Thursday, August 26, 2004

Playing on the Streets

I'm writing this from Stockholm, Sweden...I too have witnessed metro musicians here and throughout our travels and have personallyenjoyed playing on the streets (of Paris)...for me, playing on the street the first time felt a little like skinny dipping at a puritan picknic - not exactly knowing what the reaction would be, only to find that most folks really don't give a hoot. It's always nice though when some people stop to appreciate the music enough to contribute to the hat. For those street musicians who make a living out of this type of performance, well...that's amazing! Must be a hard road, but I have a great appreciation for what they do.

Next time you see a so-called "street musician" take a moment from your busy day and listen...and reflect on the music you're hearing. It might just make your day. And if you have any spare change, know the routine!

Rob Birdwell

Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes

While on a bus with my family leaving the Paris Jazz festival (a very enjoyable day in the park, with fine music that day) I got into a conversation with a guy who was a guitar player. We got on great, talked about music enthusiastically as the bus rolled along and eventually exchanged info...I gave him a complimentary copy of my Real Trumpet CD for yucks and he introduced me to a friend of his, who aparently is somewhat of a legend: Andy Hamilton.

I noticed him on the bus...he looked strongly gentle, if that makes any sense, and he looked like a man who was enjoying life...I guessed he might be in his 70s but it turns out he's well into his 80s and going strong (traveling by bus in Paris, especially a crowded festival bus, is a bit of an olympic event for even the young, let alone the young at heart).

Anyway, the guy (sorry I have his name but can't recall by memory but have it somewhere) gave me Andy's card and introduced us. He told me that Andy was quite a man and a real legend. I was honored to meet him of course, even on that crowded bus, and told Andy I looked forward to exploring his (Andy's) music...

Browsing Andy's bio, I'm proud to have met him and do look forward to hearing him play!

Rob Birdwell

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Musical Notes from Europe Tour

Musical highlights so far include playing on the streets of Paris (bringing in an undisclosed some of pocket change!) and playing with my in-laws here in Sweden (trumpet with their fine accordion playing) - lost my mouthpiece somewhere in France, but have been able to use my Flugelhorn mouthpiece (which I just happened to bring - bon chance!).

Attended a Jazz festival outside of Paris - liked the original group with the Sax/Accordion player - will update this post with more info on them!

There´s a slight chance I´ll hook up with John Bliss in Stockholm later this month, but we must return on the 27th and head home on the 31st!

Enjoying the sights, sounds, tastes and company very much and all are having a good time!