Last jam session in Central Park

August 24.

Today marked 2 special occasions….my last lesson with the great flute teacher Keith Underwood, and, my last day jamming in Central Park.

Was particularly inspiring studying with Keith again, I had almost forgotten how open he was to ALL things music, he constantly referring to classical players, jazz players, Cuban players, brass players etc.

Anyways lots learned, lots to practice.

Pic of Keith and I attached.

Headed straight to “the mall” in Central Park to play in the Seth Myers trio led by…….Seth Myers, also included myself and Mark Lockett. We had a good thing going, our trio was highly interactive and tight.

Today was an auspicious day as it was the first day that we had a demo CD available. People often asked if we had a cd….. So we made one.

Recorded in Seth’s apartment, came out very well. A great representation of our trio.

Much credit to Seth, his recording skills, mixing and editing skills, and design skills.

Was a great opportunity to play so often in the park over the summer, helped hone my jazz chops. Many memorable moments…..like today when Mark sat a 3/4 year old girl on the drum stool and helped her play a swing beat with the whole band. Ha. True.




First night in Cuba

August 26.

Landed safely in Havana after Cubana Air had a 2 hour delay…..ah yes, a taste of Cuban Time before I even arrived!

Have to mention possibly the most appropriate typo ever…..on Cuba Immigration form says “if you ticked No box above, you are a Green Channel passenger. SING and hand over your form……” Ha ha ha, maybe they’d like a dance too.

Taxi driver quickly worked out I was a musician and spoke relatively good broken English (better than my broken Spanish). He proceeded to give me a music lesson in the Grammy Winning ‘Benny More’ by playing a large section of his music from his USB stick via the car stereo. Classic Cuban music from the 40’s, 50’s era. Lots of mambo and Cha cha cha. Driver would skip any tracks he didn’t want to listen to, in order to play me the “best of” tracks 🙂

Dropped me right outside Jacinto’s casa. Jacinto is a great percussion teacher here in Cuba who spent three years living and teaching in Australia in the mid 90’s as part of a cultural exchange. Taxi driver tried to casually bump up the fee, but I wasn’t buying it. Welcome to CUBA.

Jacinto gave me a warm welcome and introduced me to his household which included two other Melbourne percussion students…..wow, I instantly felt like I was in a home away from home 🙂

Jacinto even dubbed his lounge room the “Australian Embassy”.

After a short talk about what my priorities were I realised quickly That I was in good hands and that I was going to have a wonderful musical stay.

Welcome to CUBA.



Latin Sabor in Beacon

August 1.

One hour north of NYC.

After checking out the amazing gallery at Dia Beacon I had the great honour of playing with one of the local Latin Jazz bands.

Concert was scheduled to be outside, however due to weather conditions was moved to an indoor venue.

Not your typical Latin band, this group played music by Chucho Valdes To Bob Berg!

One horn player was ill and I just happened to have my sax.

Had lots of fun between playing and dancing. Got to play next to Rob Scheps, Larry Moses & Emilio Valdes (son of Chucho).

Thanks to Rob for making it all happen.









Paul Van Ross meets Abercrombie, Ries, Oswanski & Fromen

31 July.

Today I caught a train on the Hudson River line north of Manhattan to a small town called Cold Spring. It was 17 years ago that I had last seen the great saxophonist Rob Scheps who i had had lessons with at the time.

Time for a reunion.

Rob mentioned a great gig that was happening in the next town…..perfect time to travel up north and catch up.

So we arrive at “The Falcon” a venue that had been putting on live music.

Well it turns out that I was in fine company…Rob introduced me to the band….Tim, John, Ron & Ian. A great bunch of musicians and fellas.

Band was led by Hammond organist Ron. What a great gig. These guys played so musically. A few compositions from each member of the band were performed. This band was swinging.

Must mention the amazing duet between piano accordion (Ron) and guitar (John).

Had a great chat with Tim Ries and John Abercrombie after the gig. 🙂

Ron Oswanski – B3 hammond Organ / piano accordion
Tim Ries – tenor / soprano sax
John Abercrombie – guitar
Ian Fromen – drums





Jamming in Central Park with dancer

30 July.

Greet session of jamming today in Central Park. It’s such a beautiful spot to unwind from the stresses of NYC life.

So much fun playing with Seth Myers & Mark Lockett. It’s amazing how quickly a musicians skills develop when you play jazz everyday. New tunes to learn and the reluctance of New Yorkers to use charts helps develop those skills even more quickly.

Highlights today would have to be the young gorgeous woman who let Seth the bass player to a puff on her joint whilst he was doing a bass solo. She actually held it for him!

Also have to mention the young couple who were swing dancing to a few of our tunes.

Walked passed a concert in an amphitheatre in Central Park on the way home.

Great day. Lots of fun. Playing improving.