When I moved to Inverness in 1989 with a broken heart, I rented a house on stilts directly on Tomales Bay in West Marin.
Then over some months back in South Dakota, my mom grew sick with cancer and died with me and my sister at her side. That allowed a tenderness to emerge in that most intimate relationship. When I got back to my little house on the bay, my 19 year old cat Georgia died.
I lived alone then in that house down 39 steps from the road and began a healing that affected the rest of my life.
Didn’t know anyone yet so that first year was lonely and insightful.
The migrating birds out on the bay were my constant companions. The air was never really still but always astir with some wings.
I swam day and night in those magic waters and walked the shoreline with my new family of cats every day.
The human community there was farmers, fishermen, artists, craftspeople, workers and the brave souls who moved out to the country about an hour from San Francisco and the East Bay.
Some of the first organic farms in the US emerged from this culture.
Food was at the center of every gathering and the food was great.
Art, music, photography, writing all poured out because we were living in the midst of a National Seashore with forest, bay and ocean walks to put the breath into you.
I lived there for 20 wonderful years and in those years, I often performed at the Dance Palace which was the main arts venue along with Toby’s Feed Barn.
In 1996 I decided to arrange live recording sessions at the Dance Palace to celebrate the community, the return of my healthy body and soul, and the music that was written in those years, gleaned from jazz repertoire or improvisations from those evenings in front of the audience.
The room was packed with enthusiastic listeners who burst into song more often than you hear on this recording. Playing at the Dance Palace is an embedded memory as is Tomales Bay herself. Being so near the water, which is my home element, affected me radically. I healed in those waters, looking at that sky and those bare hills, in that holy environment. It was a powerful and blessed time.
This album went out of print some years back and is finally rediscovered and made available in digital format.
I offer it to you through the wonderful musicians who played with me, the audience, the crew of producer, engineer, designer, photographer, house and stage manager, friends and family, all that support and generosity, and the land and water that inspired all of us.
Live on Tomales Bay.