the shortest drive we’ve had so far was from boston to portland / brunswick. after getting through the maze of boston streets on a tobacco run for the smokers, we headed up to the farthest eastern point of the tour. the portland area is quite nice in the summer – the second time for me being up that way. keefe set up a date in Brunswick – a small town with a organization that brings in a good variety of jazz music. we got in a few hours early and had time to take our time finding something to eat. the concert was at the pleasant street arts center and we played two sets. i was a bit concerned with the crowd that came up – an older demographic, i thought they might bail after the first set – but they really stuck through it – and enjoyed it. we stayed at keefe’s old friend john’s place who he first met in arkansas at the age of 14. apparently keefe came up to john, a bassist, on the street and asked him if he could play with him. a few years later they both moved to portland, keefe moving back to arkansas before going up to chicago. john lives in a nicely maintained apartment style home with a view of the back bay of portland. too bad we didn’t have more time to stay.
the next day was a long drive to philadelphia. in order to avoid traffic we took a route around the whole new york city / i-95 in new jersey corridor. though it took us a good solid 9 hours we weren’t stuck in traffic. the date was at a space in south philly on broad street and produced by bowerbird. there were three sets. first set was shot by shot, a local young quartet with tenor and alto, bass and drums. their music was heartfelt and i really liked how they made music together. jack wright played a set with Michael Johnsen from Pittsburgh, who played some analog electronics and free improvised saw. as always, a solid set of extended sonic techniques from Jack. our set moved along quickly – band theme, big news, looking, easy, arbitrary lane change, pax urbanum, and blackout. the space was a nice big gallery space with large windows from which you could see the twin towers of philadelphia. there was a good sized young audience that was a good listening crowd. afterwards we went to jack’s place where we were all staying and hung out pretty late with the philly crew. a good time – john and dan made us eggs and potatoes in the morning before we got on the road to charlotte.