Warsaw alfresco - May 11
Trio on stage
Photo © Dionizy Piatkowski
Steve before the show
On Saturday 14 May Lazienki Park hosted a free outdoor festival featuring Randy Brecker, brother of the late great Michael, plus the Wlodek Pawlik band and our acoustic trio in a mixture of jazz fusion meets rock meets Baroque in an interesting convergence of styles in front of a huge local crowd.
The stage appeared to float on one of several lakes decorating the park replete with candlelit walkways and stately buildings. This was a special day when people could visit these places for free, and indeed several places throughout the city. The old town was closed to traffic, so it was great to be able to walk around it unimpeded through the cobbled streets. Amazing to think it was reduced to rubble in the war. It's been effectively re-constructed. Roman who interviewed on the show day kindly showed Jo and me around the following morning and helped us to get a feel of the vibrant city which has overcome its turbulent past.
Performing on the floating stage was an intriguing experience. At the suggestion of our Polish hosts, Randy Brecker, Rob Townsend plus a whole host of musicians and I played a version of Voodoo Chile. I wasn't sure when the idea originally came up but any material from the mythical god of guitar abuse is fair game. Once undertaken we all took off together. It really felt like his spirit kicked in. I was completely gone riding that hurricane of feedback so well known to Hendrix fans. Improv live is like that, either great or abysmal. There IS no in between, so thank you Great Spirit for dropping in!
Meanwhile a huge statue of Chopin presided over the whole collision of genres. As a fan of both Chopin and Hendrix it's a shame we couldn't have all jammed together at the same time, but like the tribal king of the electric once sang, "If I don't see you in this world, I'll see you in the next..." (or something close). As it happens, I'm currently working on a song in the studio that Hendrix sang to me in a dream recently... an uncharacteristic song both for me and for Hendrix... a kind of love song with a sense of remorse and a contradiction of confluences.
We hope that Chopin's spirit smiled on our acoustic trio, before the evening came to a close. It was a heady mix of atmospheres.
My thanks to Brian and Ben, and also to promoter Dionizy Piatkowski and his team for the special hospitality, and for making such an intriguing show possible.
The floating stage
Roman and Steve, Warsaw old town