Upon arriving in Treviso, I was taken by the rural beauty of the place. Canals, small lakes, and wheat fields are interspersed by small villas and old, crumbling barns. My first day there I went for a run and made friends with a horse and a couple of donkeys!
The second day, I met up with my great and hilarious friend Samuel Blaser for our first rehearsal with Hyper + Trio. Wonderful musicians. Very sweet and generous, and good composers of chamber jazz. That first encounter bode well for the concerts to come.
In the evening there was the opening reception for the SILE Jazz Festival at our hotel in Quinto di Treviso, jjust outside of the town of Treviso. There we met a few musicians and dignitaries, including guitarist Claus Boesser-Ferrari, saxophonist Nicola Fazzini, and artistic director Alessandro Fedrigo.
We had great food and the amazing locally made Pro Secco, and were entertained by the Helga Plankesteiner Trio.
It was so great to hang out with Samuel, and to look forward to play with him over the next two days. He is one of the most exciting trombonist to come out of the European scene. His control of the horn is unmatched, and his improvs are always fascinating, jumping from hard swinging lines to impressionistic shaping, with a real wide range that goes from super low to altissimo with ease of execution. I have to add that Samuel's sense of humour and endless repertoire of jokes makes him the ideal travel companion. Last summer we played a few gigs on Vancouver Island together with fantastic drummer Gerry Hemingway and pianist Benoît Dlebecq. Samuel is about the only guy I know who could manage to make these two laugh to the point of crying. After the reception I showed Samuel the new score that I picked up from Joëlle Léandre in Paris a few days before. The new work is written especially for our duo, Reed&Slide. We look forward to working on this together for concerts and recording in 2017.
Day 16 began with a trip to Treviso, which is often called the "little Venice" because of the canals crossing and surrounding the town. There we enjoyed a tasty lunch of local specialties accompanied with bubbly red wine, another unique feature of the region.
The local architecture varies widely from medieval structures to post-war modernist building. At the end of the war, the city suffered an allied bombing, which destroyed much of the historical town centre, including the now reconstructed Palazzo dei Trecento.
In the evening we set out for Badoere to perform a concert in the famous Piazza Indipendenza, the first market to be allowed outside of Venice. The concert was very well attended, with a cool first set of solo guitar by Claus. The setting was quite magical, with minimal lighting, highlighted by a beautiful crescent moon.
With only one rehearsal under our belt, the group performed remarkably well, considering the unfamiliar repertoire and the feeling out period necessary to gel as a band. Alessandro, Nicola, and drummer Luca Colussi are evidently very attuned to each other, making it relatively easy for Samuel and I to fit in. We played a full set of music, eventually rapping things up because the dew was threatening to cause our sheet music to melt to the music stands. My clarinet was soaked through and through by the time we were done!