I had recent exciting visit to Shanghai China, my first time in Shanghai but not to China.
Back in 1989.I think it was, I went to Beijing with Chick Corea and Gayle Moran and we also travelled to Wuhan in Central China for a concert.
Things were just beginning to open up at that point and we even stayed at the Holiday Inn at Beijing Airport that had just been completed and opened.
So going back 20 years later was an interesting experience as things have really developed in many ways and in some nothing has changed
The journey is long and from Miami even longer so we got there pretty fried and without our drummer Joe Strasser because of Visa problems. In fact the Sax Player and Trumpet player , Graeme Blevins and Quentin Collins,also didn’t make it out of London because of visa screw ups so it was just Kyle and Andrew McCormack (Piano) and myself that arrived in Shanghai.
We had located a recommended Australian jazz drummer, Nicholas McBride , and the plan was to rehearse with him on the morning of the show. Plus there were two other guest stars that had stayed in Shanghai to perform with Kyle and the band namely Roby Lacatos ( Violin) and Xu Ke (ERHU) who were both extraordinary musicians with amazing ability.
So we stayed at the Shanghai Hilton, a very nice Hotel, and next morning went to the Shanghai Concert Hall, which incidentally had been MOVED 66.4 meters to make way for a freeway in 2007.(Click on Shanghai Concert Hall Link))
We rehearsed for about 4 hours with the Trio with Nicholas McBride and with Roby and Xu Ke and put together what turned out to be an excellent show.
The show went off great and was well attended and followed by the best Chinese meal I ever had and a visit to a night club with Karaoke and yes I sang…..It was bad!
But then the fun really began as next day when I woke up I discovered all the flights to New York had been cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.
So I spent 7 more days in Shanghai until I could fly out on November 5th back through New York to Tampa courtesy of the Chinese promoter who very kindly paid my hotel and food for the full 7 days and he didn’t have to.
However the lack of freedom is noticeable and the discrepancy between the rich and mostly poor is VERY VERY noticeable.
However it was very enjoyable and despite enormous Visa Problems,a Hurricane and a serious bout of Food Poisoning it was something of an adventure.