Last Night of Tour: Musig im ochsen and a Puddle in Zurich

We arrived at the Hotel Ochsen in Muri for our last concert of the tour after a considerably laborious journey –  a drive from Nové Mesto, Slovakia to Vienna, Austria, then a flight from Vienna to Zurich, Switzerland, and another drive from Zurich to Muri.  I have always wanted to play at Musig im ochsen.  Hundreds of jazz greats have performed in the hotel venue and the concert host, Stephan, is a legend in NYC.  A well-loved musician himself, Stephan has a generous heart, a passion for music, and a marvelous collection of instruments.  For years, I have watched faces light up as my musician friends detail their visits to Muri and the exceptional hospitality they received from Stephan and his family.  I am eager to report: the stories are all true!

Muri is serene.  Cows and sheep graze in the green pastures, goats wander the cloister grounds, and snow-covered Alps surround the pastoral scene.  It truly is a world away from  New York City’s crowds, noise and endless concrete, not to mention the city’s dirty streets and subway.  I did not see a single piece of trash on the ground in Muri.

The concert was exciting and emotional for me.  Between songs I quietly reminded myself to savor every note, to be fully aware of the fleeting magic of this last concert.  We played to a full house of attentive listeners who applauded us back onto the stage for an encore.  After the concert, I sold CD’s and had a chance to chat with local music lovers who frequent Stephan’s concert series.  We had an intimate after party in the hotel cafe where Stephan opened a beautiful bottle of red and we toasted to a two-week tour well done.  The band compared notes with Stephan on their favorite jazz musicians while I sat listening, enjoying hearing the band speak in English for a change!

The next morning the band and I savored a traditional Swiss dish prepared by Stephan’s wife, Miriam.  Älpermagronen is potatoes, cheese, and pasta with caramelized onions on top and applesauce on the side.  It was mouth-wateringly spectacular!  I reluctantly stopped myself form taking a third helping.

As I was departing Muri, I received a Facebook message from Petr, the jazz promoter in Kladno.  It read “You’re leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when you’ll be back again, oh babe, we hate to see you go.”  Oh Petr, I hate to go!

But off to the airport – The band had to go back to Vienna to retrieve our tour van and drive our gear four hours back to Prague.  I was flying to JFK by way of a one-day stop in Madrid.   When the time came to say goodbye to my band mates, my eyes welled up.   After hugs all around, I waved  goodbye to Tomas, Lukas, and Roman.  Once they were out of sight, I turned into a puddle.  I will always carry joy and gratitude for such talented and special musicians who brought their gifts to my music and this incredible tour.


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