Just played at the International Jazz Festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan, with the Misha Tsiganov Trio. That’s Misha on piano, Oleg Osenkov on bass, and myself on harmonica. Another eye-opener, this trip. As probably many of us, I imagined Kazakhstan to be a Barbarian wilderness with tooth-less hillbillies, much of it thanks to Borat and his gospel. But all wrong, this is a very hip country. Lots of Russian influence thanks to the Soviet era, but also quite different from Russia. Very laid-back and friendly people, and a mighty imposing landscape. Almaty is 30 minutes away from the Tian Shan mountain range, and they go up a sloppy 7000 meters. That is almost twice as high as the alps. Almaty also has some great local jazz musicians that we got to know in the after-hour jam session. So, Borat, time for a make-up movie, I suggest.