The trio had a great time this past weekend at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference in NYC! It was a gathering of great jazz musicians of every generation and the record labels, artist managers, booking agencies, and festival promoters who run this business. Yoko played solo piano at the opening party and with the Trio at three showcases. Everyone was so welcoming and genuinely kind.
Allan Harris, great jazz singer and his wife/manager Pat Harris hosted the APAP opening party at their Harlem brownstone. Yoko was one of the musicians invited to play, and she was in great company. Cyrus Chestnut played solo piano at the party, and with his trio at the showcases. Cynthia Scott, a great singer who is a former Raelette (backup singer for Ray Charles) sang at the party. Pianist Marc Cary, who was also the late Abbey Lincoln’s musical director, played a great version of one of Abbey’s iconic songs, “Throw it Away.” Bassist Charnett Moffett played, and then we got to hang out with him while he told stories about playing with Mulgrew Miller in his band, Tony Williams in his band, and McCoy Tyner and his band. We talked about how Mulgrew and Tony left us so early, but he stressed how it was the quality of time they spent on this earth that matters, not the length.
The party alone would have been worth the trip to New York, but then there was the rest of the conference! We saw Francisco Mela, an old friend from Berklee and current drummer for Joe Lovano, and enjoyed just hanging out at the showcases. Don Braden, the tenor sax great, played in a showcase right after ours. Jon Weber, pianist played in several showcases, and he remembered Yoko from sharing the stage in Lincoln Center. Jon recently took over as the new host of “Piano Jazz” on NPR, following in the footsteps of the late, great Marian McPartland. Many artists were there from the Motema label, which is becoming one of the more influential labels in jazz. Motema hosted a jam session after the final showcase on Sunday night. The jam went until 2AM, with too many world class musicians sitting in to mention…Motema provided free mojitos!
We shared the stage and hung out with too many music legends to mention in one post; a few not mentioned above were like Monty Alexander, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Don Braden. Hope to see and work with you all again soon! Yoko reflects, “I am so grateful to Fred Taylor for introducing my trio in the showcases, not to mention connecting me with important industry people. Most of all, thanks to Scott and Will. We should be coming back soon to NYC so stay tuned….”