on traveling overseas

July 21, 1997

Clunia TV Production (TV de Galicia)

This was definitely the hardest gig I’ve ever played. The music easy and enjoyable but the torture I endured in getting there basically ruined what would have otherwise been a great experience!

First, my flight was cancelled and I was forced to take another airline, change schedules and worry about making connections. Instead of going through New York to Madrid to Santiago de Compostela, I ended going to Amsterdam to Madrid to Sanitago de Compostela. That wouldn’t have been so bad except the first airline didn’t actually setup the new itenerary like they said they had done. So I arrived in Amsterdam only to find I didn’t have a reservation on the flight to Madrid. I had to fly standby and luckily got on the flight. The same thing happened on the flight from Madrid to Santiago. I got really lucky and got the last seat on that flight! This itenerary took longer and I was forced to arrive late for rehearsals in Santiago. Luckily I was able to reach the other musicians and tell them I was going to be arriving late. But, as you’ve probably already guessed, as a result of all those changes and the bungled reservations my suitcase (with my clothes for the concert) got lost! It went to Barcelona instead of Madrid. After several phone calls and arguments with airline personell, they agreed to send the bag directly to the stage in Noia (a beautiful fishing village in Galicia). The bag didn’t arrive until two hours before I had to play! That’s cutting it pretty close.

From there the day took a turn for the better. The producers took us out for a wonderful lunch of some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste – necoras (crab), navarras (?), salmon, tuna, bonito as well as a generous sampling of Ribeiro and Rioja wines.

The concert ended up going very well despite all the problems the airlines threw my way. The concert featured Clunia (Nani Garcia – piano, Baldo Martinez – bass and Fernando Llorca – drums) as well as Antonio ? – guitar, Javier Ferreiro – percussion and a stellar group of saxophonists (if I do say so myself!): Jorge Pardo, Perico Sambeat and myself, Tom Gullion. TV de Galicia produced the concert and I’m sure it turned out to be something quite spectacular. They erected a huge stage in front of an amazing medieval cathedral. To be honest it seemed to be a little much for a single jazz concert. There was a full, computerized light show, eight cameras including one on a crane, one on rails, several stationary and several hand-helds.

Unfortunately, there was still the question of getting paid after the concert. I had sent at least three faxes stating the conditions under which I must be paid. It was relatively simple: a bank check for a certain amount of dollars (not the equivalent amount in pesetas). This is very important or you will lose money when you change to dollars. Well, that didn’t happen. Of course, the guy from the office who made these agreements wasn’t there and didn’t send a check. So they had a big wad of Spanish money waiting for me! Of course, I had a cow after the day I had had. After much discussion I got them to agree to pay me what they had (plus some cash they had to go get from an automatic bank machine) and deposit the rest into my bank account.

I have to assume some responsibility for these problems with the production company because we never wrote a formal contract. We just sent some faxes back and forth. This lesson had been well learned. I’ll never go out of town without a serious contract complete with penalties and options again!

The day after the concert I had to get up really early and catch a flight. Luckily that seems to have gone okay up until now.

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