It has been a year hiatus for this newsletter, a year full of challenges for the Shank family (Bud, Linda, Allegro, Rubato, and Andante. Bud's first Big Band CD (with himself as leader) was released on Jazzed Media to much acclaim.
He spent two weeks in Brazil doing concerts and making a DVD with Brazilian pianist Donato. He did a tour of eight concerts in Japan over two weeks. He and longtime collaborator Bill Mays released a wonderful CD "Beyond The Red Door" that is getting rave reviews everywhere and excellent airplay. He participated in a documentary by a French film maker about his work with Brazilian folk music and the evolution of the bossa nova. He spent much time in Tucson and Los Angeles filming a DVD biography of his life which will be out early in 2008. He participated in a highly regarded symposium over three days at the Getty in Los Angeles centering on Jazz in the 1950s in Los Angeles and in France, taking part in a panel as well as giving a performance.
These achievements are all the more remarkable in light of the fact that Bud faced three life-threatening medical problems in the space of six months, and endured a heart procedure, cranial surgery, and two weeks in the hospital with blood clots in both lungs. He has been diagnosed with COPD, and must take warfarin (a blood thinner) which causes him to bruise easily. He packs around a portable oxygen tank and a suitcase of pills. But he practices almost every day, is still writing music, and is working with his agent Reggie Marshall to put together a full schedule for this year. His mind is a sharp and funny as ever, and is the face of almost insurmountable odds he has a positive attitude and a still huge desire to make his music.
He went down to Louisville for a week in January to make a record with some pals there (as a guest soloist). He will sit in as a courtesy to the local Big Band here in Tucson in February (tickets being almost as hard to snag as Hannah Montana!). In May he will do another big Poston Event in Los Angeles. A European tour is shaping up. And he will try to put together the East Coast Tour he had to cancel last Spring due to illness.
One of his many reviews compared Bud to the Energizer Bunny -- he just keeps going and going! This is a tribute to the jazz art form which so inspires its practitioners. What a contrast to the vulgar rap people, whiny pop stars, and cheap little starlets with their drugs, binges, crimes, and self pity. At 81 years of age, Bud is still blowing and loving every minute of it. Maybe this is because he actually has something meaningful to say! Well, you know, you really CAN'T keep a good man down.