We met up with our next road manager Billy Hoogstraaten from Amsterdam. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and 20 years of experience guiding jazz groups through Europe. This guy was a real people person and really knew what he was doing. We rode back to Amsterdam and flew to Oslo. Going through the metal detector, something on my person set off the alarm. Steve Gilmore followed me and also set it a-ringin'. We were both subjected to an enthusiastic, intimate, lingering search. I know that they're just doing their job, but wouldn't etiquette warrant that they at least take us to a movie and buy us dinner first? (Days later, after several more airport security trysts, I was to eventually conclude that my belt buckle was the culprit.)
Flying from Oslo to Molde included spectacular views of fjords and large cruise ships. We arrived in the town of Molde, population 25,000. For this jazz festival, the town swells to 80,000 and volunteers camp in tents outside of town. Our hotel overlooked the harbor with snow-covered mountains in the background and impressive cruise ships pulled up in front of the hotel. Phil was sitting on the balcony, ecstatically looking out at the water, islands, and mountains with his Norwegian friend of 30 years, Anton Rasmussen. They invited George Robert and me to sit down and have a Norwegian beer with their friend Herbie Hancock. George asked Herbie about his musical soundtrack to the 1967 Michelangelo Antonioni film Blow Up that featured Phil's saxophone performance, and Herbie was forthcoming with lots of private information as to how he made that project fly. Don't worry Herbie, your secrets are safe with the Gappers! Hang rating: 10.
About 400 people paid $21 to hear the band in the club in the basement of the hotel that night and the next night. The six-day Molde Jazz Festival has a few dozen sponsors led by Mobil oil. As the band was announced by a gentleman speaking Norwegian, it was entertaining to hear his only English words: "Grandma's Soup!" Uncle Dickie Cone was probably smiling down at Molde. Another source of entertainment for the band throughout the tour was that no matter what language the emcee was speaking to introduce the band each night, the final words sounded the same: Pheel Woods Beeg Bond! Because of its northern latitude, Molde stayed in daylight until well after midnight. Many festival attendees stayed up all night as part of this Norwegian celebration (ah, the never-ending quest for a great hang!). The sun rose and blazed back into the room around 3:30 a.m.