Jun 3, 2013

European Concerts, May 2013

My wife, Nida, and I toured Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany for my various concerts in May, 2013. It was a chilly spring!

My first 2 concerts were in Pforzheim, Germany - for the eleventh year in a row. It was enjoyable seeing many friends who attend each year. Some of them played on stage with me too.

The next concert was just south of Munich, Germany, where I performed as a guest of Hans Dengler and the Munich Banjo Band. The local newspaper had a few nice things to say about the show.

Friends of mine, Joachim and Michaela Schmidt, had an early birthday party in Wuerzburg, Germany, and arranged a nice concert venue in their home town. Joachim played a few songs with me on his beautiful banjo.

My final concert happened in the Hague, Netherlands, where I offered a banjo workshop then played a banjo concert. My friend, Tom Stuip, made some wonderful musical guest appearances during my concert.

Feb 9, 2013

2013 JazzSea Farewell Caribbean Cruise

After 30 years of organizing cruises for "trad" jazz enthusiasts, Bob and Carol Neumann, of "JazzSea Cruises", chose to retire with this wonderful 14 day cruise to the southern Caribbean. With 4 jazz bands on board, as well as Dick Williams' "Jammers", and my "Banjos Aweigh" group, we honored the Neumanns with a farewell cocktail party - as well as 14 days of music and touring!

The cruise saw 8 islands in the 14 days:  starting from Ft. Lauderdale on January 4, 2013, we visited St. Thomas, St. Bart's, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, and Half Moon Cay (Bahamas).
With good weather and relatively calm seas, this final cruise was a real treat.

Here is my wife, Nida, in Grenada.

 St. Lucia's famous mountains

I performed a solo concert in the main Show Lounge, with Karla West accompanying me on piano. I accompanied Karla on her Ragtime show which we performed in the piano bar.

Most days, I conducted rehearsals and jamming with "Banjos Aweigh" in the Half Moon Room then we performed many evenings by the Lido pool.

 I  enjoyed playing as a sideman with some of the bands, including a put-together band which we called the "Wheezers and Geezers"- lots of fun!

Wheezers And Geezers
It's possible that some smaller organized tours might be organized to keep the trad jazz enthusiasts and the banjos and jammers happy, but there is no word yet as to what might happen.

2012 JazzSea Caribbean Cruise

On January 2, 2012, my wife and I boarded the Holland America Cruise ship, M.S. Maasdam for an 11 day JazzSea cruise to the southeast Caribbean leaving from and returning to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We enjoyed visits to 7 islands: Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.

There was music everyday on board the ship in various venues. I performed 2 solo concerts on my banjo in the "Crow's Nest" with accompaniment by Karla West on piano. On other days, I conducted the "Banjos Aweigh" band - 25 members consisting of amateur banjo players and other instrumentalists, eg, trombone, clarinet, violin, and washboard. On other occasions, I made guest appearances in the various featured jazz bands. On one occasion, I accompanied Karla West as she performed a Ragtime concert.

In the "Crow's Nest" 

Rehearsing with "Banjos Aweigh" in the
Half Moon Room

Conducting "Banjos Aweigh" in the
Ocean Bar wearing our new JazzSea T-shirt

Banjos Aweigh concert in the Ocean Bar

Banjos Aweigh concert by the Lido pool

Dinner with my wife, Nida

 In 2013, this same ship, the Maasdam, will tour the JazzSea group for the organization's 30th anniversary cruise.