Sunday, October 17, 2010

An Undisclosed Location

Laloc Vallejo, Dan Norman, Ken Basman and myself played last Sunday at Plaza Posuelos. While we have recorded together we have never performed live together so the Posuelos gig was a nice opportunity to play together the day before our performance at the festival in Lerdo. It is always a treat to play with Ken. He has seemingly endless ideas and he always adds something fresh and groovy to whatever tune we play. He also brings the level of the whole group up a notch or 2.

After we finished rockin' out the mall. Ken and I piled into Dan's car and headed to Leon.
The angry looking bald guy is our driver.

The only problem we encountered during our travels happened at the very beginning of our trip as we tried to board the bus for Torreon. Even though the festival had purchased a ticket for the tuba, the driver of the bus for some reason or another could not grasp the idea that the tuba would be an ideal passenger. Eventually the driver opened up a special storage area under the bus and the tuba was segregated but appeared to be safe enough to satisfy Dan and off we went.

We arrived in Torreon around 630 Monday morning. We were met by Jose Arturo Lopez,our driver for the festival. Jose is a tall, nice man and he is very proud of his city. It was fun listening to him proudly show us the sites as we drove through Torreon and Gomez Palacio on the way to our hotel in Lerdo. Once we arrived at our hotel (Lerdo is about a 30 minute drive from the bus station in Torreon) we all went to our rooms for a little more rest.

After breakfast we got together for a short ensayo or rehearsal. During the last month or so I have been adding new charts to the TUBA JAM tuba book. Just before the festival I came across 2 different tunes that I thought would be perfect additions to our show for the festival. So just before the concert in the mall I gave Dan the music for jazz classic A Night In Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and a beautiful song that shows our sensitive side Gush by Maria Schneider. It is my opinion that the energy level will be a bit better if there are a few new things to keep you on your toes. And for our concert in Lerdo it definitely worked. Dan and Laloc turned it up a notch and Ken was his usual spectacular self.

I talked to some very nice people after our performance. 1 young man came up and asked if we could play for his girlfriends birthday, which was the next day, but we would serenade her that night at midnight. It's not my idea of a great birthday present but this guy seemed to think it was and that's all that matters. Even though  Ken and Dan had to return that night before the midnight birthday serenade, the guy still seemed interested so Lalo told him to give him a call later and we would serenade her, drums and trumpet style.

Laloc and I went out for dinner with a few of the locals and a few other participants in the festival. Julio Sanchez, the payaso or clown from Irapuato (see earlier post My New Little Friend) entertained the crowd as Laloc and I added musical accompaniment. I had forgotten all about the earlier serenade request and I thought that would probably wouldn't hear about the serenade again., but after we had been at the restaurant for a few hours and just before midnight the boyfriend of the sleeping birthday girl called and met us at the restaurant.

He agreed to pay Laloc and I $350 pesos each, around $30 US to play for about 35 minutes mas o menos. Julio came along for the added excitement that a clown brings to any situation. The boyfriend took us to an undisclosed location, we parked, made a quick game plan and headed into the large gates of a house somewhere in Lerdo.

It took the birthday girl longer than I would have thought to make her appearance. As I was playing my mind couldn't help but wonder. Was this a happy couple? What did she really think about this, like, what would she tell her girlfriends? Was there another guy or girl waiting in her bed as we serenaded?

I love that during my first Mexican serenade, the drums and trumpet were assisted by a clown juggling flaming whatever you call em's. Very Fellini.

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