I am four hours into a flight to Oman. I will be playing a concert in Muscat with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, making this, certainly the longest commute I have ever made for a single engagement. We are part of the opening season for the new Royal Opera House. Sharing with us this exciting first few weeks of their first season is the American Ballet Theater, Placido Domingo, and Renee Fleming, among others.
If my seat on the plane is any example of what is to come over the next three days, this trip is going to be a trip. Actually, I don’t have a seat on this Emirates flight: I have a small room. It’s got lamps, a TV, various remote controls, and compartments I still haven’t figured how to open or what they’re for. On my left is a pop-up snack-bar. Even though the stock is all free of charge, I am conditioned from years of staying in hotels never to go for the overpriced stuff. The dining menu, which rivals any upscale Manhattan restaurant’s, can be ordered from at any time. I’ve had a salad, fish cakes, green tea, and have watched a movie using the provided noise-canceling headphones.
Here in first class (I was, in all fairness, bumped up from business) it seems that the number of flight attendants is equal to that of the passengers (although they probably call us “clients,” or “guests”).
Vince Gardner is in the seat in front of me, which is about a five minute walk. Sherman Irby is next to me, but I can’t see him because I have my wall up. I know he planned on getting some writing done on the flight, but if he is anything like me, he is far too distracted by all the amenities. I get more work done in coach, that’s for sure. Joe Temperly is in here somewhere, but I think it’s on the other side. I might call him on the remote which doubles as a phone, on which you supposedly can call other “clients.” The problem is I still haven’t figured out how to open the compartment with the instruction booklet (which probably also describes how to open the compartment to get the instruction booklet).
Anyway, I am looking forward to playing a place in the world I have never been, and to be part of a new cultural center that will provide opportunities for a lot of great music and theater from around the world.
I’ll let you know how it goes...in the meantime I think I’m going to order the sea bass, a glass of wine, make my seat fully horizontal and watch another movie.