I will be looking over the previous posts and inserting images, and cleaning up text, fixing typos and misspelled names, and maybe editing some dupe info and omissions. Otherwise, that is the story from beautiful Rochefort, France. Some really amazing and dedicated people run a very ambitious festival, the artists are treated very well, and the results are very enjoyable for both the audience and the artists.
What I have tried to relate is my experience, my reality, and my observations during a week where I made a point to stay open and positive at every moment. That is probably the thing I am proudest of. Many bass players could have done a better job with the music, would have had an easier time, and been able to contribute more. I am what I am: a person in love with music and the bass, who has had the good fortune to be able to express that in some very interesting venues. Whether that is the intimate “Never Open Books” of New Haven, or Cafe Nine, or an outdoor festival stage in France, I try to bring the same ethic. I owe my friends from New Haven Improvisors Collective a huge debt of gratitude, and maybe none more than drummer Steve Zieminski. Playing bass alongside him for the past two years has allowed me to grow as a bassist, and trust my instincts more than ever. As I approach 50 years old, that is not an easy thing to do.
From the beginning of this trip I have focused on the concept of being open, in the way that one opens their heart to the opportunity and does not try to mold the experience to their will. My work with NHIC, or DOOT!, or the Sawtelles, or Lys Guillorn…. and others has been a fantastic training ground for that approach. An experience like the one I just had at Rochefort is a type of validation. Likewise, it was dependent on encountering other with the same generosity of spirit, the same patience, and the same willingness to set out on a journey and trust that you will work as hard as they will to reach the destination. I was fortunate to encounter those people at every step of the way, in circumstances where it would have been easy to cop an attitude or cede to some negative element. It simply never happened.
I would be remiss to not mention, again, what a pleasure it was to work with Napoleon Murphy Brock. The timing of this event was very opportune, as the time that has elapsed since Zappanale 20 in 2009 has allowed me to make some observations and allow my cynical voice to recede. Napoleon is a world class performer, educator, musician and person. He does that on his terms, and I can’t say that I would want to be tied to those terms, but in an instance like this it was his stability and patience and focus that created a safe haven when other situations were spiraling into disarray. And hell… I held down a flimsy canopy in a driving storm on an electrified stage in hopes of him not being speared through the neck with a broken piece of aluminum! So there is always that 🙂
With hopes for continued musical adventure,