It Happened in Monterey!

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This is the third year I’ve hit The Monterey Jazz Festival and every year it gets better! The International Jazz Safari To California included JAZZ.FM91 President and CEO Ross Porter, promo director Jess Frohman and thirty generous donors.

I admit I am a silly shopper...loud shoes, a vintage hot wheels, a donkey and brass deco chicken. The Mandella plaque was from a charity auction. Couldn't resist.

I admit I am a silly shopper…loud shoes, cool hats, a vintage hot wheels, a donkey and brass deco chicken. The Mandella plaque was from a charity auction. Couldn’t resist.

San Fran soldiers were digging my threads!

San Fran soldiers were digging my threads!

We began our adventure in San Francisco and spent a few days being tourists. I brought about twenty people to China Town the minute we arrived and we feasted beautifully…even better was the teeny bill…$20 each including booze?!?

Janet T. Planet: Awesomeness in a dress!

Janet T. Planet: Awesomeness in a dress!

My pal Janet T. Planet came up from L.A. to hang with me a couple days and one afternoon we had a nice long hang with my buddy Paul Myers who recently became a duo citizen.

Janet said coffee with Paul and I was brilliantly exhausting. We are both fast talkers! Paul is one of the most clever and entertaining people you could ever hope to do lunch with.

Janet said coffee with Paul and I was brilliantly exhausting. We are both fast talkers! Paul is one of the most clever and entertaining people you could ever hope to do lunch with.

The Jazz Safari in Napa Valley. Bliss!

The Jazz Safari in Napa Valley. Bliss!

Fine wine with new friends...nice!

Fine wine with new friends…nice!

I did a little sight-seeing and shopping and the following day hosted a tour of some wineries including Wente and Black Stallion.

Food Porn: A perfect meal near Big Sur...high on a mountain with some nice rose, local tomatoes and a lobster salad. Pinch me!

Food Porn: A perfect meal near Big Sur…high on a mountain with some fine wine, local tomatoes and a lobster salad. Pinch me!

As always, guests of The Jazz Safari hit Tonga Room (the worlds oldest and largest Tiki bar) and Yoshi’s for Jose James.

After a few days in San Francisco we headed for the Monterey Jazz Festival. IMG_8957Seeing Herbie Hancock was a sweet treat. We were talking and everyone kept snapping pics so I finally said “I guess I should get a photo too, huh?” He was so down to earth – like most jazz greats – and later introduced me to 80 year old jazz legend Wayne Shorter. IMG_8973Wayne said “there’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen – everybody put something in and make something beautiful!” Gregory Porter and his awesome band played songs over the private dinner and I saw him twice the following night, making me a SuperFan I suppose. If you don’t know Gregory Porter check him out!  He’s going to have a long career no doubt – as he crosses over to soul/gospel/blues/pop, while remaining a true jazz singer as well.

Gregory Porter and his brilliant band did an hour and a half in Dizzy's Den...one of my favourite shows of 2013!

Gregory Porter and his brilliant band did an hour and a half in Dizzy’s Den…one of my favourite shows of 2013!

What a great guy and every member of his band got to show-off their chops in the third show at Dizzy’s Den.

Joe Lovano and J-Fro...Jess has been assisting me in the International Jazz Safaris for years!

Joe Lovano and J-Fro…Jess has been assisting me in the International Jazz Safaris for years!

Joe Lovano was holding court several times during the festival and was very groovy indeed.

The Good Doctor!

The Good Doctor!

I got to hang with Dr. Lonnie Smith the great B3 wizard who told me he once lived on Maitland Street in Toronto and said “beautiful people live there – it’s freaky but I love it” and followed with “now I live in Florida…it’s really dull compared to Toronto!”

Don Was wuz there!

Don Was wuz there!

I also got to have a couple drinks with Don Was who is charming and sincere. I first knew him from “Walk The Dinosaur” and then followed his career as a brilliant producer…from B52’s “Love Shack” to a bunch of Rolling Stones recordings, and beyond. I was so happy to hear he is working with Sweet Pea Atkinson again and he showed interest in coming to Toronto to check out the jazz scene. As the new president of Blue Note Records in NYC, I hope he takes me up on my offer to play tour guide!

Lou did his own set and later sat in with his old pal, Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Lou did his own set and later sat in with his old pal, Dr. Lonnie Smith.

There is no way I can pick a favourite concert but aside from the people I’ve already mentioned, seeing Lou Donaldson twice was something I’ll never forget. At 87 the guy can still play a wicked solo, sing a hilarious blues tune and make an audience stand up after almost every tune.

I took Charnett Moffatt to Woodbine Racetrack and sailing when he was in Toronto on tour...what a wicked bass soloist!

I took Charnett Moffatt to Woodbine Racetrack and sailing when he was in Toronto on tour…what a wicked bass soloist!

Art Farmer, Horace Silver...everybody loves Ray Drummond on bass!

Art Farmer, Horace Silver…everybody loves Ray Drummond on bass!

Don't Worry, Be Grumpy? HA! Bobby McFerrin told me he was a bit tired when I saw him, but he sure kicked it on the main stage!

Don’t Worry, Be Grumpy? HA! Bobby McFerrin told me he was a bit tired when I saw him, but he sure kicked it on the main stage!

This was a phenomenal experience and everyone on the JAZZ.FM91 Jazz Safari agreed it was money and time well spent!

Monterey? I'll be back!!!

Monterey? I’ll be back!!!

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