Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR Michigan Tour Diary — Day 6 April 13-16 Dearborn to Escanaba to Southfield
Brrrr! Who knew Michigan in April would be a scene from Currier & Ives?
Three cheers for Sassy, my amazing girlfriend, driver and tour manager, who celebrates her birthday today after a harrowing drive to the Upper Peninsula and back!
That's 13 hours and 900 miles in the snow, hands gripping the wheel at 10 and 2, eyes on the icy road ahead, ever vigilant that Kamikaze Bambi could dart out from winter wonderland at any moment.
Not an easy drive, but we made it, safe and sound. Taught two high school workshops on opposite sides of the state. Even had time to pause and enjoy a delicious Yooper Pasty in the quaint little town of Escanaba before heading south again.
Now we're relaxing in a nice warm hotel, car parked, nothing on the schedule... until tomorrow, when it all starts up again.
Dmitri Matheny Group JAZZ NOIR Michigan Tour Diary — Day 2 April 11 Traverse City, MI
After a four-hour flight to Detroit and a four-hour drive north through mist and fog, dodging deer along the way, we've arrived in Traverse City.
TC is a small town (only 15,000 residents) but is the largest city in Northern Michigan, and something of a tourist destination. Situated on Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse is the self-proclaimed Cherry Capital of the US, and also produces wine grapes. Vacationing midwesterners come here for the freshwater beaches, vineyards, hiking and skiing.
Surprisingly, they're here now. Our hotel is full up with families, which seems odd, because it's so cold outside, with ice and snow piled up along the roadside. Why vacation now? Is it spring break? So many kids.
I hope a few of the older folks come to hear us tonight. It's always a white knuckle ride, arriving in a new place, wondering if anyone knows or cares that you're in town. You send announcements to traditional and social media, maybe do a couple of radio interviews, then it's out of your hands, entirely up to the Fates.
This morning at breakfast I perused the local paper, searching vainly for a photo listing or any mention at all. Nope! No arts coverage. Just sports, real estate, gossip and TV listings.
Will they come?
Hope so! Regardless, I'm looking forward to the experience.
Traverse City holds much nostalgia for me.
30 years ago, when I was a teenager at Interlochen, we would come here on semi-chaperoned weekend bus trips to stroll around the shops, go to the movies and hang out away from campus.
I held hands with my high school crush here.
I also played my first ever paid gig in this town, a private party at the Maritime Hall.
Our little jazz quintet only knew six tunes from memory.
When in Japan, the Frugal Flugel recommends 100 YEN SHOPS, where packaged meals and snacks, groceries, water, toiletries, household items and more are available for about a buck. In addition to familiar picnic items like sandwiches, dried fruits and nuts, 100 Yen Shops offer a chance to sample such Japanese treats as sembei (rice crackers), iwashi (sardines) and ika (dried squid).