My advice for newcomers: skip the pundits and lean in to innovative change agents -- the "makers" who work across the spectrum of business, arts, education and politics. You know an event is a success when your hope for the future is renewed.
Almost all of the audience stood and sang and cheered the entire time as if at a rock concert. And after, the musicians would retreat to eat and jam at villas into the early hours, hosted by Italians who opened their hearts as well as their homes.
Chris Botti: The trumpet doesn't care about the national anthem or anything, it's just going to beat you down every day. So you need to practice it hours and hours and hours a day; otherwise it will take control of you rather quickly.
In busy spells -- which in the Broadway arena typically include the two weeks before Thanksgiving and the month before the various award deadlines in the spring -- it is not uncommon for critics and award nominators to find themselves at five or six a week. Eighteen in 16, though, is overdoing it.
After several years of special engagements, After Midnight has opened on Broadway and it's exactly what you would expect and hope: a glittering revue filled with singing and dancing and beautiful, decorative women.
"We shot this soon after signing with Blue Note earlier this year, with our friend the filmmaker William DeVizia. It's a good look at what drew us to the label and vice versa, and how that all went into the recording of Shout!"
Seeing Allen Toussaint perform twice in the space of about 60 days -- in drastically different circumstances each time -- reminded me of why a love for musical roots can seemingly never run out of ways to discover and rediscover the beginnings of American popular music.
This month, Marsalis, was back with the full 15-piece Lincoln Center Orchestra, and it was all about the music, he gave a few brief song intros, but otherwise cued two hours of protean big-band artistry.
If you ever had any doubts about the incredible young talent in America today, just check out the next generation of visual, literary and performing artists who have been recognized by YoungArts, the national organization devoted to mentoring and supporting emerging artists.