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NEWS

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July, 2017

The month of June has been like a vacation, in contrast to my schedule in March, April and May. I went to the Kansas City Southern Railroad Historical Society convention in Kansas City; the first time in years that work has not interfered with a convention I really wanted to attend! Before the convention started, I visited the Jesse James birthplace in Kearney. As a longtime Western History buff, this was a great experience. Seeing Jesse's boots, saddle, the picture he was dusting when Bob Ford shot him...amazing!

Jesse James's Birthplace

The Birthplace of Jesse James
Tamale Spread

Tamale Spread

I also enjoyed visiting the Harry S. Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Independence. I could easily have spent a couple full days taking in all the exhibits! And I also got to sample some of the local cuisine, including the "Tamale Spread" - President Truman's favorite dish - at Dixon's Chili Parlor in Independence.

A visit to Kansas City would not have been complete without sampling their famous Barbeque. Here is a photo of the legendary Burnt Ends from LC's BBQ. For years I have wanted to try this dish, and it was worth the wait.

Jesse James's Birthplace

Burnt Ends

The convention itself was great; particularly on Saturday night, when the KCSHS was given a tour of the railroad's headquarters building. We saw the control room for the entire system, met the current President/CEO and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, prepared by the Kansas City Southern catering department. Best of all, I was able to bring home a perfect souvenir for Mittens.

After the trip to Kansas City, I went to Austin, to play a dance for the Austin Swing Syndicate and a recording session with Brooks Prumo's Orchestra. The local swing dance community loves this big band, and the dance floor at The Fed was full while the BPO played "Bolero At The Savoy" and "The Last Jump." Hopefully the CD we recorded will be released in the near future. Coincidentally, while I was in Austin the CD by Swing Central finally went into production. It should be released in plenty of time for the band's appearance at the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Festival, Aug. 3 - 5.

tote kitten

swing central

Swing Central

By the time you read this, I will have had the surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder (the result of my auto accident late last year). I wish the tear had healed itself, but things didn't work out that way. It will be a relief to be rid of the pain, and my recovery will be aided by the anticipation of playing with Swing Central at the Bix Fest!

Clint Baker

Clint Baker

News flash: I was asked to bring a band to Pensacola for the "Foo Foo Fest" - presented by the Jazz Society of Pensacola - on Nov. 13. Although that is the anniversary of my auto accident, I am eagerly anticipating this engagement, and the debut of the "On The Levee Band." The band will play the music of my favorite Traditional Jazz group: Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band. My old pal Clint Baker will play the role of Kid Ory and the musicians are some of the best jazzers in New Orleans: Kris Tokarski (piano); Ben Polcer (cornet); Joe Goldberg (clarinet); Alex Belhaj (guitar); and Joshua Gouzy (string bass). Can't wait!!! If any of my friends will be in the area...PLEASE come to hear this terrific ensemble!

Now I need to finish all the errands that require two hands/arms before the surgery. Thanks to all of you for your support and good wishes. I look forward to seeing you in Davenport, Cleveland and the other stops on my itinerary for the rest of 2017.

Alex is ready to take the first shift as heat therapy for my shoulder...

Best regards, Hal

alex