On January 22nd it will have been a year since Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring. It also marked my retirement from touring, so I am collateral damage, in a sense.
So what have I done in the last year?
Not much, it seems to the naked or semi-nude eye, but actually it’s more than it appears.
During the course of my 40 years of touring with “the best band in the land,” as Mr. Diamond effusively referred to us, there were regular pauses, some longer than others, when we went back to recharge our batteries and reacquaint ourselves with home and family, so we were pretty well-prepared to deal with life on our own, filling our days with recording, writing, golfing, dining, and conjuring up foolish ideas for things which either materialized or didn’t.
I n 2016, I filled the hiatus before our final tour by recording an instrumental jazz album of Neil’s songs. It was a project which had intrigued me for a long time. I came from a jazz background, and I’d always wondered doing such a thing had never occurred to other jazz players.
Some of the songs might seem too jolly, all major keys and open chords and such, but when I think back to examples such as Andre Previn’s fine album of the music from My Fair Lady, Neil’s tunes didn’t seem such an awkward fit.
The album is all that I’d hoped, and I’ll be posting some things from it on this site, along with subtle suggestions about obtaining a copy, along with some background on why it came out the way it did.
I didn’t originally think of it as a farewell to a 40 year gig, and I may return to that material sometime in the future, But I’ve moved on. I spent most of 2018 finishing up an album that I began 50 years ago, about which I’ll be spilling the beans here very soon.
The new album is done now and off being pressed into biscuits and cookies. Come back if you’re at all interested in what happens when Muzoids turn their minds to old friends and new tasks.