The Water Tastes Different Over There

Back in March, I had the pleasure of heading over to Indianapolis for a few days to play as a guest soloist at a music convention, along with two brilliant classical musicians, Wonki Lee, a saxophonist based in NYC, and Sam Almaguer, a clarinetist currently in the Masters program at Rice University. Last week, Vandoren sponsored another trip for the three of us—this time, to travel to Paris to visit the Vandoren offices at 56 Rue Lepic in Montmartre, as well as to visit the Selmer and Buffet factories in Mantes la Jolie (they're right down the street from one another). I also had the distinct pleasure of playing my first gig outside of the US; I performed at Sunside Jazz Club as part of an "Hommage à John Coltrane," which was a nice excuse to learn some lesser-played repertoire and get some Trane out of my system, which I thought of as a necessary form of jazz catharsis. It was astonishing to me how many people—of all ages, with a fairly balanced gender ratio—came out on a Monday night to hear live music; maybe it had something to do with the thematic/conceptual edge to the concert, but I wish crowds would turn out in the US for live jazz as they seemed to do that one night in Paris (disregarding the obvious issue of sampling error, it was still pretty surprising/infuriating, even if it was a fluke).

Quick shout-out to everybody who made it possible and made me get over my prejudices about the idea of being an American in Paris—esp., our fearless leader David Gould from Vandoren USA; Vincent Kerherve at Vandoren FR who put up with my neurotic equipment fiddling at the office; Jean-Marie Paul, who made it a hang plus took some great photos at the gig; Phoebe, who serenaded us at the Saint Jean-Paul night after night; and the swinging musicians at the gig—Michael Cheret, Frederic Nardin, Philippe Soirat, and Simon Tailleu—and, of course, Sam, Wonki, and Jihye for the hang: mille fois merci!

View from Sacré-Coeur

Vandoren, Vandoren, Vandoren

2013 Vandoren Emerging Artists (left to right): Sam Almageur, Kevin Sun, Wonki Lee

Bonus: catching Mark Turner + Joshua Redman at Salle Pleyel

At l'Opéra Garnier

Copper Senza alto saxophones by Buffet
A saxophone nerd's dream come true


  1. You played great ! Sincerely involved in every note.played with your heart ,it's the only good way .pleasure to play with you .Michael Cheret.


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