JAK JAZZ 2007 & BALI "JAZZ ON THE ROCK" BLOG -- Part 2
7/27/2017 6:38:48 PM - (cont'd)

Throughout our Indonesian stay, including Bali, the guys from Demajors tended to our every need, although with so many staff members, it sometimes became a case of "Who's on First" and the keystone cops, but overall it was a great help to have someone mediate for us with the festival and festival staff, and basically act as our reps and be like stage managers. For some reason, there was animosity between Demajors and the Jak Jazz Committee, something I don't quite to this day understand; both Sasha and I felt sometimes uncomfortable and caught in the middle with stuff.

The 26th was spent flying to Bali where we were met by the a guy from Hard Rock whose name now escapes me but was SO sweet. Everyone was really excited when they saw where we were staying, which honestly when we arrived I was a little questionable about -- it was barely 5 minutes from Denpasar Airport, an area that is really congested and chaotic which I don't personally care for, and the lobby area looked small and slightly dingy. But once you got past the lobby, it suddenly gotten ultra nice, the main focal point being the huge pool with a swim up bar. The guys all had nice individual villa cottages that had their own little garden, and Sasha and I got placed in a large villa that had a garden plus its own private jacuzzi which didn't turn on, but was still really nice. The mosquitos were out of hand, though. I immediately got attacked -- they always go for my blood for some reason. By this time, my throat was hurting like crazy, and while that night was restful with just a little radio phone interview, by the next day I was aching and down for the count, with a performance that night at the Hard Rock Cafe. Fortunately, because it was still the beginning stages of the cold, even though I wasn't feeling my best and started sounding nasally by the time I hit the stage, my voice was still well conditioned and I managed to execute a good performance under the circumstances. In fact, if it were not for the cold, I think that was the best performance with the band we had for this tour. Being that it was a Tuesday night and my name not being a huge blockbuster, it felt a little lean, but everyone later told me that for a weekday this was a good turn out. The opening band, Sister Duke, sounded good; they did a cover of a Kyoto Jazz Massive song in the end of the set.

The rest of the Bali stay was really wonderful. Nikita was loving the pool which fortunately had a kiddie depth for him to splash around in, and Sasha attempted to give him some swimming lessons (note to self: Get him in YMCA for swimming lessons!!). It was great seeing my friend Sagon who I met in Japan almost 20 years ago and has been living in Bali for as long. We went to his restaurant hosted by his beautiful Balinese wife, Dewie, and sister, Millie, and got to see his mother as well as his stunning daughter, Leila, and restaurant namesake son, Kaizan, who is turning 5 soon. Last year Nikita didn't really mesh with him, but this time around the age gap seemed to have lessened and by the end of the evening they were seriously bonded. Sagon led us through an "omakase" course in celebration of both Nikita's and Fima's birthdays (Fima's was just a day after Nikita's) that was an absolute feast -- it's small wonder that they were voted the best Japanese restaurant in Bali, with both authentic traditional dishes as well as a fusion flare in others.

We left Bali with a good feeling, although I was sad to see how much it had built up compared to the last time I was there 9 years ago. It seemed more chaotic and congested with little of the balance that the island's culture strives for. I hope it won't go completely to pot and that the authorities will do something to alleviate the craziness of all this sudden expansion and modernization. We hope to go back again soon, and there is talk about something in August again at the Hard Rock -- we'll see what happens.

The flight to Narita was pretty harmless although being that it was a night flight, even though Nikita and I slept like rocks from even before it took off, I felt like I could have used a few more hours. Sleeping sitting up right doesn't help either. I wish we could afford the luxury of flying business class. But sleepiness and nasal congestion aside, I was totally hyped to be in Japan. It was the first time I had ever gone to Japan just for a vacation, and Sasha was feeling relaxed and happy for the first time in a while as well. We took the limousine bus to the Westin Hotel where we were going to spend the last couple of nights, and where we have a lot of memories from past stays (got to love those mileage and point programs), left our big bag, and was met by our friend Yuki. Yuki is the son of the creator of "Edo Mura" (translates as Edo Village, although they gave it a Japanized English name, "Edo Wonderland"). He's actually a musician, which is how we met (I sang back vocals on one of his projects years ago and we bonded -- he's now like my little brother) but recently with his father not as involved in the park, he has had to take over running day to day operations and, as he explained later, is renovating the park, a many year long process, putting his musical career on hold. He'd been inviting us for years to go up to Nikko but it's always difficult with tours to take the time to go -- sometimes we end the tours in a completely different area of Japan and it's difficult to get there, or we're just too exhausted and we need to just get home. But we decided this trip from Indonesia which has a transit in Japan anyway would be a perfect opportunity.

(cont'd)
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