Hello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!.

Readers, I’m still reeling from my Cross Borders Jazz Quintet tour of Western Canada last week. Wow!

Overall, such a great experience. The audiences, the venues, and the musicians… all fantastic.

First, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out to hear us play and to the people who made it all possible at Jazz Yukon, Frankie’s, Streaming Cafe, BC Interior Jazz Fest, The Yardbird Suite, and The Bassment. It was so nice to connect with the community of people who support this music with their time, energy and passion, thus allowing musicians to bring our energy and passion to audiences; and we couldn’t keep doing it without the support of our audiences.

As for the musicians, John Stetch, Joel Ross, Vicente Archer, and Joe Poole; it was amazing to be on stage with these guys for five nights in a row. And by “amazing,” I mean “inspiring and humbling.” These guys attack the music with energy and groove, and are immediately ready to take chances to keep pushing the music forward. When I wasn’t busy trying to keep up, I was busy thinking “Man, I should’ve practiced more. I’ve GOT to be practicing more!”

Humbling. BUT inspiring.

But yes… quite humbling. Even more so when one of the guys schooling you on a nightly basis is half your age. Still, all pride aside, it is always wise to surround yourself with the best and I’ll hold on to this inspiration for some time. Thanks to these fine musicians for joining me. I look forward to next time; whenever that may be.

Now, for any musicians out there reading this who are interested in touring, well, umm, you should probably read a blog by someone with more experience! BUT, you’re here, sooo…

There are many things to consider: What do you hope to get out of a tour? What do you want to present to audiences? How can you make sure the venues are happy with your work and want to have you back (hint: it’s ticket sales)? How to make sure you’re making life easy (and even enjoyable) for the other band members so they’ll want to join you again next time.

So, one thing to remember when organizing a tour is there will be a metric sh*t tonne of details to organize, and it only seems to snowball as you get closer to the shows. Tax waivers, flights, car rentals, hotels, finding vibraphones and basses, and amps, getting charts ready, radio promo, online promo, poster design, etc. etc. So make life easier for yourself and start planning way in advance, because…

The other thing to remember about that tonne of details to organize is that no one cares. :)

That’s right. No one really cares about all that time-consuming work you had to do leading up to shows. The only thing people (audience and band members alike) care about is that you deliver a strong performance on stage. So if you can, practice the music a lot, way before you get bogged down with the logistics of booking your own tour. Such was the situation I found myself in, bogged down and not able to prepare the music to the degree I would’ve liked to and therefore not able to perform to the best of my ability. Don’t get me wrong, it was fine, no one got physically ill from any clarinet solos (that I know of), but I know I could’ve done better. That’s hindsight for you. I’ll be ready next time.

Tremendous thanks to The Canada Council for the Arts for their financial support. Travel/lodging costs add up so quickly and we couldn’t have presented this music in as many cities as we did without the Canada Council.

And a final thank you to Shauna Johannesen for organizing the budget, itinerary, and for being an all around great gal.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go do my taxes. Fun!
Have a great week everyone.