A New York Story…With Jazz

The Donohue and Hutson families arrived in Manhattan Thursday afternoon with only hotel check-in and a hearty dinner on the agenda.  We were accompanied by filmmaker Seamus Frawley and his wife Lindsay Lawler, who were kind enough to donate their time and talents to document the weekend on film and assist with various other logistical tasks. Baby Story was nonchalant about the air travel and airport shuttle, staying comfortably nestled against her parents the entire trip.

We rehearsed Friday in the A Room of Michiko, a studio in midtown designed specifically with the needs of jazz musicians in mind.  There we met our old friend Tanner Jacobsen (drummer on the CTRR debut album) as well as a new friend, the exceptionally talented pianist/educator Asen Doykin.  Asen came highly recommended to us by a mutual friend, and from the first notes of his lush and playful interpretations of the CTRR repetoire we immediately settled into an afternoon of jamming with wide smiles on our faces.

Call-time was 9am at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on Saturday.  The staff and technical crew of the Atrium could not have been more helpful, anticipating all of our needs and treating us like cherished members of the extended Lincoln Center family.

Photo by Tanya Braganti (www.tanyabraganti.com)

It has been our experience that parents and caregivers prefer (understandably) to arrive with their kids with as little down-time as possible before a childrens’ event begins, and so tend to turn up only a few minutes prior to its designated start time.  How thrilling, then, to see the Atrium filling up with little New Yorkers ready to swing a full half-hour before downbeat!  This continued until shortly after the concert began, when the Atrium staff was forced to close the doors and admit more people only as space became available.

Photo by Tanya Braganti (www.tanyabraganti.com)

Having such a wonderfully active and engaged capacity crowd to play for (and with), we had so much fun during the show that for a moment we were concerned that we’d go over our time without getting through our entire set.  As it happened, we finished with enough time to take a couple of questions and also lead the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Tanner.  As Katy made her final exit into the front rows to shake some (mostly little) hands, Asen, Tanner, and myself launched into a few instrumental choruses of “Straight, No Chaser” (which seemed entirely appropriate considering that Thelonious Monk, the tune’s composer, was raised only two blocks away).  After the concert, we celebrated and caught up with family members and dear friends at PJ Clarke’s, just around the corner.

When our return flight from LGA had to be re-routed yesterday at the very last minute, Team Coal Train’s quick reflexes and some very helpful USAir gate agents ensured that we arrived safely back in Nashville last night.  The now-seasoned traveler Story Jane again took the whole journey in stride, eating and sleeping comfortably for most of the trip.

We are deeply grateful to Tom Dunn, Hillary Plate, Jordana Phokompe, Brant Murray, Marian Skokan, and the rest of the staff of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for their enthusiasm, kindness, and professionalism.  We’re also indebted to all of CTRR’s fans, friends, and Kickstarters for their ongoing support as we share our love of jazz with kids around the world.  We could not have imagined or asked for a more stylish or exciting New York debut.

We’re going to make sure we meet again in New York sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on the development of a short documentary film about Coal Train’s journey to Lincoln Center!

Thank you again, one and all,

Chris (& Katy)