Photos of me at the show
Wow! What a great show! I had a fantastic time in the Big Apple.
I arrived at JFK at 6am Tuesday morning, and drove to my friend's home in New Jersey, right across the GWB. I spent the morning reviewing the music for the show, and periodically passing out on the sofa from exhaustion having taken a red-eye flight with a stopover in Vegas. Later that evening I drove into Manhattan, struggled to find a parking space, and went into rehearsal. When I lived in NYC, I never did gigs, so I never took equipment around, and therefore only took the subway when I needed to go midtown. For this show, I had to take my keyboard, and had no intention of lugging that thing around on the subway! It's nearly as big as me! lol Suffice it to say, I was utterly shocked at the pricing for parking. Wow!
At the rehearsal, I met the rest of the band: Of course, my girl Tilly and Tim, the man; Luciana Padmore, drums; Zaid Shukri, bass; Richard Padron, guitar; Nabate, trumpet; Orlando and Allakoi, percussion. All of the musicians are incredibly talented and great people. I had such a wonderful time meeting, playing with and getting to know them all.
On Wednesday, I went to the Ouidad Hair Salon and got my "hair did". Afterwards, I met my friend Elaine, who recently relocated to NYC, at the famous Aquavit restaurant. I had the prix-fixe lunch of Cauliflower soup w/ croutons, olives & capers, Hot Smoked Salmon with Celeriac puree, asparagus salad, and apple-horseradish broth, and the signature dessert, Arctic Circle: goat cheese parfait, blueberry sorbet, and honey tuile. All quite amazing.
Wednesday night was the gig at The Cutting Room . I showed up early for the sound check and was able to park in a free legal spot after 6pm (a rarity in NYC). Right before the show, I needed to run to the car and get something and had a wonderful moment of Divine intervention. After I picked up the item from the car, I quickly turned to get back onstage since showtime was fast approaching, but a little voice told me to "stop and turn around right now". Normally, I would have ignored the voice and said to myself "I'll deal with whatever it is later". Well, this time I chose not to ignore it. I turned around and noticed that mine was the only car parked on that side of the street while the other side of the street was packed with cars! Clearly a problem! I walked about 20 feet forward so I could read the sign on my side of the street, and in small print it stated "no parking between 11pm and 2am". Can you believe that? However, without panicking, I looked up and down the street, and by a miracle there was only ONE spot available on the entire block; a spot exactly parallel to where I was parked. I quickly moved the car and said counted my blessings! If I hadn't taken the moment to become aware of the situation, not only would I have been ticketed, but most likely towed! I would have been out of probably $400! If that isn't Divine Intervention, I don't know what else to call it!
With that bit of wind behind my back, I skipped back inside The Cutting Room, and went on stage to do the show with Tilly. The energy and musicality were incredible. In fact, you can hear clips of the performance on Tilly's live myspace profile: Tilly Key Live. Tilly is such an incredible performer, and the audience loved us! I can't wait to perform once everyone has had a chance to really learn the music and get a feel for each other's playing. It was a very free, loving musical environment. Tilly allowed us all to be partially improvisational and to contribute to the overall vibe, which was wonderful. I always enjoy being able to organically create music. Structure is fun too (obviously, as I'm a classical pianist), but I also truly enjoy musical freedom, and love when artists have the confidence and security in their own performance to allow it from others. Tilly's talent and musical confidence make her a joy to play with and for.
After the show, a bunch of us went to Cafeteria Restaurant for a late night dinner and energized conversation. I didn't get to bed until nearly 4am. It was a blast! I haven't been out that late in ages! lol
Thursday was my last day in NYC. I slept late and didn't get out of bed until around 1:30pm. I got dressed and headed into the city to West 57th Street, home of Carnegie Hall. Across the street from Carnegie is Steinway Hall. I walked in, was greeted by the staff somewhat coldly, and asked about playing a piano. The young man at the front desk informed me that the public can access pianos on the ground floor for about 5 minutes at a time. I signed in and walked to the rooms that he pointed me towards. Inside, I found a series of very nice, but small pianos: nothing but baby grands. Yeah, those are nice, but I wanted a CONCERT GRAND and nothing less! : ) So, I walked back to the front and asked about their 9 foot concert grands. I think that let them know that I was serious. A salesman walked over, introduced himself and took me up the elevator to the next level where they kept the "real" pianos. He pointed me towards a row of concert grands and stood back as I started to play. I began by playing a Rachmaninoff Etude from the Etudes Tableaux. Upon hearing me, the salesman excused himself and shut the door behind him! I must have played for over an hour! I would have gone longer except that I had it on my agenda to visit Central Park. I thanked the people at Steinway, who insisted I let them know who I was, and walked towards the park...only to find another piano store with more concert grands! I'm such a sucker for a beautiful piano. Same procedure, but this time on a Shigeru Kawai. Lovely piano, but I'm still Steinway biased. At the next store, I played a Fazioli, but it wasn't as nice as the one I've played in San Francisco. In all, I spent my 4 hours that I was supposed to be touring the city inside of piano stores. Oops! No Central Park, no Ground Zero, no Harlem. Next time! lol
After my piano-gasm, I walked to Le Bernardin, known to be the premiere seafood restaurant in the country, changed clothes in their bathroom (I had to look gorgeous for my night out of course), and had dinner. I ordered the Le Bernardin Tasting menu, pricey at $130 per person - but worth every cent. Here's what I ate:
Amouse Bouche of poached lobster in Watermelon Soup. My eyes closed and rolled back in my head. I could barely contain myself...
I was also offered complimentary glass of Gosset Champagne. I tried a few sips...and I still can't stand the taste of alcohol. Oh well! As for Champagne though, it was better than others I've tried.
Layers of Thinly Pounded Yellowfin Tuna, Foie Gras and Toasted Baguette, Shaved Chives and Extra Virgin Olive Oli
This was the most amazing tuna dish I've ever had (and I've eaten the extraordinary Tuna Tartare at Michael Mina in San Francisco, so I know good tuna!). I have never before eaten foie gras and enjoyed it, but this I adored!
Grilled Salted Cod Salad; Avocado, Romaine, Aged Jerez Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Light and delicious.
SOFT SHELL CRAB
Crispy Soft Shell Crab on a Bed of Jumbo Lump Crab Meat in a Fragrant Coconut-Lime Broth
I would eat this everyday if I could. Unbelievably delicious.
Poached Halibut, Sweet and Sour Golden and Red Beets, Citrus and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion
Baked Lobster; Braised Endives, Enoki and Black Trumpets; Bourbon-Black Pepper Sauce
Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Lemon Basil Gelée, Rhubarb Citrus Compote
If it weren't considered disgusting to lick the bowl...
CHOCOLATE CASHEW TART
Dark Chocolate, Cashew and Caramel Tart, Red Wine Reduction, Banana and Malted Rum Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Super rich and delicious.
The meal was finished off by a series of petit fours, which I could barely finish, but did, because I was so full.
The service was excellent, all except for at the end when I was charged for a glass of Champage ($19) and it took a full 5 minutes for the waiter to understand that I didn't order Champagne. I think he should have offered me a discount for the stress of feeling like he was trying to pressure me into paying for the complimentary Champagne I barely sipped. But otherwise, I HIGHLY recommend this place.
After dinner, I went to see The Color Purple at the Broadway Theater. I had an EXCELLENT seat! Right in the orchestra center. I could see and hear everything perfectly. The story, as you all know, is fantastic, and the performers and music were wonderful. The singing and dancing made me want to jump up and sing along! I absolutely loved it! After the show, my friend Kemba, a phenomenal dancer, took me backstage so I could meet the cast. What beautiful amazing people! I just love performers!
In all, I had an excellent trip. I stayed with a dear friend, her husband and their beautiful children, got to spend a little bit of time in my old stomping grounds, and got to make music! Can't beat that!