I’ve been meaning to post this since last year, but apparently that didn’t happen haha. I wanted to travel every month in 2017, and I planned to explore Strawberry, AZ in January, but I’ve been extremely busy with work… I was thinking about my trip to Rhode Island, and I decided to finish up this post today!
If you’re a jazz fan, and if you happen to play piano, you SHOULD know this name, Chick Corea, along with Bill Evans and many others. He’s a living legend and one of the masters in jazz/Latin jazz/fusion/whatever you name it. He’s known as the leader of Return to Forever – with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White (sometimes other musicians like Al Di Meola, Frank Gambale, Jean-Luc Ponty…), and that’s the first record of Chick Corea, Light As A Feather (which should be the must-have album and Chick totally plays his keys as light as a feather!). I’ve exposed my ears to his recordings slowly, and one of my absolute favorite albums is Friends (the album cover features Smurfs haha), featuring Eddie Gomez on bass, Joe Farrell on sax and Steve Gadd on drums. I had a chance to see Eddie Gomez with Chick last year in San Francisco, I even purchased the tickets for the show and the flight, but I couldn’t make it… I hope they will tour more in 2017 so I can catch them..! Anyways. Chick was in Scottsdale, AZ in October 2014. He was having a solo piano concert, and of course, I purchased my ticket, second row from the stage! I was sipping Stella with a straw and he was looking for a pianist in the audience so he can have a mini jam session! Even before he finished asking “is there any pianists in the audience?”, I raised my hand up high and he picked me!!! So I had a great, amazing, dreamy, and unbelievable duet with Chick on stage that day!! 3-4 minutes of improvisation with the legendary jazz pianist totally changed my life!! I still can’t believe that happened, and I am literally the luckiest girl in the entire universe!!!! 😀
So then, in 2016, I heard that he would be performing at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, RI. I went to NJF in 2015, and really loved it, so I made it back in 2016! (I’ve already bought tickets for this year as well, and I can’t wait to see the lineup!) I planned this trip to be my East Coast trip, visiting NYC, Boston, and Newport. I have a good friend living in Manhattan, and he was so kind to let me stay at his place! We went to Blue Note to see Hiromi perform (I believe I wrote a post about this), which was great, and then I stayed with another friend of mine in Boston. In 2016, I only bought the pass for Saturday, the day when Chick performed with Christian McBride and Brian Blade. Since Rhode Island is very close from Boston, I decided to take a train to Providence, RI, and take a bus to Newport from Providence. I woke up super early to catch the train from Boston, and it only took about 45 minutes to get to Providence! I think my family took Amtrak when we came to the East Coast when I was very little, but the train was very clean, quiet and convenient! From Providence to Newport, it took me a little more than an hour by bus, and the bus was very shaky.. It was pretty around Rhode Island, and thankfully, I didn’t get any motion sickness while I was on the bus!
Once I got to Newport, I rented a bike. Newport is a cute little city, so you could walk around, but from the bus station to Fort Adams Park, it’s quite a lot of walking… And biking around this beautiful city was very refreshing! In 2015, I had breakfast at this restaurant called Corner Cafe. I wanted to try somewhere else new, but I accidentally biked further so I was close to this restaurant, so I decided to just have brunch here. Their food is really really really amazing!! I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in Newport. This year, I’m definitely going to try a new restaurant, I think there was a restaurant called Rosemary? I will have to look, but I remember seeing really good reviews!
After having a great meal, I headed to the Fort Adams State Park, where NJF is held every year. The traffic was really crazy, so it was a smart choice to rent a bike and bike there. I wish I had my bike with me, though, because that beach cruiser I rented wasn’t very nice… But I totally enjoyed biking around, and I really loved the breeze! It was very humid – coming from Arizona, where humidity barely exists, I was sweating a lot, but the temperature was pretty low, so I could deal with it. Hopefully this year, I will get a better bike to bike around Newport! I want to bike around the entire city this time when I go!
It’s kinda irony how I love the ocean so much when I can’t swim and I don’t like going into the water, but just being there really healed my mind. On top of that, I was surrounded by a lot of people who share the same musical interest, and talking about jazz all day was really fun! A lot of people bring their portable chair to the festival so they can just sit on the ground, but since I’m by myself, I can always find a small corner or space to squeeze in and see the show really close from the stage! I will have to bring like a beach towel and lots of sunscreen this year…
Chick’s performance was so amazing as usual, and one hour passed by so so quickly. They started with 500 Miles High, played All Blues, Recordame, and Fingerprints (Footprints by Wayne Shorter, but Chick calls his version Fingerprints). Chick Corea and Hiromi, I’ve seen their live shows multiple times, but it’s never enough, because every show is so unique and amazing. I hope to see them live this year again!
Another show that I really enjoyed was Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express! Monty Alexander was in Tempe, AZ in February 2016, and I really enjoyed his show! He is a master of transposing keys, has a great sense of humor, and the way he reharmonizes is just so beautiful! I was looking forward to his performance at the NJF, and it was surely fantastic! It was a lot of fun, groovy, and awesome vibes! I would totally want to see him again in the near future!!
This day in Newport is probably one of my favorite days, and I can’t wait to be back!! I hope I will get to see a lot of artists I love and discover new artists this year! (: