Day 5: Wednesday, July 8

The band took over the hotel and the saxophone, trumpet, and trombone sections met in different rooms and rehearsed . . . loudly! starting at 10:30 a.m. It was not a large hotel, but other music groups were also housed here, including popular Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Also, Bobby Byrd with guest trombonist Fred Wesley from James Brown's famous 1960s band, The JBs. Bobby co-composed James's famous opus Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt. 1.

The PWBB traveled to a midafternoon soundcheck that would also serve as a rehearsal for some of Phil's new arrangements. Arriving right on time as per the contract, the band ascended the portable stage to find that nothing was set up. The sound people were, however, operating a keyboard (that had a terrible layered sound) through the large sound system that reminded us children of the '60s of preparations for a concert by The Who, documented at one time as being the loudest rock band in the world. You know, the late 1970s type of concerts where people got trampled to death in concrete coliseums. After some sincere, appropriate expletives on the part of the performers and mention that three pages of stage setup information had been sent to the site from Phil Woods Enterprises months ago, one stage crew member sprung into action! The band smelled a long interval of time and immediately scattered into dozens of directions to exchange salary for Swiss francs and to shop. Forty-five minutes later we started a severely shortened rehearsal/soundcheck. Midway through the rehearsal one of the stage crew members slammed a forklift into the stage. I, being a caring partner, turned to my section mates and asked: "Did the stage move for you, dears?" Dinner was back at the hotel outside on the lakeshore. Jordi and Phil were telling stories about encounters with Duke Ellington and Stéphane Grappelli. Fascinating! Also, Bill Charlap and Steve Gilmore made first mention of "Bow Tie," a remarkable singer of whom they possess a tape recording. We were interested in hearing this person, but Bill and Steve made us wait.

Returning to the concert site, the Roy Haynes Trio was performing and the overflow crowd of 3,000 was responding. The performance was broadcast over Swiss National Radio. The 20th Lugano Jazz Festival ran seven days and had 10 major sponsors. Admission was free and this audience heard the PWBB deliver top-of-the-line artistic statements, which was the way the entire tour would go. It wasn't just some nights. It was every time the band performed. The consistency was amazing! Upon returning to the hotel, the moonlight reflecting over Lake Lugano was striking.

 
 

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