I had quite a year on the road in 2008
POSTED: February 26, 2009

I had quite a year on the road in 2008.

My band (Matt Fries, Keith Hall, Cliff Schmitt and John Sneider) and I performed at Hampton Court Palace (Henry the VIII’s summer palace) with British jazz royalty:  Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth.  We did two concert hall and festival tours of Germany.  We also played in Paris, Vienna, Norway, Denmark and Northern Ireland.  We returned to three legendary jazz clubs:  London’s Ronnie Scott’s, The Copenhagen Jazz House, and The Blue Note in New York City.  In the US we played Annapolis, Boston, Boise, Hartford, Vail, Denver and several dates in North Carolina.

I did some shows without my band as well.  I sang in Dublin with the RTE Concert Orchestra.  I performed in a concert of John Lennon songs with The Liverpool Philharmonic and jazz singer Claire Martin and actor/singer Mark McGann.  I appeared in Berlin in an open-air orchestral concert with trumpet star Til Bronner, The New York Voices and superstar baritone, Thomas Quastoff.  I sang a song at an all-star 75th birthday concert for Quincy Jones at the Montreux Jazz Festival, rubbing elbows with Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, James Moody, Mick Hucknall, Nana Mouskouri, Herbie Hancock, Petula Clark, Billy Cobham, Lee Ritenour, Joe Sample, Toots Thielemans, and more.

At home in Idaho I did my best to be a good citizen.  I played at a fundraiser for a great environmental group called the Idaho Conservation League, with my good friends and collaborators, Bill Coffey and Ned Evett.  I produced and performed a solo acoustic concert to benefit The Ada County Democrats and raised over $20,000 to fund their Get Out The Vote initiative.  We even managed to send an Idaho Democrat to Congress, for the first time in decades.  And, for the third year in a row, I co-produced The Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza, a rollicking, anything-goes holiday variety show with an all-star cast of Idaho’s finest musicians, comedians and dancers, all to raise funds for Interfaith Sanctuary, a Boise shelter for the homeless.  We raised nearly $20,000 and boosted awareness and volunteer support for the shelter.

Then I slept.  And slept.

When I awoke I got back to work on my next record.  I’ve been writing songs, working on arrangements and planning the recording.  I expect the new album will be out by early Autumn.  (OK, I’ve been doing a lot of skiing, too.)