zac playing in the garden of the ballon

Mushroom Tour Day 7: Vienna – Monday 15th April

students arrive at the history of mushroom jazz show

students arrive at the history of mushroom jazz show

Another big day begins at 7am with Scrambled eggs and frappumoccacino to get ready for the big buck earner of the tour, the school concert. An educational concert on the history of jazz and the jazz “process” – cook it, cook it baby! A 700 seater concert hall is sold out with high school teenagers. In 50 minutes we storm through a sea of styles and musicians (Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Mingus, the Meters, Paul Motian and Czech folk). Jiri tells the students, who are officially on school hours (it’s 9am! who plays jazz at 9am?) that the etymology of the term funk is related to the aroma of the female sex and that the music is all about getting people to dance (bouncy, bouncy).  The Czech National Tv cameras are here again, and they want to film the band loading up the van, to which Jiri agrees on the condition that the interior of the van is not filmed. We will appear at primetime on national TV  - watch it here!

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crossing the Danube in Vienna

zac playing in the garden of the ballon

zac playing in the garden of the ballon

After cleaning up the Slavik’s apartment, we make one more excursion to “the balon”, making sure we have plenty of goulash and dumplings, which together with the beer constitutes “the flavour of czech”. Then we make our way to Vienna, Austria, where even the cows are more organised, and the hurds of deer (gulash) are replaced by rabbits. The venue tonight is by the Danube in Zwe, a small club with a mean lentil soup. Do you want a beer or soundcheck first? He asks us, and we reflect that the cliché is true, people in the continent do treat musicians more hospitably than in the UK. We run the risk of getting spoiled and being bitter upon return.  We have time to take a walk in Vienna, visiting the cathedral and the Opera House and eating Bratwurst, and, in our self deprecating usual way, we proceed to  yet another long conversation about tourism, leisure, human creativity and bla blab bla…

(Francesc has creatively decided to pose as a tourist himself )

Jiri has already spent time in Vienna, where he played a few years ago with  Austrian saxophonist Felician Erlenburg, and has composed a piece entitled “Reunion” for the occasion and has inviten Felician to play it with us tonight. However, Felician has tonsilitis and will not be able to make it. We play the tune anyhow in a gig that goes swimmingly. The audience is small but very attentive and respectful – they do have a sense of humour, even if its more subtle than what we are used to. It seems that people won’t initiate conversation, and will only speak if they are spoken to, so we don’t quite know how they received our music…

bath vienna

JACUZZIIII!!!! Oh, wait.. i’m still having one

Tonight we are treated to another sweet crash pad, courtesy of the Czech Centre in Vienna. This one has a bath so huge, we mistake it for a jacuzzi. The band drivers, exhausted, treat themselves to long baths, so long that Fred almost falls asleep in it. At 3:58am, Jiri appears on Czech TV doing a 30 minute interview.