Sometimes the most valuable player at a gig isn’t even onstage. While we were on tour in Vermont this summer, we were blessed to have a young man, Dyllan, in charge of locating, transporting and setting up our back line for every gig. He was on site before we were, and he had nearly unlimited energy for getting drums, amps and keyboards on stage. After our gig in Greensboro was finished, it was absolutely pouring outside, and we dreaded having to mush through the muck to our cars. But it turned out that wasn’t necessary–Dyllan had already moved all the vehicles that needed to be moved and was quickly striking the set and bounding off the stage, brutally heavy amps in hand. Not once did we have to ask for help. He was a step ahead of us with all the help we needed. We hear he’s a talented bassist, so he may well have roadies of his own soon. Our wish for him is that they’ll have his same great energy and healthy knees.
Jazz seems to thrive in cities, and though we long ago abandoned the strictures of being just a “jazz band,” we still think of ourselves as urban creatures. Our Vermont tour this month challenged that. In the Green Mountain State, we found dirt roads, lakes, and fresh air—and of virtually no cellphone reception to remind us of big-city pressures. What a change! What a blessing! We played to tents and clubs full of Vermonters wearing overalls and Birkenstocks. We ate fantastic local cheese and drank Hill Farmstead beer. We slept under homemade quilts. And after we played the Village Green in Greensboro, we got recognized at Willey’s, the deli-hardware-gun-fishing-tackle-and-tractor-supply store. At the end of the tour, we six city slickers all agreed: we can’t wait to go back to Vermont.