Taylor Ho Bynum

*Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Bike Tour

Day 29 – 9/25, 3:00pm, Leo Carrillo State Park CA

Tonight is my final night camping out and probably the last shot of much natural beauty before I enter the SoCal LA-San Diego megalopolis that will cover the rest of the trip. I got my biking done early so I’m treating myself to some time at the beach. When I was originally in the planning stages, I debated whether to ride north or south. The headwinds strongly encourage a southern direction – it is human nature to recognize the impediment more than the assist, so for me not to notice the wind much is a good sign, it was probably usually at my back. Psychologically, I thought the Pacific Northwest splendor might be a better finale than the Southern California highways. That still might be the case, but it was also nice to get my biking chops in shape in the friendlier northern cities before braving LA.

While the scenery might be petering out, there is some incredible music to look forward to. Thanks to the Angel City Jazz Fest, this weekend I have two hits that might be considered the headlining gigs of this tour: a performance in Anthony Braxton’s trio alongside my musical sister Kyoko Kitamura, then an all-star 7-tette playing my music the next day. Throughout the tour, I have consistently noticed how the physical and emotional intensity of the travel has left me unusually open, vulnerable, and receptive in the creative space with my collaborators. (Evidenced again in a deeply satisfying concert with Vinny and Jim last night.) This has been true in performances with relative strangers, so I am very curious and very excited to see how it will affect my musical interactions with Anthony and Kyoko, two of my closest friends.

And while I have been both inspired and gratified by the music of the small groups and big bands thus far, the mid-sized ensemble is my most regular home as a composer/performer. So I am thrilled to return to that formation with a group stocked with absolute baddie-baddies: Nicole Mitchell, Michael Dessen, Jeff Gauthier, Jeff Parker, Mark Dresser and Alex Cline. This is gonna be fun.

This will probably be my last entry till I depart LA – besides the necessary soundchecks and rehearsals, I’ve got some family time to catch up with; not just my sister and niece, but my wife, mother, and many dear friends will be in the city this weekend. Not quite the closing night party, one more show after this and my ritualistic border coda (not to mention about 250 miles) to go, but a celebratory culmination nonetheless.

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