Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Blake Tartare at Chez Hanny in San Francisco. Frank Hanny hosts a home series highlighting jazz artists from all over the country. We played the Earshot Jazz Festival and Vancouver's Cellar (will never forget that late night Scrabble match!) before arriving in CA. It was a terrific experience and a great reunion. As always pianist Soren Kjaergaard and bassist Jonas Westergaard made me proud. Ben Perowsky sat in for Kresten Osgood behind the drums and made everything sound beautiful. I was a very happy band leader. The band indulged in some great Sushi in Vancouver and we ate well the whole tour.

(photo right) Myself and Frank Hanny at his sunday salon series. Not only does Frank have great taste in music (ahem...) he also has  a terrific collection of pin-up art and vinyl. While talking to Torben Ulrich (who wrote liner notes for my Lucky Thompson tribute album) Frank played a fantastic CD by Jimmy Cleveland featuring Lucky at his best. I was in heaven listening to Torben recollect about Lucky while having my mind blown by Lucky's incredible tenor solo playing out of the stereo. We managed to hit The Mission that evening for a burrito but the best Mex was yet  to come...

The day after this afternoon concert we drove through the Napa Valley on route to Arcata. It was one of the most beautiful drives I've ever taken. We stopped in Ukiah at Los Jalos, a local Taqueria that was amazing. That night we played at the Redwood Jazz Alliance concert for another enthusiastic audience. I finally got some sleep that night. The jetlag from the China trip was brutal and I went 3 days without sleep before my body finally settled down. It was to my benefit that my girlfriend Meredith Walters met us in SF and helped me with the driving. 

Me, Meredith and Ben at Los Jalos

After Arcata the weather turned nasty and we had a very long drive ahead of us at night, in pouring rain, through the redwoods on a twisty turny road. Meredith totally came through and we arrived back in Ukiah safe and sound. But the Taqueria was closed! Just down the road was Be-Bops. Check out the sign (sorry the lights were off but you can still see how gorgeous this diner is). I mean, we're talking Arnold's from Happy Days here. But they were closing and it looked like we were going to hit a Denny's. Soren, however took the initiative to beg the cook to restart the grill and after much pleading, he did! This is what came next: the best milkshakes, burgers, onion rings and fries i've ever eaten. Ukiah may not be the most fashionable town in CA but they got some good eats.

What a spread! Massive pig out at Be Bops. The land of 10,000 calories per meal. A terrific finale to an incredible tour