to a small Dim Sum restaurant in China Town and we had a full day hitting some wineries. Wente is the oldest family-owned winery in California and Black Stallion is one of the most recent additions to Napa Valley. We blasted great music, drank tons of wine and really enjoyed our tour. On my last day I went on an epic walk (I must have walked hundreds of miles in the past two weeks) and Sammy C. and I enjoyed posing with statues. (I will continue to update my Pinterest “People and Statues” page…)

I bought so many tacky gifts for friends while in California, I needed to buy a bigger suitcase. Luckily I got a great one from Macy’s that was 70% off!

The Speck Family know that good jazz goes great with fine wine!

Friday I was back at JAZZ.FM91 and Saturday came in early to produce some radio shows for a couple generous donors: Singer Carlo Berardinucci and the Speck Family…

Go Jays Go!

the latter are the owners of Henry Of Pelham, one of my favourite Canadian wineries. I ended up joining Daniel and Bobbi Speck for a baseball game. The Blue Jays won over the Yankees…it was a joyous occasion indeed!

The Pilot is a great hang every Saturday from 3:30-6:30. Great jazz, no cover!

Then I cycled up to Yonge & Bloor, trying to avoid the busy (closed) streets that were setting up for Nuit Blanche. I really enjoyed The Seagull All-Stars at The Pilot Tavern. The Pilot have free music every Saturday afternoon from 3:30-6:30 and it’s always packed with jazz fans. Bob Brough and Bill McBirnie traded wicked solos and Norman Marshall Villenueve and the others played aggressive swing and bebop while I enjoyed some martinis courtesy of my pal Tony.

Batman teaches me to stretch before cycling all over town! Who knew he was so limber?

After a great set I got back on my bike and rode down to HMV to catch a set by Brandi Disterheft. Her new CD is called “Gratitude” and is out on Justin Time Records.

After a short but sweet set, I cycled to Hugh’s Room for the Elizabeth Shepherd CD launch.

Elizabeth Shepherd was joined by many special guests including Denzal Sinclaire!

Her latest is called “Rewind” and is on Linus Entertainment

…the same great label that just brought us the latest from Peter Appleyard and The Shuffle Demons.

Elizabeth Shepherd and Johan Hultqvist finally introduced me to Baby Sana. What a cool kid!

This record company is on a roll! Finally, I took in some Nuit Blanche action. I have learned to lower my expectations after years of disappointment and must say it works. While most of it was dull (Nuit Blah?) I did manage to find some fun things to look at – and no matter what I think of some of the art I’m always happy to see the city streets packed with people enjoying the mild weather and buying food and drink while looking at art. Sunday I slept in for the second time this month. In the afternoon I arranged a rehearsal for one of the world’s greatest jazz vocalists, Mark Murphy – and it was thrilling to observe he and his out-of-town band going over songs I’ve heard on CD for years. Mark is 80 and playing this eve at The Old Mill Inn…can’t wait!

This week I’ll see Barbra Lica at Hugh’s Room on October 2, I’ve got another song writing session with Bonzai Suzuki, a gala event at The Carlu and two jazz safaris. Pics and stories next Monday…that’s a promise!

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