Honestly, Gregory Porter, Nate Smith & Kinfolk, Herlin Riley, Jazzmeia Horn were all kinda...


August 4th, 2018 10:42am

My wife and I take this trip every year to the Newport Jazz Festival and it’s something I think all jazzers should experience. 
I happen to be a big jazz fan. 
I’d sooner lose my mind meeting Pat Metheny or Roy Hargrove than I would meeting Wiz Khalifa or Bruno Mars. 
My heart is in Jazz. I love most of the many branches of jazz, except ragtime(although I respect it a great deal.)
The festival is in Fort Adams Park. Most people bring lawn chairs.  Some people even have a camp like set up with tents and all. First up was Roy Hargrove, trumpet player. I have to tell you all, he blew my mind. I’ve watched and enjoyed Roy’s career since the 90’s. And to see this dude on stage here at the Newport Jazz Festival is absolutely amazing. I was almost emotional. What I loved about his performance is this:
I know, first hand, that doing music for a living(full time) is a hard dollar to make. And it’s extremely hard to do it independently. It looks good to onlookers. But there’s some major sacrifices that are made. It’s a struggle. Roy is looking extremely stylish. His chops are impeccable. And he did a song that almost made me cry. It’s called “Top Of My Head”. And check this out, he sang! I’ve never heard Roy sing. But he sang the simplest lyric ever. “From the top of my head to the soles of my feet I am blessed. I am covered in the blood.” Implying that he is covered in the blood of Jesus. It’s a term that means he believes and accepts that Jesus died for the redemption of mankind. All over a real jazz sound. I LOVE THIS MOMENT!!! He makes Jazz look attractive. 

There was some rain but it wasn’t bad. 
I took the liberty to check out some of the vendors. And it looks like the Mecca of Jazz Art. There’s many artist that have tents with their works for sale. Coasters, Lamps made out of real instruments, dolls, sculptures made out of wire, hats, scarves, dresses, Shea butter with different scents, henna, musical instruments, pillows, music from the artist performing, it was an insane stroll to say the least. Not to
mention, everyone here loves Jazz. 
Pat Metheny is up next. Pat is one of my super heroes. And I can’t wait to see him do his thing. But the sky is looking a little darker. No real rain though. 
When Pat hit the stage everyone got excited. I can feel the electricity in the air. 
He did some of his classic tunes like “James” and “Minuano”. But by the 4th song the rain started to come down hard. By the 5th song, it was coming down so hard that people started leaving. There was even a flood in the park. I’d say maybe 5-6 inches of water in some areas. Up to the ankle. We were soaked entirely. Gloria was troopin it for me, because she knows I love this music and these artist so much. But y’all should have seen her sitting in a lawn chair with the umbrella covering her entirely as the pouring rain found its way pass the weakening umbrella to her lovely green dress, and down her back. It was really something to see. And when the pouring rain turned into a really hard torrential wild out, the crowd cheered as if to say “BRING IT ON!!!!!” I was in heaven. But it was crazy. We left. We’ll be back tomorrow though. 

August 5th 2018 10:32am

Random thought. Do you realize we have no idea what president Abraham Lincoln’s voice sounded like. There’s no recordings of his voice. We see pictures and all but I wonder did he have a really high voice or not. LOL. What if he sounded like a girl. 

One thing I noticed about this festival is that people are unusually friendly. But that would make sense because everybody is a jazzer, and jazzers are usually lovely people. 
 Unlike yesterday the sun is out and there’s no shade anywhere. As a matter of fact the sun is really really Hot. This can’t be healthy. I believe in enjoying the sun. But this is not at all good. I’m considering removing my shirt. And I don’t care how uncomfortable my half naked body may make people feel. Im serious. LOL.


I’m still here. About 10 shades darker than my darkest tan. But I’m very happy. I’ve not had the best week or month for that matter. And this music did me so much good. For those of you reading this, understand that music is the voice of God. And it heals and mends broken hearts. And I fortunate enough to meet one of the most important people in American Jazz History. George Wein. The founder of The Newport Jazz Festival. That means he knew Miles, Dizzy, Nina, Trane, Sun-Ra, Abbey. I felt slightly emotional.


Firstly Herlin Riley and his band gave us some good old fashioned butt kicking jazz. His band was beautiful. There was a Cuban dude(whose name escapes me) on percussion with Herlin on drums making us all go crazy. At one point Herlin got off the drums and played the tambourine. It was very exciting. I learned something watching him. It’s better to have amazing players in the band. Players that people not only want to hear, but want to watch!! 
I took a stroll to check out the venue and heard somebody singing their head off on one of the stages. The closer I got, the faster I walked. 
Jazmeia Horn was on stage representing everything beautiful. In one of her songs she had the crowd sing with her. “I love myself, I love myself, I love the skin I’m in.” And boy can she sing. This girl is very very special. Out of all the new talent I’ve seen this year, this woman by far is the best. Jazz/Church/Africanism wrapped up in one. Think Kim Burrell, Nneena Freelon, and Erykah Badu all in one. Wow. 
We walked over to the other stage to see Nate Smith and Kinfolk and we bumped into Amma Whatt!! 
Amma is a friend/singer whom I had no idea was performing with him. It was good to see her. And when she sang, I was really touched. I’ve not heard her sing live. She was really good. Nate and his band were so well rehearsed. Nate is a drummer and his songs sound like he wrote them. LOL!!! All of these sick time signatures and off beats and craziness. I loved every song. Nate is also a very good band leader. He directed the band from the drums with his eyes. Amazing. 

Lastly, it was Gregory Porter time!
Who doesn’t love and adore Gregory Porter. The guy introducing Gregory said that he’s a man that when he speaks you can feel his beautiful spirit through the conversation. Gloria loves Greg. It was nice to see her so happy. His band was very tight. 
We saw a woman being escorted by some dude through the walkway.
To make a long story short I think she was very drunk. That was sad. And the real gangster part of that moment was that when the woman finally passed out and the paramedics came, the dude that had been with her since the beginning of the concert, left!! He left her!!!! It was as though he didn’t want to be seen with her. It was bizarre. 
Anyway. Thanks for reading. 



July 6th 2018 8:21PM
I’m on the plane. 
I go to the bathroom to blow my nose. Allergy season is killing us all. I blow my nose and walk out of the bathroom. No harm no foul, right? Well.. My tee shirt is booger green. The same color of my snot!! I didn’t at all see that I just blew a snot rocket right on to my shirt! Who knew? I was walking around with a small yet thick line of snot on my shirt!! Almost cigarette sized.
Holy Crap!! This trip is going to be amazing!!!! Yay Italy! 🇮🇹 
When one is on the plane, there’s no way of telling who farted. So everyone is in their chair, either sleeping or watching a movie. They can actually fart and keep watching. No one will know who farted. I think there’s something to be said about different regions with respect to farts. What I mean to say is that people from Africa, China, Italy, America, or where ever, must have different smelling farts. It must be different because we all don’t eat the same way. This fart I’m smelling now has such an aftersmell to it. Kinda nutty and spicy. It’s as though someone was eating stale Sugar Smacks mixed with curry and urine. And it’s thick. I ain’t lying y’all. This is toxic. And we have at least another 5 hours to go. This is the second fart. I know y’all are thinking that I’m disgusting. But I’m just sharing what’s happening on this trip. Why isn’t anybody reacting. I know I’m not the only one that can smell this. It’s so strong and authoritative. Nobody seems to mind. Some people are actually sleeping through it. 

July 7th 2018 7:37PM

I’ve been here for a while. Everything so far is beautiful. As festivals go, the usual “I don’t know what’s happening right now” thing is going on. But it’s to be expected. The Promotor has so many artist and DJ’s they have to attend to, something is bound to be behind schedule or really late. Something is missing or something is wrong. That’s the nature of festivals. But so far I’m feeling confident that everything will be fine. 
I just got a wake up call and I’m guessing that means I should get up and get dressed. LOL!!

July 9th 9:22AM

So. A lot has happened since the last note. I went to the Kappa festival and upon arrival, I could immediately tell that the production was in the millions. 
This is surely going to be bananas!
All of the equipment, lights, smoke machines, and gadgets everywhere is almost intimidating. Just so you all are aware, I’m a guest of Body & Soul. Joaquin “Joe” Claussell invited me to be a part of their gig here. It’s always my pleasure to work with people that I admire. And so I’m here. It wasn’t long after I arrived that I was on stage. The people enjoyed me. I really enjoyed myself. Danny Krivit, Francois K., and Joe were all really Dope! 
It was fun. I noticed, however, that a lot of the people, although they enjoyed me, did not know my music. After the show, many people were asking me “What is your name?” And “How long have you been singing with Body & Soul?”  
I love introducing myself musically to people. Especially if they dig it. I feel grateful. 

Random thought: Do they still make Slinky’s. I always wanted one as a kid. 

My gig was on Saturday. Yesterday(Sunday), I was invited back to the festival to hang out with GiGi, one of the partners. I felt honored. When I arrived he took me to the “Main” stage. 
Now if I may, allow me to speak from the heart for a sec. 
Part of me felt a little sensitive. FatBoy Slim was on stage KILLING his set. People were screaming. Jumping up and down, losing their minds. Some people were being carried out on stretchers. The main stage was huge. There was a digital screen in the background and it showed well produced clips of different icons. They showed Frankie Knuckles, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the like. 
At least 20-30 thousand people were standing in front of that stage.

It was one of the most exciting moments of the trip. Electricity was in the air. 
The style of music was hard sounding. Kinda like Big Beat, or Acid House. 
You can imagine the sound system. It was like an earthquake. My mind kept thinking, how do we get our soulful brand of music up to this level? HOW?? 
I’m wondering if my expectations are too high. 
We walked over to another stage to see the legendary Derrick May. One of the founders of Techno!
He was KILLING his set. Dude had complete control over the crowd.

He was very very good. I wanted to shake his hand. I’ve never met him. I know people that know him. But we’ve never met. The problem at the moment is, he’s busy. LOL
Dude was working all kinds of knobs and buttons. 
When I finally dug up the nerve to interrupt him as he played for maybe 4-5 thousand screaming people, he shook my hand and said “ I KNOW YOU!!”
I thought I was going to faint. I really dug the music. Techno can definitely be soulful. Really soulful. Really really soulful. I was open. 
Later on The great Larry Heard was on the stage that I was on the night before. 
For me this was a moment. Some people say that Larry is the founder of House Music. He certainly is one of the few pioneers of House music without question. His set was very interesting. It was more like a performance of his jams. And the tempo was very slow. Maybe 120 BPM, for at least an hour. That was bold. And the people were into it. Dancing and throwing up the heart sign to him. He brought a vocalist along. I don’t know the guys name. But they were an excellent team. The music sounded like old school Chicago mixed with some new elements. Very interesting stuff. Larry sang too!! 


This is my last night here. Gigi(the Promotor) invited me out for dinner with his lovely wife and child, and Junior who is his business partner and friend. 
A lot of the DJ’s, staff and friends were there. Derrick May came through and that for me was kinda nice. 
GiGi and Junior must come to this restaurant often enough to know the owner on a first name bases. I think they bought the restaurant for the night. The place had a boss wine selection. We opened at least 10-15 bottles of wine easy! Keep in mind, we’re in Italy. This is not a game people. This is the real deal Holyfield. Italy! They have wine here!! 
And I knew upon the first sip that my wine palate is slightly immature. I knew I was way out of my league on the first sip!! Do you hear me? This wine was made by God himself. This isn’t anything you’ll fine at Buy-Rite or Home Liquors. This was sent down to earth by a cherubim who got it from the angel Gabriel, who got it from God. This, my brothers and sisters, is wine. 
And we drank. And we drank some more. And again. 
They served fried sardines. 
Lawd, I thought I’d faint when I tasted these fried sardines. Man, they were so good. The right amount of crunch and salt on a bite sized sardine, which in and of itself is different. If it had been cod, whiting or even salmon, it wouldn’t have hit me like this sardine did. The taste!! 
There was all sorts of meats, freshly cut! I watched the guy cut the meats and serve them. I had A fatty type of Prosciutto, fresh Salami, Beef Carpaccio, fried Chickpeas, flash fried peppers with sea salt sprinkled on them.  The food was served almost Tapas style. A lot of small dishes were passed around the table and we ate as we pleased. But the main course was the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted on earf!
Lawd, I thought maybe they just killed the thing in the back yard. But GiGi mentioned that this lamb was raised in a region that has soft grass. And the lambs are fed organic food. So they produce the finest meat. 
Well whatsonever it was, it was so so very good. I had to shake everyone’s hand that was involved. These guys are young. One of the Promotor’s is younger than me. I admire these men. The production of this festival is very huge. This is not a club. This is not a party on the boat. This is a festival that I later learned had about 40 thousand people attending. This takes a lot of leadership skills. One MUST know business. These guys are so humble and beautiful that I wouldn’t have gotten the impression that I’m having dinner with the owners and founders of such a large production. Usually, men and women that do things on such a large scale are kinda untouchable. But these guys were extremely down to earth. Level headed. I felt respect from everyone involved. I owe a humongous thank you to Joaquin “Joe” Claussell for inviting me to join him on Body & Soul’s stage to do my thing. What a generous offer. I’m grateful everyone. So grateful. 
Gotta get back home and get back to the studio. We’ve got so much music coming, I have to prepare for it all. 

July 10th 2018 9:52AM

There must be a sale on children’s tickets. Because once again, for what maybe the third time this year, I’m on a plane with a bunch of children!! There’s this one kid who just won’t shut up.  He talks loud and his voice is squeaky. It’s like a kitten boiling in water. And he’s mannish. Almost bossy. He can’t be but 7 years old. As I listen to him go on and on, talking endlessly, I imagined myself pouring hot boiling oil down his back. He’s wearing glasses and one of those face guard things people wear to protect themselves from the germs floating in the air. It’s attached by an elastic band that goes around the head. I wanted to pull the face guard way back and let it snap back really hard on the kids face. He’s just talking loud in the whiney high pitched annoying voice. I can’t stand this kid. And his parents are even worse. They don’t seem to care. Ugggghhhhhh.. Anyway. Dope trip. Thanks for listening. 

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