Richard Doron Johnson

March 31, 2008

Been A Long Time!

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 9:24 am

Any one remember that song by Eric B. and Rockem from back in the 80’s? Well, yes it’s been a while since I have blogged. Over the past several months I have been laying low spending my time between Atlanta, GA and Minneapolis, MN. Yes these two places are completely different. Minneapolis has had one of the coldest winters on record with the least amount of snow in years. I have adapted to the warm weather in Atlanta over the past few years so to go to a place like Minneapolis was beyond a shock. Some days the weather would be negative 30 degrees (Try running in this since it won’t happen if you plan on living). I have not done nearly as much traveling as I normally do even though I have managed to fit in a few places on the map. Here are a few of the States I have been to:

Atlanta, GA

Maryland/Washington D.C.

Bismarck, North Dakota,

Philadelphia, PA,

New York New York

New Orleans, LA

North Dakota- Performance with the Bismarck Symphony orchestra. The Conductor and I having a moment.

At this very moment I am in Berlin Germany in the lobby of my hostel writing this because I have 3 hours until I do my second run for the day. Yes, you heard me right my second run for the day. This morning I did 12 miles at 7am and this afternoon I plan on doing 5 more (I shalt not reveal my times since the enemy is always preparing to attack). I guess by this point many of you reading this are thinking this guy must be crazy to still be running after having run around the whole world last summer ( Well I enjoy running since it is me against me really and I would love to be able to run a faster marathon. Enough about running though. The reason I am in Europe is because I am getting ready to begin a two week tour with a good friend of mine named Christian Winther. Every year or so we do a tour of his native land of Denmark for about 2 weeks.
Touring with this band is always a lot of fun because the four member band gets along very well. On bass we have Kengo Nakamora, on drums Quincy Davis, Myself on Piano, and Christian Winther on Tenor Saxophone. The tour manager and is Morten Hertz as always. He is are biggest fan literally. He is 6”7 and weighs about 300 pounds but is all laughs and smiles. Tomorrow we will rehearse the music off of the CD that was just released last month by Steeplechase records . This is a good CD that was created about a year ago and is finally out on the streets. On Christians latest CD is a song I wrote called “Ferris Wheel” that seems to be turning into the bands theme song.. For now that is all folks but hopefully as the tour continues I will be able date you with around the world travels!

Below are a few random photos taken over the past few months so you can see what I look like with all my hair cut off!

The Fellas at the Super Bowl party 2008

I fit right in here in Bismarck, ND

In Chicago with the Blues Brothers!

My Brother Kevin with his new Best Friend!

In Minneapolis,MN during Spring time.

Me in D.C. a few days ago at the African American War Memorial.


October 23, 2007

AFAR Video Photos

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 4:29 pm

Here are a few photos from the video shoot I was part of 2 weeks ago with the band AFAR. Hopefully you will enjoy them and can feel the vibe. It was alot of fun I must say!

Here I am and I am not sure what is going on at this moment!

Jahah getting ready!

In action while we were taping!

Che warming up on day 2 of the shoot!

Here I am dancing while Mike gets some film ready!

Marc showing us how he scopes out the prospects at the club!

Here is Detox doing the Robot!

Che showing us his sensitive side even though he plays the drums!

Get it tight, Get it tight, Get it right!

Here I am giving some over all thoughts on the South American tour starting up on October 24th 2007!

Austin Powers TX

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 1:07 am

All I can say is it is all true! Everything I have heard about Austin, TX has been great and after having visited I can see why. I had a great time here. This city has a lot to do for the size of it and the people go out of their way to make you feel at home. Texas really does do things big from food to hospitality.

I started of my tour of the city with a free walking tour of the capitol given by the tourism center.  It began at 9am on Saturday right on the south steps of the Capitol Building. My tour had five people who all came from Jersey and New York because they had heard such great things about the city and wanted to experience it for themselves. The group of us visitors got along well and made the 2 hour walking tour fun even though the tour guide was stiff. Here is a view of the Second Capitol building built since the first one burnt down.

A second view from about 800 meters away.

A view from the Capitol steps look down towards the downtown area!

As the tour began we noticed a 5k race starting that had about 1000 new comers to walking and running getting ready to take off. I could feel the excitement and even thought about jumping in it until I thought ” I can wait another 8 days to race.”

Once we reached the base of the Capitol building I noticed a photo shoot going on of some local firemen. The women didn’t notice it at first until I pointed it out to one of them and she quickly informed the other females. This extended our tour by 5 minutes since they all wanted to take photos and get the right angle.

As we continued and learned more than I ever wanted to know about the city’s historic buildings, this Statue was right in front of us. The funny part was our tour guide never talked about the Statue even though we stood next to it for about 5 minutes.

This hotel here is called “The Driscoll” hotel and has switched ownership numerous times over the past 80 years. Fortunately for us the current owners replaced the hotel to its original looking state from its creation.

Here is a meeting room from the second floor of the hotel. I really enjoyed hearing about all the stories of how each of the meeting rooms received their names.

This is the second floor lobby where you can sit in an play on their 7 ft grand piano. No, I did not play it!

Here sits the Koppel building!

My next stop after the city tour ended was the Lendon B. Johnson Museum. I started not go here but I did upon the recommendation of the other walkers during the city tour. This museum was a lot of fun and takes about 2.5 hours to go through. As you enter there is a 23 minute movie they play for you which leads you into the beginning of the tour. For a free museum this was worth the money. They had videos, photos, statues, artifacts and an actor playing the part of Lendon B. Johnson during his presidential years. The cost was nothing but the fun level was a ten!

Here I am standing next to Lendon B. Johnson on his farm!

Here is a recreation of the oval office during his years as president!

After hanging out in the museum for awhile I walked about 2 miles from the Library to the most popular part of town. This is the football stadium. If you have heard by now this whole town is about football. The sport is everywhere and seems to be on everyones mind. As I left the stadium I saw this sign and decided to get a photo of me taken on top of it.

The next morning I decided to do my last long run of 13 miles around “The Town lake.” I started at 6:45am in hopes to run into some serious runners doing a similar pace as me.  The location and the terrain of the running path around the lake was great.  One full loop was 10.1 miles so I was looking forward to the workout. By mile 9, it was daylight and I could see people everywhere running.  I had heard this was an active city but this was a whole other level of all ages of people. As I approached mile 10, I saw the Austin University track team jogging in between their hard interval workouts.  So I figured if I slowed down a bit they would turn around and pick up the pace since I just went by a mile marker.  About 2 minutes later I turned around and could see them coming from about 100 meters away.  I started to pick up the pace to a 6:45min miles. Within about 17 seconds these flew by me, so I speed up too in hopes to keep up with them and they could pull me along for my last 2.5 miles.  After about 1 minute I looked at my watched and it said I was running almost six minute miles and the Austin College guys had already past me and put about 300 meters on me.  I thought to myself ”  What was I thinking.”  Then I turned around and noticed there was another guy trying to do the same thing and we were running the same pace.  So for the next 2 miles we ran 6:50min miles together. I was so happy to have him there because it helped to know I wasn’t the only one out there thinking I could keep up (who were we fooling).  Towards the end of the run he said “He said thanks man for pulling me along I needed the help at the end of my 7 mile run.” I just thought to myself “Me too.”

Austin was the bomb and I will be back here for sure. When will I return…………, I am not sure of but I will.

October 20, 2007

Dallas, TX Part II

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 2:17 am

This morning my run through the city of Garland ,TX was most enjoyable. My total mileage for the day was 9 miles. After running I was off to experience some more of Dallas’s sites. My first stop for the day was the “Dallas Museum of Art.” This was your typical Big City Art Museum. The museum has four different levels of art from 5 continents. I enjoyed the Oil on canvas Paintings the best since they seem to have the broadest exhibit. I spent about 2.5 hours here and would recommend this to high school students and people who do not get a chance to travel much outside of the United States. The total cost for this was $16 in conjunction with the Sculptors museums across the street. I give this museum a rating of an 8 out of 10 on my scale of things to do while Dallas, TX.

My favorite painting for the Year!

Standing Alone!

Does your bedroom look like this?

Double Trouble!

Across the street is located the Nascher sculptor museum. Now this was a great attraction! Most of the Art is outside and you can get an audible self guided tour that takes about 90 minutes to go through. Most of the art they have here is incredible and you could see immediately that most people had not seen anything like it before since they made multiple trips to the same sculptors. I highly recommend this to any new comers to the planet earth who have not been to Dallas, TX before. I give this a 9 out of 10 on my list of things to do while in Dallas, TX. The cost is $10.00 but you can get a discount if you also go to the Dallas Art museum as well total cost being for both being $16.00

Can you tell which people are real and which ones are not?

Can you see the man inside?

I thought I heard a little child ask “Is this Art mommy?”

This is my favorite piece for the year. It reminds me of someone special in a weird way!

My late afternoon stop involved me going to the Dallas World Aquarium. This was located over near the West End District. This Aquarium took me all of an hour to go through. I was not amazingly impressed with this Aquarium like when I went to the one in Denver, but if you have children it will serve the purpose of making them say “Wow look at that.” I did manage to get some good photos of creatures I had never been so close to before. The total coast was $18.95. I would give this Aquarium a 7 out of 10 on my scale of things to do in Dallas,TX

After the Aquarium I went by the Texas State Fair to see what all the hype was about. Once I arrived there I drove around it and there was a few attractions going on there but nothing that warranted me to stop and spend additional monies visiting. Therefore after careful deliberation of my time and hunger I decided to pass on this tourist attraction an begin making my way to Austin!

My total time spent in Dallas,TX was three days and I really felt I got a good understanding of what the city has to offer. From Frisco to Garland to Downtown Dallas I did my best to cover three attractions a day and not rush through them. Site seeing can become a full time job if your really keeping track of everything I am finding out. Between my morning runs and walking site seeing different cities some days I end up covering about 13-15 miles in one day consecutively. What can I say though, I am one of the few people learning about the world first hand and what it has to offer me so I can intern find out what I have to offer it!

October 19, 2007


Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 12:54 am

My first day in Dallas was very fulfilling. I was not to sure what to expect from this city so I came with and open mind. I do have to say though in the back of my mind I was thinking this is the town that the Dallas Cowboys come from. I was also reminded that a special television character from the 1980’s named J.R. came from here also. As usual I started my day with an easy morning run of 8 miles around an apartment complex. By 10:30am I was off to the downtown district called “West End Historic District” My first stop was the Holocaust museum. This museum took me about 90 minutes to go through completely. I really learned a lot in the short amount of time I was there and give this a 7 out of 10 on my scale of things to do while in Dallas. Below are a few photos from my visit. The cost was $8.00.

Clothes worn by Jews!

The important years!

By 1pm it was time to go across the street the 6th floor Museum. This was a really great attraction. This is the location where Lee Harvey Oswald waited for President Kennedy to arrive in his motorcade. I learned more about the all the details of the planning of the assassination than I could have imagined. My total duration of time here was two hours. This museum had maps, diagrams, videos, actual equipment used, etc. I give this museum a 9 out of 10 on my scale of things to do while in Dallas. The cost was $13.00.

After leaving the 6th Floor museum I decided to walk around outside and see some of the outside attractions such as the “Dealey Plaza”

Downtown View number II

Then right across the street was the J.F.K. Memorial.

My next stop was right beside the Memorial and it was the “Old Red Courthouse.

It’s oh so red!

Side View!

Also next to this building was the Dallas Morning Star news Paper.

Next I walked through the West End food district that has numerous places to eat.

After visiting the West End Food District I decided to drive over to the “Dallas Heritage Village.” This was a really cool place to visit. The idea behind this made up town was that they took homes from all over Texas from 1847-1925 and put them all side by side within walking distance of each other. This was you can walk through the actual original homes and see how people lived. There was about 15 homes total in the complex which you could observe and touch. It took me about 60 minutes to visit the whole site. The cost was free. The location was in a shady part of town though. I guess that’s one reason the fence was so high, but it is worth going to visit for sure. I give this a 9 out of 10 on my scale of things to do in Dallas, TX.

Inside the Church!

The church!

The “Man’s house”

My final stop for the day was the “Crow Collection of Asian Art” I thought this collection was pretty decent for someone who has never experienced any Asia art before, but I have to say after having just come from China and Japan nothing can compete with seeing the real live use of bowls, paintings, and house hold goods than the real live use of it. This museum gets a 7 out of 10 on my scale of things to do while in Dallas. The cost was free on Thursday evenings. It is normally $10.

By now the time was 7pm I was extremely tired so I transported my self to Garland, TX to spend the night. On my way to the hotel I decided to stop at White Rock Lake. I noticed there were some really nice running paths, biking paths, and boating docks. My first thought was to come back here and run in the morning but my second though was at 6am it would be way to dark for me to be running next to a lake for about 80 minutes!

October 13, 2007

Here I was!

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 3:05 am

Hello to everyone out there reading this entry! This past week has been a typical week for me. I say this because I spent my time between Atlanta, Ga and New York City. Upon arriving in Atlanta, GA from Baltimore Maryland I went to rehearse that evening with the band I am part of called “AFAR”. Since we had a gig coming up in two days it was important that we all got together to go over the music. The following day I mostly spent it running around the city taking care of bills and miscellaneous things that I had not done in the past two weeks being that I was in Canada.

On Wednesday the gig was already upon us at the 5 spot in Atlanta, Ga. I thought the gig went well for the band since we were part of a trilogy of bands for the evening. The only bad part was we went on last which meant we had to wait an extremely long time to go on. Finally by 12 midnight we went on. The following morning at 5:30am, I was off to New York city for a concert in Bridgeport CT. This was a most exciting gig for me since I had not played a high level jazz gig in a while. I was really looking forward to this journey with Victor Goines and Wycliff Gordon. I had great time performing with the band and the food was the bomb too.

The following morning at 5am I was off back to Atlanta Ga to shoot Afar’s second video. So on Friday and Saturday our goal was to get to all the video shoot locations early enough to be able to get through the multiple takes. Everything went off better than we had expected. This was great for me since we ended a bit early on Saturday. Since I was feeling pretty good after the shoot I packed my things and began my next voyage to Dallas, TX. Originally I had planned to leave on Sunday but since I felt great I jumped at the chance to get back on the road.

October 7, 2007

Albany NY Marathon

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 5:32 pm

This Sunday morning I ran the Albany, NY marathon in 3:21hr as a long training run. I did not taper (or reduce mileage) at all and ran 80 plus miles this week. My heart rate was between 143-151 the whole time except for a three mile hill at mile 12 and it went up to 166. I still have alot left in me! We will see what happens next!

October 6, 2007

Quebec City

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 11:24 pm

The city here is booming with tourism everywhere you look.

All the buildings and roads have that true European feel to it.

This is a view of one of the major hotels from below at the port.

Cobble stones make the world stand up!

A view of Quebec City from up above!

This is the grounds surrounded by the city fort. Everyday I would go for a 16 km run through here and everyday I would find something new to see. Quebec City has the only standing active fort in North America that is still  employing soldiers.

The boat is afloat.

This fountain greets you as you enter into the downtown area of Quebec City. It was a gift from France.

A view of New Orleans island. This island has 7000 people living on it and 14 police men. They have had no crime incidents this year and I am told the police are the nicest guys in North America too. The island is 21 miles long, 5 miles wide and has a suspension bridge leading to it similar to the Golden gate bridge only 1/4 the size.

A view of that huge hotel a little closer.

The local clock tower.

Samuel De Champlain the founder of Quebec city!

The city is alive!

These paintings on the buildings look oh so real to me.

What do you think?

This boat takes passengers across the river, back home all year around even in the winter when the water can freeze to 4 feet thick. A 15 minute ride in the winter can take up to 90 minutes.

The Queen Mary II happened to be in Port for the day so the downtown traffic was crazy with people wanting to stop and take photos.

Part of the fort that over sees the water.

Another live looking painting.

Time to get ahead!

Montmorency falls Is right outside the city of Quebec. That is right, it is 30 meters higher than Niagra Falls and when you see it live that 30 meters is a huge difference. I have had the pleasure of seeing both Falls in the past months and I can assure you that this one is even more amazing than Niagra.

I walked across this bridge and thought what would posses a person to go over it in a barrel? No person has every survived this Great falls.

Rough waters!

Bridge over troubled waters.

Thumbs up means it is photo time!

Don’t be scurrrred to look down!

Or you could just walk down if you don’t like the barrel idea.

View of the bridge crossing the water.

On my day trip we stopped at the local candy store and I just gazed through the window!

This road reminds me of a run I did back in Europe in June. I think it was in France, hummmmm?

One of our many stops was at this museum during the day.

This is all made of copper like everything else on display in this museum. The detail that has gone into most of these pieces of art has taken years.

This building called the “Cyclorama is the biggest 360 degrees painting in the world. It is incredible. It took 6 guys 4 years to make it working on it daily.

The artist even went to Jerusalem for a year to study the land layout to get it right before painting it.

Another view of the city!

The church of Saint-Ann’s took 53 years to complete!

These doors on the church weighed about twice as much as I do.

An inside look!

Can you see the detail on the ceiling?

Can you see the detail on the floor?


This is the side of the church.

Information on the church!

Quebec city gets my vote for the most historic city I have seen on this tour by far. From the moment I stepped out of my car all you could see was monuments, churches, statues, and historic sites. I was very impressed with this location because it is the closest you can get to being in France without getting on a flight. Everyone here speaks French and maybe English. I am still in shock that I drove here and it is this close to the United States.

October 4, 2007

Half and Half

Filed under: 1 — rjjazz @ 4:00 pm

As I moved west from Toronto to Montreal the drive took about 5 hours total. This drive was one of the most scenic I have had in a while. Seeing all the trees turning colors due to the weather and cruising next to the St. Lawrence river made it all the more enjoyable. I really had no clue what Montreal had to offer but I figured if it was anything like Toronto it should be great. After stopping to run 7 miles at about 4pm, I arrived in Montreal at 6pm.

Here is the city looking down from a mountain

The Olympic training center in the distance is the white looking dome!

Another view of the same!

Here I am just to prove I am really in Montreal!

The church.

Enjoying the great life I have!

A view of the Canadian History museum.

Here is a quilt made of photographs of locals!

Administrative building in Montreal.

The Olympic training facility from 1976.

Japanese hotel!

The founder of Montreal!

I am not sure what this is but it looks cool!

The church of Notre Dame where I saw the most amazing light and movie show in the evening! To think I almost skipped the show!

One of the most historic streets in Montreal, “Saint-Jaques Street”

A view of the city from McGill University

McGill University

Students at McGill University watch and American style football game go on for fun.

I see Montreal as a mix between the United States and France. You can get by with speaking either language and everything is ok. You have attributes of the Unites States as well as attributes from France. I would say this city is about Half and Half of what you might think and what you might want it to be. I was able to get traditional French style food as well as going to eat at Subway when I wanted. It is interesting though as I move west from one side of the country to the other you can start to see drastic changes in the people, buildings and the style of life.

October 1, 2007

Toronto Half-Marathon 13.1 miles

Filed under: Life on the Road — rjjazz @ 1:01 pm

The Toronto Half- Marathon (13.1 miles) was a great race for me considering that I had a few issues during the race. The morning of the race for some reason I could not digest all of the pasta I had eaten the night before so I knew running on an upset stomach would be rough. Also I had been going back and forth all week between these new Brooks running flats I had gotten to try out and I decided after two training runs to race in them. This was a bad decision because after mile 7 the shoes did not have enough support for me and my I felt like I was running on my bare feet. Even with having to stop to go to the bathroom at mile 5, I still managed to run pretty decent splits and at the 10k mark and the 10 mile mark I was ahead of any previous time I had ever done in a race. By the time the race was over mentally I could not believe it because it felt like the shortest 13 miles I had ever run. I guess doing all the mileage I have done this summer can make a long 13 mile race turn into a short one. During the race I was not huffing and puffing at all so this race was basically a tempo run that I do every week once I looked at my heart rate and the overall time. Like I said earlier I am happy with the race because later that day I went out and did another 7 miles to make it an even 20 miles for the day. Right now I am in the best shape of my life and I am running great! The Toronto course and weather was awesome and I recommend it to any one out there who wants to run or walk.

Mile one of the marathon course in Toronto!

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