I was at UC Santa Cruz last week, performing a work by my friend, Pablo Rubio Vargas. It was written for piano, violin, cello, and electronics. We rehearsed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and the concert was Wednesday evening. Three composers shared the concert, and I was impressed with all of their music. It was a great opportunity to see the beautiful campus, the wildlife, and also to have good conversations with many interesting people.

I had a duet gig this past Saturday with Michael Sinatra in San Diego. That was a very enjoyable experience. Playing without drums and bass opens up what I am allowed to do; I can change the harmony, slow down or speed up the tempo, decorate parts in inventive ways. I felt unleashed playing in that format, piano and voice.

I'm also trying to get some studio time for my trios. This Friday and the next, I'll be doing more recording, which will ultimately be for promotion. Those sessions force me to be ready and to perform well, without getting too ambitious and making silly mistakes. It's great practice for the real gig.

Finally, I'm finishing up preparations for Nick Maldonado's upcoming senior jazz recital. He's given me several of his original compositions, which I find very inventive and well written. They are fun to play through with the group, and a great challenge at the same time. We have a few weeks left to fit in two rehearsals and get everything concert ready. I'm looking forward.