Notes from the Road – PWA Trio, August 2014

Notes from the Road – PWA Trio, August 2014

              Last month, my brother Peter and I toured the American Northwest, accompanied by our good friend and guitarist Alex Wintz, who rounds out the trio.  In Oregon we made it to Eugene, Lincoln City, and Portland, and in Washington, we performed in Seattle and North Bend.  Each city was completely unique, and rendered a completely different experience.  We hit these cities at a time when the weather was perfect – not a cloud or drop of rain was spotted in eight days during our tour!  

              The first stop was Eugene, where had a very warm and enthusiastic reception in response to our music.  After the show, we found downtown Eugene flooded with college students (Eugene is home to no less than six Colleges, including the University of Oregon).  We noticed that we were getting some very strange looks and comments, as if we came from another planet.  Why was this?  And then it became obvious: we were wearing suits and ties.  It was clear to everyone that we were outsiders.  We came to realize that this attitude in Eugene wasn’t unique from the rest of the west coast.  We rarely saw any suits on the entire trip.  So from then on, our trio continued to wear suit and ties, realizing that we might as well have had a sign on our heads: “We’re from the East Coast. Yes, New York City.”  Later on the trip when we performed in Seattle, and we sat down at a restaurant down the street from the venue (as usual, wearing suits and ties).  The couple sitting next to us proclaimed, “are you the Westerlies?”  It’s a small world – the “Westerlies” are young quartet, and friends of ours.  They’re Seattle natives, our Juilliard colleagues, and now New Yorkers.  Yet another example of our suits screaming “New York!”

           Next, we drove toward the coast of Oregon, passing through Florence and Newport, among other cities.  The ocean and landscape was gorgeous, and we found some great seafood in Newport, despite its slightly congested touristy nature.  We arrived at Lincoln City, a quaint humble town, population of about 8,000 – and fun fact – was the home of guitarist Howard Alden for two years!  I needed some reeds before the gig and I saw a music shop, so before our performance we stopped by.  Boy, do I have a new found respect for being in New York city.  The store clerk was very sweet, but his reed inventory was virtually non-existent.  He carried two boxes of reeds, and they were double the market price.  Needless to say, I managed without the new reeds, but I’m glad we have Amazon.  I’m also glad my instruments didn’t need repair in Lincoln City – I would have been out of luck.  Spending time in these smalls towns puts my usual surroundings – large cities – in perspective.

           Two days later we made it to the big city of Seattle, where I felt a little more at home.  The weather was gorgeous, the Thai and Vietnamese food was second to none, and Pike Place market was fun for hours on end.  The last stop on our tour, North Bend, WA, a small town about 45 minutes east of Seattle, was without a doubt the highlight for me.  This town of about 7,000 is a little slice of paradise – the view of Mt. Si is breathtaking.  We had the great pleasure of giving a masterclass to the students at the Boxley’s Summer Jazz Camp, which is part of the Boxley’s Music Foundation.  Boxley’s is a beautiful, impressive restaurant and jazz club in the heart of town, with a very comfortable, inviting ambience.  When we arrived, the students were rehearsing for their final concert the next day.  In our masterclass, we performed and talked about the ins and outs of performing and learning about jazz music, and we got the students to fill up the whiteboard with dozens of names of legendary jazz musicians.  The students were very polite and respectful – many of whom attend Mt. Si high School, which made a huge splash at the 2014 international “Essentially Ellington High School Competition” in New York City.  You’ll be hearing more from them in the coming years for sure!

(Peter & Will Anderson Trio on The Oregon Coast)

           I couldn’t help but wonder something — North Bend is pretty, quiet, and only 45 minutes outside of Seattle — why don’t more people live here?  In a round about response from one of the residents, they explained “North Bend receives about twice the amount of rain than Seattle does.”  Oh.  I see.  The stats say that North Bend gets 60 inches of rain and 13 inches of snow annually, which translates to: precipitation all the time.  You may know North Bend as the backdrop to David Lynch’s TV series “Twin Peaks” – this show is now at the top of my Netflix queue.  During our day in North Bend we visited a local wine distributor, managed by a sweet woman from France who moved to town to be close to her daughter and grand daughter.  The wine was extremely good, and could be purchased in eco-friendly plastic pouches.  We also visited a local antique shop, which was impressive.  The evening concert at Boxley’s was such a thrill – the interest and energy in the audience grew until the last note of the final set.

by Will Anderson

Saxophonists/clarinetists Peter & Will Anderson are lead the “Peter & Will Anderson Quintet plays the Dorsey Brothers” at Dizzy’s Club Cola on Tuesday, September 9th, 7:30 & 9:30pm.