Last Sunday was one of the most intense and epic musical experiences of my life. The Vinny Golia Sextet (featuring Vinny Golia, baritone and sopranino saxophone, Gavin Templeton, alto sax, Alex Noice, electric guitar, Jon Armstrong, electric bass, Andrew Lessman, drums, and myself on trumpet) performed at the Ford Amphitheater where we shared the stage with some of jazz and creative music’s true legends, and some of my personal heroes. First, Kneebody opened the evening with a riveting set of original music. We performed after, which to me is still a blur – such a rush, but hard to remember really what happened! Following our set, the Sons of Champignon (Tim Berne, alto sax, Nels Cline, electric guitar, and Jim Black, drums and laptop programming) threw down one of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen. Completely free and absolutely brilliant improvisation, the set rocked the Ford to its core! I have to admit, I got a little giddy during this performance – I felt like a little kid in total rapture! Following the Sons of Champignon, Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet delivered some of the deepest artistic expression I’ve ever witnessed. I was on cloud nine as I watched my first trumpet teacher and one of my true idols float around the stage like a spirit, delivering truth with every note he played. Vijay Iyer on piano, John Lindberg on bass, and Pheeroan akLaaf on drums, blew my mind as well, each with a unique and powerful voice. Finally, the night was capped off with the Ralph Alessi/Ravi Coltrane Quintet, featuring Larry Koonse, guitar, Darek Oles, bass, and Steve Hass, drums. These guys played exquisitely, flowing through compelling original compositions with astonishing grace and virtuosity.
This was truly one for the books. I am more than honored to have shared the stage with such incredible voices, and the hang backstage was completely surreal. And I must say here what an honor it is to dedicate myself, along with my bandmates, to the compositional and aesthetic voice of Vinny Golia, whose true genius is yet to be fully recognized. Vinny writes some of the most intricate, complex, and compelling music I have ever performed and to play in his band is an absolute joy. Thank you Vinny for believing in us, and for giving us the opportunity to experience such amazing music in such an epic context. I will remember this experience forever.