Fred Hersh trio? At Village Vanguard

28 July Sunday.

Today was the final day available to check out Fred Hersch trio at the Village Vanguard.

It had been a typical Melbourne weather day here in New York….but I was looking forward to seeing the trio with special Guest Joe Lovano on sax.

Caught up with Sam Izzo and lined up outside the Vanguard ( in the rain), as we had no reservation. Damn, all booked out….our only option was to come back for the 10.30pm show….fingers crossed.

As luck would have it we were the first in the waiting queue. A pleasant surprise was bumping into the brilliant NZ pianist Jonathan Crayford who joined us for the gig.

We made it in to the club…..just. Although sitting way down the back, we could still hear the band well. I had forgotten what a great club the Vanguard was.

Anyways, the band was spectacular, many great arrangements, much interaction, no overplaying, perfect balance and complimentary sounds all combined to make it a memorable gig.

Wonderful piano playing by the great Fred Hersch. Lushess moving chords and harmonies showed what a true master he is. Must mention the splendid arrangement of Monk tune “Bemsha Swing” which had the left hand of the piano and bass echoing the melody line of the horn.

Spectacular gig, made even more so considering the illness that Fred has been through in recent years.

see about Fred Hersch illness


Fred Hersch – piano
Joe Lovano – tenor sax
John Hebert – bass
Eric McPherson – drums



Paul Van Ross Flutes with Itai Kriss

29 July.

Very fortunate today to have a lesson with the Amazing Itai Kriss. A phenomal flutist who is originally from Israel and now resides in New York.

Itai has amazing technical facility on the flute and is equally at home in jazz or Latin music. He fuses the two together effortlessly.

Do yourself a favour and check his website ItaiKriss.com

After quizzing him on some basic fundamentals in the Cuban Charanga style of flute playing we played a few duets.

Had a great hang. Hope we can do it again before I leave NYC.



Flute Center of New York

Late July.

Found myself on the 11th floor of a building near Colombus Circle – the flute center of New York, where there are flutes and headjoints a plenty…..mostly a little over priced.

Very easy to spend 4-5hours here, in the two roomed ‘apartment’.

Lets see, tried out all manner of headjoints: David Chu, Haynes, Powell, Burkhart, Williams, Arista…..silver, gold (rose, 14k, 19.5), platinum….a flute players candy store.

Oh….and then there were flutes to try…new & second hand…..

1916 wooden Haynes
Gold Goosman
Gold haynes
Platinum Powell
Louis Lot
Powell handmades
Emmanuel (probably my favourite)
And may more…….and the piccolos too.

Took a 14k Haynes headjoint to trial for a while…..it made my commercial model Powell (1976 year) 30% louder and had a modern tone.

Fun. Friendly staff too.

Got my Powell repadded and tweaked at Weismann flutes by Luke Panella. With a new set of Straubinger pads, no leaks and no more movement in the key work….. It plays like a dream 🙂








Party happening in Central Park

Late July.

Friday afternoon jamming in Central Park. Great for developing your repertoire, skills, and improvisation.

Today we had a quartet if drums, bass, mini piano and saxophone. The pianist had clever rigged up a wooden cabinet with a keyboard and small amplifier. Worked like a charm. In fact a few passers by commented on how much they liked the rig (and the music).

Into our third set around 8pm, a young girl (4yo) was dancing to the music having the time of her life. Not long after another couple joined in, then a few more flexible you women too. Before long there was a party happening…..woohoo…. They could get enough of us.

Good times.




Smalls jazz club

One of hippest jazz clubs in New York City would have to be “Smalls”.

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, this famous club has a jam session Twice a day, afternoon and late nights. There’s usually three bands per night. The local musicians hangout here after their gigs including big names like Roy Hargrove, Chris Potter, Joel Frahm, Tivon Pennicot, The list goes on………

The staff are friendly, musicians are welcomed and always treated to discounted entry or free entry.

In the wee small hours, the resident cat tends to roam around like it owns the place.

Some of the best gigs I’ve heard have been done at the basement club.

Thanks Smalls.






Jeff Tain Watts reunion band

Mid July.

Headed down to the Jazz Standard to hear the Jeff Tain Watts Reunion band.


Arrangements done by his Australian wife. Whole band was full of characters. Special note to the amazing trombone section.

Some amazing soloing and trading between musicians.

Lucky enough to meet the man himself afterwards. Woohoo!

Caught a beautiful view of the Empire State Building on the way home.