I’m tired, but feel good. I’m out here with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, about half way into a three week tour. Rolled out of bed at 5:30 AM to make our 6:00 departure from the hotel in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This is not a particularly exotic trip - Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan. The heartland. It doesn’t matter where we are, people come out to be what of what we’re doing out here, and we play with the same enthusiasm whether we’re in a large, richly-cultured metropolis, or a small farming town, where the local museum features the sculptures of John Deere.
I am sitting in the front lounge of our tour bus. Joe Temperly is to my right, doing the NY Times crossword puzzle, and Wynton is across from me working on his iPad. Funny, because we have always teased Wynton about his lack of hi-tech acumen - I don’t think he even knows how to turn on a computer. We’ve just finished a passionate discussion about the music business - the business of music. Wynton’s energy and vision is very inspiring.
People have slowly retreated into their own spaces - most have crawled into their bunk beds in the middle section of the bus. Its quiet, save for the muffled sounds of the radio coming from the driver’s section, and the hum of the the tires on the road.
I’m tired, but feel good. I am lucky that I have understood from very early on what I want to do. I look out the window of the bus and see farms, trees, stretches of land. It’s flat - your eyes can converge on a distance quite far away. Better than looking out an office window to a building exterior a few feet away. I think changing scenery and experiences, playing new music and meeting new people, keeps you young, despite how tough it can be it times. I think doing the same thing over and over every day is what makes you old. I look at Joe Temperly - 82 years old as of last week - and it reminds me of this fact every day.
I’m tired, but I feel good. I am fortunate to be playing with musicians with such a strongly creative dedication to this wonderful music.