Spending the month of October in Ecuador offered me an amazing experience. I was most fortunate to have been granted a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to work with students and faculty at the Universidad de las Américas (UDLA) Escuela de Música. I spent three weeks working with numerous ensembles, improvisation and jazz history classes, repertoire session and saxophone master classes. The schedule was busy but quite rewarding, being able to be in contact with most, if not all, of UDLA’s 220 music students. The students were quite talented, so kind and receptive, seeking guidance and willing to ask challenging, thoughtful questions. It is great to see old friends like Claudia Martinez and make so many new ones.
In February, students from UDLA will be traveling to UofL to participate in Jazz Fest 19. Then in May I will return to Quito and will be joined by UofL students and jazz faculty. A great way to complete a true exchange and beneficial interaction. Many thanks to the Fulbright Senior Specialist Program and Jay Byron, Director of the music program at UDLA.
In addition to teaching at UDLA, I got to perform with many groups from the area. The UDLA jazz faculty, Samba Viva & Mandacaru and The Hard Bop Project. It was great playing with so many excellent musicians.
Images from performances in Quito
This was my fifth visit to Ecuador. Always had a great time and admiration for the people and their country. It is so diverse and interesting. I have gotten to see much of the county but there was one thing missing. I have always wanted to visit the Galapagos, hearing so much about the animals, landscape and all. So my wife Melissa and I decided we had to visit and we weren’t disappointed. What a fantastic, magical place. I can only hope that the photos show and share all that is the Galapagos.
Images from the Galapagos