On July 5, 2017, I embarked on a short European tour with John Beasley's Monk'estra big band. Our journey started at in Los Angeles and took me to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, London and Dublin.
We arrived in Amsterdam on July 6 and took a couple of shuttles to Rotterdam. Lorna Beasley, John's wife, and trombonist Ryan Dragon are in high spirits.
Saxophonist Bob Shepard can't understand why his phone doesn't work and fellow reedman Tom Luer daydreams about reeds and mouthpieces.
One of the things I enjoy about traveling is seeing the architecture in different countries. The Dutch certainly have their own flair.
Trombonist and my cohort on many musical travel adventures, Wendell Kelly, and I check in the Rotterdam Hilton.
Another aspect of traveling as a musician is the variety of hotel rooms, both in quality and size. This particular Hilton was very comfortable and nicely decorated.
It had a nice cozy workspace by the window. This was very important to me on this trip because over the next few days I had some music that I needed to transcribe and arrange.
And...believe it or not, a good shower is crucial to my personal comfort on the road. So many hotels tend to over-complicate their shower, but this one was done right. Simple controls with a shower head high enough so that I don't need to crouch down. Yes, many hotels can't seem to get this right.
An added bonus of this hotel was a beautiful view of the local neighborhood in Rotterdam. This is especially pleasing when you're stuck in you hotel room transcribing music for hours at a time.
After we got checked in, several of us took the recommendation of the concierge and headed to a local outdoor cafe/bar to sample the local beer.
Bandmates Adam Schroeder, Tom Luer, Ryan Dragon, Bijon Watson and Francisco Torres all sharing a pitcher of beer. I suppose that the combination of beer and laughter account for the awkward expression on my face. Later, we were joined by our fearless leader, John Beasley and his wife Lorna, trumpeter Rashawn Ross and Bob Shepard for a "few" more pitchers. Warning: lack of sleep and too much beer make it difficult for you to find your hotel again, even when it's just around the corner.
But I eventually found the Hilton, just in time to have a short conversation about music theory with the brilliant Jacob Collier. Nice kid, loves to talk about music.
Later on, members of the Monk'estra went out for dinner, but as far as I know, there is no photographic evidence thereof...hopefully.
Coming soon...John Beasley's Monk'estra perform at the North Sea Jazz Festival, July 7th & 8th.