Thirteen cities in less than a month, playing Philharmonic halls (mostly sold out) from Siberia to Podolsk (a couple of hours outside Moscow) with some clubs in between . . . I’m still recovering three weeks later! Actually I was sick when I arrived and seriously worried that I was going to have to cancel the entire tour but my voice came back during the first rehearsal! I gradually got better over the next few days and I did have a day or so between gigs to at least rest my voice – if not actually rest – Russia is HUGE and involves gigantic journeys on planes, trains and autombiles between cities. Thank the lawd for adrenalin during the actual tour itself.
And I had a lot of FUN with pianist Daniel Kramer (who brought me), Gregory Zaytsev and Anton Kuznetsov. And Russians are passionate audiences, which is utterly inspiring. People come up to you after the gigs and say things like “You made my soul explode!” I met so many amazing people and was given so many flowers and chocolates, Even a bottle of Lambrusco. I felt completely spoiled by the time I left for Budapest. In fact, the entire tour was kind of “pinch me!” – even though it’s not my first time playing some of those venues. The one in the main picture above was an early one (maybe even the first) and I pointed at it and said, “Oh, is that where we’re playing?”
Kidding! But it was!
Being hugged and kissed and
squished by so many women after the gigs was . . . amazing! I also sold out of CDs. I only brought 100 because everyone warned me that no one sells CDs anymore but I was cleaned out by gig number three, with ten more gigs to go. (including Budapest). Sigh! But at least I still got to go out and meet people and sign tickets and . . . get my hugs! And flowers. And chocolates! I even survived being a vegetarian. Not easy in Russia – especially at some of those little cafes on the road. And I got to hang out and have lunch with one of my best friends in the entire world, Neil, who lives in Moscow and then he and his wife, the Audrey Hepburn-esque Eva, brought a posse to Esse Jazz Club to hear us.
It was so wonderful to come back to Russia. Thank you so much for having me. See you next time! (Or, as I said by mistake instead of Dosvedanya) . . . Dostoyevsky! Pictures and captions below.
Ya Lublyu Vas!
The only thing more amazing than playing in a gigantic venue, is getting a standing ovation in one! I totally get crowd-surfing. In the right outfit, of course.
Small planes. Probably my least favorite mode of travel – especially at 2am! Lord!
This is my favorite way to travel. Trains. I like the clickety clack. And lying down! Planes take just as long when you factor in all the faffing around.
Yes. My favorite tea! Actually, Russians really know tea!
The “boss” – piano maestro Daniel Kramer!
My orange balaclava was actually VITAL! Never mind it it’s too “matchy matchy”!
Things you can buy in RUssian roadside rest stops
Is it just me, or are bananas actually funny!
When you are driving along, you have to KEEP wiping the window or it gets covered in ice again completely.
Can you imagine waiting for the bus in this weather!
Team Kramer on our first night!
No warning! No makeup!
No this is not vodka . . . at least I don’t THINK it is!
I love this crazy dress!
Sound check. I took lots of pictures like this.
The most bizarre bedding of the trip. The honeymoon suite?
Bundled up after the concert and ready to face the elements!
People filtering in for the first night.
I think this was after our concert at Omsk Philharmonic
I signed the Wall of Fame at Podolsk Philharmonic. What a great audience that was!
Novosibirsk poster! Does Diana Krall still get excited by posters!
Never too late for a drummer to pick up bass playing tips!
Frost on the INSIDE of the train window!
Antosh took a bunch of pictures of me from the drum position.
The craziest stage on the tour!
Thank you, Novosibirsk ladies!
My friend Natalia came!
Lovely ladies at Everjazz Club in Ekaterinburg
My wonderful band at Everjazz Club.
The fabulous Cleveland Watkiss – who blew me away when he sat in on a gig of mine at Pizza Express! On the wall at Everjazz
Wonderful Al Foster! So nice to see a bit of home on the walls!
My brothers on the road, Grigory and Anton
Dressing room way too dark to do makeup. I had to go and put makeup on in the kitchen, where the staff didn’t seem to mind at all. Everjazz
My cool band and friends at Everjazz. Alexandr Bulatov Trio
In Moscow with Neil. One of my dearest friends in all the world!
THE POSTERS . . . some of them
1. SOME VERY COOL PRESS
It’s kind of cheating to put this in, but I think it was almost January when I found out via an email from Sebastian Scotney of the fabulous LondonJazzNews blog that Beyond the Blue had made Number 6 on Clive Davis’ Ten Best Jazz CDs of 2013 in the Times. I was also surprised to see I’d made it, for the second year running, into the Downbeat Critics Poll as a Rising Star vocalist
But probably the most shocking was “Souter Steals the Show” in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle by Jeff Spevac, the day after our gig at the Xerox International Jazz Festival. We also had some wonderful reviews and previews from Jack Garner, Ron Netsky (who was the very first person to write about me in Rochester), and an interview in the green room between sets with Derrick Lucas, host of The Spectrum on Jazz90.1 every Sunday from 10 p.m. – 1am. Basically, I am in love with all of Rochester. Thank you for making me feel like a movie star!
2. SOME VERY COOL GIGS
This year I discovered Yotam Silberstein and Francois Moutin at my gig at Rockwells, part of a great series curated by Doug Panera. I also discovered the great young bassist Yasushi Nakamura in May, and guitarist Pete McCann
In London, at Pizza Express Jazz Club – another place that feels like a “home” gig to me – I got to play with Jim Hart again, along with Oli Hayhurst and ever-brilliant, Winston Clifford. Clive Davis from the Times came on our second night. He didn’t look anything like his picture – which is probably because, he said (when I remarked), that picture was taken when he was five years old. He was very polite and didn’t say “You don’t look like your pictures either!” I live in fear of being dragged off the stage by irate people shouting: “We came to see this woman! Where is she?” waving flattering pics at me menacingly
Okay, so not strictly a gig (at least not mine), but I was invited to sit in by Billy Hart with him, Jason Rigby and Cameron Brown at Trumpets Jazz Club. Bit nerves-inducing, but if I hadn’t said yes I’d have kicked myself for months afterwards. I sang The Creator Has a Master Plan to calm me down – Billy is on that recording with Pharoah Sanders
I also returned to Blues Alley in DC. It feels so strange to be singing on the same stage as one of your heroines (Blues Alley was the “home gig” of the late and amazing Eva Cassidy). I love all the staff there too. They make me feel very welcome every time
3. SOME VERY COOL DEBUTS
Had a wonderful gig at Sheila Anderson’s Jazz in the Garden series at Newark Museum, NJ, except not in the garden because we were rained indoors, which everyone agreed was a good thing because the sound guy said the sound was better for our vibe. Plus the auditorium was sold out (some people had to watch TV monitors out in the hall) and we got a standing O. With Yasushi Nakamura, Yotam Silberstein, Lew Soloff, Billy Drummond
And I had a great debut at the Iridium with Lew Soloff, Pete McCann, Yasushi Nakamura and Billy Drummond and fell in love with house manager Grace and sound man Rich who took care of us that night
w Pete McCann, Lew Soloff, Yasushi Nakamura and Billy Drummond at Iridium, Pic by Janis Wilkins
Me singing with Cameron Brown at a tribute to Sheila Jordan. Another Janis Wilkins pic
Fort Grand, Perm. I blogged about these two gigs last month
4. COOL NEW YORK HANG WITH DEAR FRIEND AND ROOMIE FROM #$&*! YEARS AGO
Graham McTavish and me at dinner in Macy’s, New York
5. SEEING LIVE AND MEETING ONE OF MY VERY FAVORITE JAZZ SINGERS
Catching my first live concert of one of my very favorite singers, Youn Sun Nah, at the Blue Note, and meeting her afterwards, when she gave me 3 CDs, which I now listen to on my new-to-me B&W speakers
This picture with Billy Drummond and Youn Sun Nah. Picture above of Youn Sun Nah and Ulf Wakenius. Extraordinary music
6. HANGING WITH MUMS IN LONDON FOR THREE DAYS
7. FINDING THIS MAGNIFICENT CHAIR ON A FOR SALE SIGN IN MY BUILDING
Finding the chair of my dreams after checking out the real thing at Room and Board THAT VERY DAY. Came home and saw a sign in my elevator saying, “moving sale” and there it was. It’s a fake Charles Eames and it’s a bit worn but it is so comfortable and I have put it in my “sweet spot” and now spend many happy hours listening to music in it. #lifechanging – as are my new-to-me B&W speakers (oh, did I already mention those?) One day I will have it re-upholstered. But until then ….
8. CATCHING BILLY DRUMMOND’S FREEDOM OF IDEAS DEBUT AT SMOKE
Billy with Seamus Blake, Eric Reed, Dezron Douglas at Smoke Jazz club in August
9. HAVING A HOLIDAY IN SPAIN/MOROCCO/GIBRALTAR WITH (AND COURTESY OF) MY BABY BROTHER
Me and baby bruv in Spain
Accidentally trekking the Rock of Gibraltar in the insane sun