Richard Doron Johnson

February 22, 2007

Myrtle Beach!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 4:21 am

This past Friday I drove down to Myrtle Beach, SC to run the half marathon and boy was the weather a shock. It is normally about 40 degrees in the morning I was told in the previous years but for some reason like the rest of the country it was unusually cold the past few weeks. I am talking 26 degrees cold. Normally this would not have been too much of a surprise for me but for the past 3 weeks I had been running in 70-80 degree weather. Having said all of this, I still had a good time. The reason for the trip was not only to run 13.1 miles but to see some friends that I had walked across the country with this summer by the name of John and Ilene.

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Ilene brought her whole family too and I mean the entire crew. She brought the husband, 2 sons and their wives, and almost all the grand children. When she travels she roles deep. After completing my 13.1 miles I went back and changed and meet them at the finish line as she and the family waited on a family member to finish her first marathon. Even though it was a trip cut short lasting only 22 hours I am still glad I rolled down there to experience the Bi-Lo marathon. The course is a site to remember.

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February 17, 2007

Sneak-A-Peaka-Costa-Rica

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 2:03 am

This past week I spent 5 complete days in Costa Rica. This trip had long been awaiting me since this was the only country in Central and South America that I had not been too. Most of what I had heard about this country is that it was beautiful and filled with tourist. Let me not be the first to tell you that this is the truth! From the moment you arrive at the airport gate you see nothing but Americans and Canadians. You really would think you were going to Toronto if you did not look at your boarding pass.

The flight down to San Jose was just shy of 4 hours long and was a completely full flight (doesn’t help I went on a Saturday either). Upon arriving the terminal had a Disney like feel too it. I was not expecting to enter into the country in this fun filled environment. It does all change the moment you go outside. Immediately, the feeling of Central America could be heard and felt. The first phrase I heard was “Taxi man you need a Taxi come with me! Upon arriving at the first hotel which was not in the greatest part of town I set out to go find a place to run. After asking the gentleman at the front desk which way was best to go it was time to run. Below you can see some of the sites that I saw during my healthy joint pounding adventure.

The second evening of my stay a nice couple introduced themselves that was in town touring along with their friends who have a great band called ” Vegitation” from San Diego,CA. During dinner with them they explained how the band received a major shock upon arriving at the venue in San Jose. The festival was canceled during their flight over because the new mayor pulled all the permits out from all local music once he got elected. Which means the promoter lost lots of money since he fitted the bill to bring a whole festivals worth of bands to the country for the week. At the very last minute though the musicians found a small place to perform and proceded in a different location. If you don’t know this band check them out. You will be shocked at what they do so well!

http://www.vegitationmusic.com

On the third day it was time to set off to Puerto Viejo. This was a great spot because there was not a lot of tourist and it was heavily influenced by Jamaica. After spending two days of walking in circles (while looking at the locals watch how many revolutions each tourist can make of the 800meter city) I definitely had my fill of the heat and the beach so it was time to head back to the big city of San Jose. Upon arriving back in San Jose I realized that this city really did not impress me after giving it a second look and try. I understand why tourist love coming here though because it is extremely safe, inexpensive and the beaches don’t get crowded. So, if your looking for a vacation from work and just want to hang on the beach without being disturbed, come here. But if your looking for an awesome time in the night life of a big city, I think your best off creating your own party or going to another country.

Here are a few photos that I took during my trip.

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Teatro Nacional Still Stands!

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One of the numerous statues commemorating the cities birth

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I just like this building so I photoed it!


Avenida Central

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New Local artist displayed in front of the main Catholic Church

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Inside the museum we can see how coffee beans used to be made with this machine.

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City View

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On top of the world I stand!

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Directions to one of the many spots near the beach.

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One short road to mankind

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This is for all those artsy photo takers out there looking at this!

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Night life Gone 6am!

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Last but not least the park I would run through everyday in San Jose.

February 8, 2007

Deep in The Heart of Texas!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 12:12 am

Today marks my third day here in Texas and this is a huge state. So far we have been to San Antonio, Houston and now Austin for the final two days. Driving all around this part of the country makes you really realize how much land there is in these parts. So far the tour has been great as usual. We have the usual suspects out here which are Leonard, Sarah, Tom, Derek, Otis, Bobby, J.B. Dyas and myself. It is amazing how you can not see some people for a month or two and then meet up on a tour and pick right up on the same conversation you had two months ago as you were walking to your perspective separate gates at the airport. We actually have a great time out here with this band due to the personalities of the members in it. This makes the weeks we spend together during the year go by much faster then you would suspect.

The schools during this past week have been unbelievable. Every school has great jazz bands so we can teach on a very high level. There are middle school bands here that sound better then most High school jazz bands in the rest of the country and High school jazz bands that sound better then most college jazz bands. You can really see the affect of great support financially and educationally when it is invested in the young peoples future. They do everything big down here in Texas and music is no exception. Here are a few photos from the school we did today. This is probably one of the top three performing arts high schools in the nation. I can easily name about 25 guys/girls that I know personally that came through this high school who are some of the most amazing musicians on the planet. Some are Destiny’s child, Eric Harland, Jason Moran, Kendrick Scott, Walter Smith, Brandon Lee, Mark Simmons, Helen Sung, etc. To all the teachers reading this, keep up the great work are community needs it.

The band unloading the vehicle before the performance. I am glad I play piano!
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Here is the schools emblem
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The top Jazz combo plays
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The master class we did during the day looks like this.

February 5, 2007

Austin, TX

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 2:20 am

Well, I am off to Austin, TX today. When I think of Austin I always think of Lance Armstrong (the cyclist). I have read all the books on this earth about him and he seems like a pretty extreme dude. No, I am not a cyclist yet but there are many similarities about that sport and running so for pure entertainment value I read books on the sport that seem like they may have something worth reading.

This week I am performing once again with the Thelonious Monk Institute. Our locations this week will be Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, TX. This is my first time in all of these cities so I am ready to get out and run around them to explore the city. The past few weeks I have been doing high mileage running for me which is about 70 miles. This has really strengthened my running skills and my site seeing chances. Last week I saw more of San Juan, PR than most people who will who are not from there. I plan to do the same as long as the weather permits here in Texas (Even though Texas is bigger than most small countries). It looks as though the weather is going to be perfect for running outdoors though.

Now back to the Thelonious Monk tours. You know these Institute tours are fun because they mostly involve working with interested High School music students. I consider myself a big kid most of the time and I guess this why most people higher me to work with their own kids. So as I sit here in the Houston, TX airport writing this blog I am curious to see what this week has to offer my life in memories.

February 4, 2007

In New Orleans I am

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 7:03 pm

Last evening I did great gig in New Orleans, LA at a place called the “Rusty Nail.” It was formally a club called “The Mermaid” that was a dump (I heard). So the new renovations are happily welcomed by the neighbors. The gig lasted about 3 hours and the turn out was ok. I was more happy to just be playing good music with good muscians. This is a great kick off to the upcoming week of gigs I will be having all over Texas. It is great to be back playing music again.

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February 1, 2007

I Saw San Juan!

Filed under: Uncategorized — rjjazz @ 6:53 pm

nullLast week I took a trip to San Juan to look around and see a new place I had never been. I had a great time and will be back for sure before the year is out. Below you find a few photos from my excursion.

Bedroom

This is my room in an old building built about 200 years ago.

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This is the hallway to the second floor room I stayed in.

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Here is the courtyard showing one of the numerous Subways on every block.

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This is a view of the water from the Forteleza

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This is the gate to the city that all ships, cargo and people had to come through in 1521-1896

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Here I am making sure the coast is clear of pirates.

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This photo is of downtown San Juan as I am riding the train around.

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This is the main arena downtown for concerts.

There are numerous more photos but if you have not been here a photo will not do this lovely location justice. You must go, I did!

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