Preparing for Jazz Fest is challenging. Because every group I play with has a different set of material to prepare. It’s not uncommon to learn and play hundreds of songs. You spend weeks trying to get as organized and familiar with the music and arrangements, so when you’re rehearsing the focus is on the subtleties and nuances of the song as well as the interaction with the musicians.

It’s not much different than cramming for exams in high school or college. You do everything you can to get through that one exam. And then as soon as you’re out of that exam, you move on to the next one. And when it’s all over, you can come up for air, you get a good night’s sleep.