VILNIUS AND KAUNUS
On the road again, after a pleasant hit last night with Shingo Okudaira, who I played with a lot this summer in Tokyo, and Gary Wang on bass whom I haven't played with in a long time. Gary is a great bassist and it was nice to reconnect. Now I am in Lithuania, at the Kaunus Jazz Festival where I am playing one set duo tomorrow with Kestutis Vaiginis, a fine sax player, former student and rising star in the Lithuanian jazz scene, opening for Dave Holland's Quintet. Kestutis is one of those people who you know will land on his feet, He knows how to get gigs and I wouldn't be too surprised if he is running the country in a few years--he has that kind of energy about him.
Lithuania is interesting, a mix of the very old (like the 13th century church across from the restaurant where we ate lunch) the slightly old (turn of the century 20th palaces and buildings from the period when Kaunus was the capital and one of the major cultural stops) and the new old (the soviet period, with it's hulking and decaying architecture, gray and austere but with an odd sort of formal empire-like ambiance.) People are very pleasant, the women are beautiful, the food is good and, really, what else do you need? I may settle down here eventually, but for now it's hit and run back to NYC--I arrived Saturday at noon and I'll be on an 11 am flight out on Monday. Sayonara, Vilnius and as they say here, AChoo ("thanks" although probably not spelled that way.)