Summer Notes

Summer is slippin’ away and it has been a full ride. The spring started off with concerts for Osvaldo Golijovs’ “Azul” featuring Yo Yo Ma, Michael Ward-Bergeman on Hyperaccordion (Berklee alum) and me along with the BSO. Then a tour to Egypt and Lebanon with the Palestinian Oud Master Simon Shaheen. Late spring I hit with Paul Simon and our band of the past 11 years with a 3-week retrospective of his works at BAM in Brooklyn. Some of the featured artists we backed up were David Burne, Loiziana Sousa and Josh Grobin, all under the watchful eyes of Phil Ramone. Then in early summer I went off on tour with Paul Simon starting in Iceland and ending up in early August in Sicily. Charley Drayton took Steve Gadd’s place (Steve was out for a much longer tour with James Taylor). Charley took the hot seat and played great. Paul was at his best so the music was swinging and fun. While in Sicily, I was joined by my family and we did a beautiful outdoor concert in the town of Modica with Italian singer, Chiara Civello, and pianist, Tino Derado, who are both Berklee alums and past students. The summer ends with the “Drum Fantasy Camp” beginning Aug 23rd, in my hometown of Cleveland. This year’s instructors include Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Tony Royster, Jr and me.

The fall kicks off with teaching at all 4 colleges, Berklee and New England Conservatory in Boston where I fly to each week and the Cleveland Institute of Music and Oberlin conservatory here in Northeast Ohio. Then off to Washington DC and one concert with Paul Simon for the annual AARP convention. Then 2 recordings in NYC, one with the great Middle Eastern ney player (Arabic flute), Bassam Saba, and the other with trumpeter, Dominick Faranicci. Then potentially the most amazing trip comes this September when I fly to Ethiopia with Paul Winter and help him organize a Pan-African group of musicians to musically celebrate the migration of a billion birds as they fly from Asia and Europe over Turkey and Lebanon as they head south through the Great Rift Valley to South Africa. Then, in another treat I will play at Berklee in a trio setting with the brilliant pianist and arranger, Cesar Camargo Mariano, who was the pianist of note with the great Brazilian singer Elis Regina. Simon Shaheen was commissioned to write a symphony for Oud and orchestra for the Detroit Symphony which we will premier in Ann Arbor on Oct 18th and 19th. The year will end up with a few more concerts with cellist’s, Yo Yo Ma, Alisa Weilerstein and Maya Beiser.