On February 25Th I drove 100 miles up to my home town of Sacramento, CA to see the legendary improvisational jazz saxophone master, Roscoe Mitchell (one of the original founders of the famed, Art Ensemble of Chicago) perform at the 24Th Street Theater.
The opening group was lead by one of my early "musical teachers," if you will, Mr. Tony Passarell and his Thin Air Orchestra. I met Tony over 30 years ago when I was a skinny, little high school musician and Tony was a music major at Sac State. He, along with (the late) Erik Kleven, Henry Robinette, Mike Curtis and Rick DaPrato were my musical "uncles" as we all hung out at the original Esoteric Records (Alhambra @ J Streets... then owned by Rick DaPrato, across from the McKinley Park 'Duck Pond') in the 1970's and I was to be schooled on all things musically cool, informative and groovalicious!
The show was great! After The Thin Air Orchestra performed a flawless set, Mr. Mitchell came out and floored us ALL with solo Saxophone compositions. I was very impressed that at his age he still can play and command his instrument like a man AT LEAST half his age.
Then the Thin Air Orchestra came back on stage to play about three more pieces with Mr. Mitchell. Egad! It was truly AMAZING!
I was also fortunate enough after the gig to meet Mr. Mitchell and get him to sign an LP of his I own (see photos).
Big up's to Tony Passarell, old pal and bad-ass bassist Gerry Pineda and guitarist Ross Hammond (it was great to meet you, Ross) and a BIG gracias to Brian Gorman (Northern California Improvisational Arts Foundation) for throwing the whole shebang together so well!
What a night!