Victor Goines: Liquid And Fire
“ The goal of a great teacher is to be confident and comfortable with themselves, so that if they're fortunate enough, their students become better than they [themselves] are ”
Saxophonist and clarinetist Victor Goines has been a key planet in the orbit of Wynton Marsalis for more than a decade. He played on the seminal Marsalis album Live At The Village Vanguard (Columbia, 1999) within a week of joining the band, and he's continued to appear with Marsalis and with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra ever since. Goines recorded New Adventures (Criss Cross, 2006) in 2005.
All About Jazz contributor Jason Crane talked with Goines in the spring of 2007 about New Adventures, his years on the road, and exactly how many times you have to have played the bass clarinet to get Wynton Marsalis to hire you.
All About Jazz: This is a very diverse album. From one track to another, it covers a lot of bases. First of all, how did you put this band together?
Victor Goines: I have to give credit where it's due. Gerry Teekens, who is the owner of Criss Cross [Records] actually recommended the rhythm section of [bassist] Carlos Henriquez, [drummer] Greg Hutchinson, and [pianist] Peter Martin. Peter Martin and I go back some time ago in New Orleans when he decided to move there from St. Louis. Carlos Henriquez and I have a relationship with in the Wynton Marsalis ensemble and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Greg Hutchinson has been a favorite of mine for many years, he's one of the fantastic drummers. So the opportunity to record with them is a good feeling. It just made sense, and with all of the music that they have knowledge of, it allowed the music to take a different type of diverse path.
AAJ: Talk about that a little bit. From the very first moment of "Stop 'N' Go," it sounds like a tune that I've always known, even though it's one of your compositions.
VG: "Stop 'N' Go" has the influence of Sonny Rollins. Even the melody is a little riff that I picked up from Sonny Rollins in my transcriptions along the way. So it became a tune that evolved at a concert some years ago at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. So you hopefully hear the spirit of Sonny Rollins inside of the song. The way Sonny has the freedom of rhythm and the harmonic knowledge to be able to play across the bar lines and through the harmony without any kind of restrictions.
AAJ: And it has a drone in it that gives you more freedom.
VG: It has that drone, which allows the soloists to be able to superimpose harmonic and melodic ideas on top of the drone in the first chorus of their solos, then we go to straight-ahead rhythm changes. But at the same time, that rhythm section was so free that once we got into the regular part of the walking [bass line], they took the opportunity to be out there and explore all of the harmonic and rhythmic background.
AAJ: What does it mean to say a rhythm section is "free"?
VG: In this case, what I mean when I say they're free is that they're so well versed on their instruments and so informed about the jazz language that there are few restrictions. Of course, no one is perfect because it's impossible to have knowledge of all the music that exists today. But these guys have been able to internalize a tremendous body of work, so as a result there are few restrictions that they have to deal with. If I took a certain harmonic direction, I felt that Peter Martin was going to be able to anticipate and find out where I was going to be. Carlos Henriquezif I took a certain rhythmic direction, he usually jumped into it immediately if not sometimes led me places where I thought I might want to go. And Greg Hutchinson is secure enough as a drummer, period, that he's able to make sure that with all the things that are going on, he's the cement that keeps everything in place along the way. At the same time, [he takes] risks with the band, but [he knows] he can pull it back together whenever we need it.
AAJ: Is listening the key to everything you just described?
VG: Absolutely, because we're having a dialogue on the bandstand. We're having an organic conversation, so listening is a very important part of what's going on. And participating in the conversation is a very important part.
AAJ: How did you learn to listen? It seems to me like people have to acquire that skill.
VG: That's a good question. The answer came to me pretty quickly when you asked that. In my early stages of performing with Ellis Marsalis in New Orleans at a place called Snug Harbor, quite often I would go to the gig and he would call the tunes on the bandstand, he wouldn't call them ahead of time. So it would require me to really pay attention to what was going on. I'd be there with my Real Book, and I'd be trying to turn the pages to the song he would be performing, but he would change in the middle of it.
After trying different things, I realized that wasn't going to work, because he was always going to do something I wasn't prepared for. I decided that I would just listen to what he was going to play and try to learn the melodies on the bandstand. If I wasn't able to catch a melody the first time around, I would stand behind him and try to learn it there. Then, if I still wasn't able to catch it, I would ask him to play some of the melody inside his comping during the bass solo, and he would do that for me. As a result, it became like an ear-training course in real time.
It's just become part of what I do now. To listen to people has become fun, because I like to know what people are thinking and how they function. I believe that the more I know about how someone does whatever they're doing, it gives me that much more of an opportunity to be able to interact with them.
AAJ: You said a few minutes ago that there are times when a member of the band will take you someplace that you weren't thinking about going. When that happens in the studio setting, do you have the freedom to do that?
VG: Absolutely. I think you also have to be willing to take the chance in that situation too, because I don't know about a lot of other musicians, but I don't want to work my solo out ahead of time in the studio. I like to practice the tune so I have some options before me, but I also go in there with the realization that I hired these great musicians to come into the recording session so they can bring to the table what they have to offer. If I go in there and I'm not honest enough to take some chances with them, then I might as well just hire anybody to play exactly what I practiced. So in the studio, I try to take some freedoms and liberties and risks.
- Kindergarten With The Marsalis Family
- Adventures On The Clarinet
- Joining Wynton's Band
- The Art of Playing Ballads
- Life Now
- Adventures On The Clarinet
AAJ: You mentioned Ellis Marsalis. You and the Marsalises have been part of each others' lives since you were knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper, right?
VG: We go back quite a bit. Wynton and I, as it turns out, went to kindergarten together. We didn't know each other as early as that, but it's really ironic that we go back that far. We did become very familiar with each other in elementary school. That kindergarten is named Martinez. It's a very popular kindergarten in New Orleans, Louisiana. In elementary school, we became very involved, along with Branford [Marsalis], in the honor band, particularly one at Jesuit High School. The band director was responsible for taking the most outstanding students around the greater New Orleans area and putting together a concert band. As destiny would turn out, we all found ourselves, as we got to high school, performing in all-state ensembles together.
It has been a tremendous opportunity for all parties involved. We're in our forties. I always say that you meet your friends when you're young. And to go back that far and interact on a day-to-day basis is really a tremendous privilege for me.
AAJ: Particularly doing something as intimate as playing music.
VG: Absolutely, because there's a trust factor that's there that surpasses the one that most of us have the opportunity to develop with the musicians we work with.
AAJ: Did you start studying with Ellis in college?
VG: I was a junior in college at the time. Wynton went out with his own band, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, which was [saxophonist] Branford Marsalis, [pianist] Kenny Kirkland, [drummer] Jeff Watts, and "bass de jour," because the bassist always changed. That was in '82. He had just come out with that first record of his entitled Wynton Marsalis (Sony, 1981). I said, "Hey man, what do I need to do, in your opinion, to get to the next level?" He said, "You need to study with my dad." I had never studied with his dad. I never went to the Center For Creative Arts like he did, and like Branford and Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison. I went to an all-boys school by the name of St. Augustine. So I said, "OK, I'll call your dad."
I called him and asked him, "Mr. Marsalis, will you please take me as a student?" He agreed to. I wasn't surprised but then I was surprised. I mean, he's Ellis Marsalis. To me, he is the premier pianist and has always been, there's never been a doubt. When he took me as a student, I used to study with him weekly. I'd have assignments that he'd give me, but most of all he'd give me the opportunity to study the historical perspective of the saxophone. He exposed me to the entire instrument.
After a year of studying with him, he decided that he was going to put a band together of young musicians. In that band were myself, a drummer by the name of Noel Kendrick and a bassist named Reginald Veal. So that was my first introduction to Reginald Veal. We would play around New Orleans, then we started traveling around the United States a little bit. Then we went abroad a bit. We played together for some two and a half years in New Orleans.
At that time, in 1986, Mr. Marsalis was afforded an opportunity to teach at Virginia Commonwealth University. I remember we were going to Asia with the United States Information Agency. He said, "Look, when I get back, I'm taking this job at Virginia Commonwealth, so you all need to figure out what you're all going to do." I was like, "Oh, man, we're just getting started."
So we all started making decisions about what we were going to do. I was teaching mathematics, so as he left and started his career teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University, an opportunity came to me again via Ellis Marsalis, which was to go to Virginia Commonwealth and get my Masters. I've always been an advocate of education, not only as a teacher but as a student. If somebody's going to pay for me to go to school, I'm going to school. And then I'm going to go study with my mentor? There's no doubt about it.
So I went up to Virginia to study with Mr. Marsalis for a year and a half. We had a lot of interaction. A lot of times, I'd be by his home. His family was up therehis wife and her mother and his son Jason, but it was like two people being in a place where they didn't know a lot of other people. So I had many days of interaction with him in a very unique and personal way.
Shortly after that, I decided to go up to New York for the first stay I was going to have in New York, in 1989. Soon after that, Ellis Marsalis was offered the opportunity to come back down to New Orleans and be the chair of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans. I was playing in New York on Black And Blue, and an opportunity came to me to teach at Loyola University in New Orleans. So I traveled back down there to become an assistant professor of saxophone at Loyola University, as my former teacher, Paul McGinley, was taking a leave of absence.
When that year expired, the University of New Orleans decided that they were going to invite a saxophone instructor to their campus. They had to do a national search, and my name became a part of that search and I was very fortunate to get that position. While I was in a position to be a professor again, I saw it as another opportunity to be a student again, under some of my favorite players and teachersEllis Marsalis, [composer/arranger] Harold Battiste, another gentleman named Charlie Blancq.
What was really amazing about Charlie Blancq's relationship to all that is that he had done a book about one of my favorite saxophonists, Sonny Rollins [Sonny Rollins: The Journey of a Jazzman (Twayne, 1983)], so it was like the circle was getting completed along the way.
AAJ: When did you start playing the clarinet? Had you done that since the early days?
VG: I've been a clarinetist from day one. I started at the age of eight. Like most kids, I started because my brother got a trumpet and I wanted an instrument. My mother picked the clarinet. I wanted to play the drums and she said that was too loud. I said, "OK, the saxophone." She said, "That's kind of expensive and you might not stay with it. Why don't you try the clarinet?" Saying "no" was not an option, so I said, "OK." But as it turned out, the truth of the matter was that as a kid, I was severely asthmatic. I still have asthma, but it's well under control. She thought that playing the clarinet would actually help me with my medical condition. After doing it, I played football, baseball, basketball without any kind of respiratory problems. So I always tell students when I do workshops that mother knows best. That was really my introduction to the clarinet, and as a result, music came out of that.
AAJ: Talk about "Pres's New Clarinet" on this new record. You could give people a blindfold test with this record. Play track one then track two and say, "OK, is this the same record?"
VG: [laughs] For those who don't know, Lester Young was one of the greatest saxophone players ever, but he also played the clarinet in Count Basie's band and before that. His first instrument was probably clarinet. I don't know right offhand, I'm sorry to say. I need to do that homework and I'll do it right after this interview. [laughs] After hearing some of Lester Young's clarinet playing, it just made sense for me to write a song that was in the tradition of Lester Young. Now I don't think I got as much on point as his solo on "Jumpin' At The Woodside" [with the Count Basie band], where he's playing clarinet at the very end. But it was an attempt. That's what we do in jazz. It was an attempt to recognize Lester Young.
AAJ: Wasn't the bass clarinet your entree into Wynton's band?
VG: You've done your homework quite well. I'm impressed. It was my entree into Wynton's circle. The way that came about was that Wynton composed a piece called "Six Syncopated Movements." It's also known as "Accent On The Offbeat." It was a piece commissioned by the New York State Theater for the New York City Ballet in 1993. He wrote this piece called "Jubilo"it's the first movement of the pieceand it had a very demanding bass clarinet part in the baritone saxophone book. I guess he'd searched New York a bit, but he couldn't find someone who could really play the part the way he had envisioned it.
[Saxophonist] Wes Anderson, I think, is the one who said, "Hey man, you should call Victor. He plays clarinet. He could probably play bass clarinet." So Wynton called and said, "I've got this bass clarinet part that's really difficult. Do you think you could play it?" I said, "Man, sure I can, just send it down." He said, "No man, it is really difficult." I said, "Man, send the part. I can play it. I'm telling you, I can play it." So he said, "OK, I'll have them FedEx it to you tomorrow." So I hung up the phone, knowing I didn't own a bass clarinet. But I did know I had an out. His father had just purchased a brand new bass clarinet, ironically, and I knew I could borrow that instrument if I asked him.
So I called him and said, "Mr. Marsalis, Wynton just called me with this part for bass clarinet. Do you think I can use your instrument?" He said, "My instrument's broken." I said, "Look, you let me borrow it, I'll get it fixed. I'll drive it to Baton Rouge right now to my repairman and get it fixed." So I borrowed the instrument, drove to Baton Rouge and brought it to a gentleman named John Patterson, a great repairman. He worked on the instrument, I brought it back home, the music arrived the next day, and I started shedding on it [practicing intensely].
AAJ: Now wait a minute. You said you didn't own a bass clarinet. Had you ever played a bass clarinet?
VG: Not very often. [laughs] Maybe two or three times. Because in the high school band, they don't necessarily put their better clarinet players on bass clarinet. They should, but they don't. It's a very demanding instrument. So I hadn't really played the bass clarinet that often. You're the first person to ever bring that out in an interview. [laughs] So I hadn't played the bass clarinet that often, but I knew I could play it if I spent some time on it. The piece was very difficult. He wasn't kidding. But it was a great entry into that ensemble that featured Wynton, [trumpeter] Ryan Kisor was on there, [trombonists] Wycliffe Gordon and Ronald Westray, Wes Anderson, [saxophonist] Todd Williams, myself, [drummer] Herlin Riley, Reginald Veal and [pianist] Eric Reed.
AAJ: So how long from the FedEx delivery until you had to go to New York and perform the piece?
VG: I had a week. [laughs]
AAJ: Oh, man!
VG: I had a week to shed on it. But I got it together. I was ready when I got there. When I got there, they were impressed. They were like, "Yeah, man. That's what I'm talking about." Immediately after the gig ended and we got paid, I remember going home and buying a bass clarinet from the proceeds of the gig. It paid very well, I have to say, and I had already figured out what I was going to buy because I wasn't going to get caught in another situation where I didn't have a bass clarinet. And I just happened to have a baritone saxophone because of the trip I had done with Wynton's father to Malaysia. I picked up a baritone saxophone there. So it became the opportunity for me to round out my repertoire of instruments.
AAJ: While we're having the clarinet conversation, you recorded a record where you played the whole clarinet family, right?
VG: It's called To Those We Love So Dearly (Rosemary Joseph Records, 1999). The idea behind that one is that over the years, I've been asked to play so much clarinet that it just made sense to do an all-clarinet record because it's something that very few people have thought about or done. Not only to play B-flat clarinet, because there are lot of great clarinet playersEddie Daniels, Don Byron, Alvin Battistewho play only clarinet. The concept of this was to play various clarinets. To play B-flat clarinet, E-flat clarinet, to play the bass clarinet, to play the alto clarinet. I wanted to play a basset horn, but I didn't have enough time to get it.
It was just to explore different clarinets and see how those things would come together. Not just explore them in the context of clarinets together, but explore them with the traditional rhythm section of piano, bass and drums, but this time with a trombone. Wycliffe Gordon is on the majority of it. That might seem odd, because the trombone is going to overpower the clarinet. In most situations, I would say the trombone is going to overpower the clarinet. But this was Wycliffe Gordon, so therefore the amount of control he has is extraordinary. We had a dialogue about the fact that he needed to keep the intensity and the power in his lines, but he had to be sensitive to the balance of the trombone and clarinet. He did a great job on the record.
AAJ: So it's 1993. You come up and play the bass clarinet with Wynton. What's next?
VG: I went back home after that. I was still teaching at the University of New Orleans. Fall semester starts in 1993, then in October I get a call from Wynton. It's a Saturday afternoon and I have a gig with his father that night as we've been doing for the past couple of years. He says, "Hey man, I need you to come on the road with me for a little while." I said, "OK, great." To myself I'm saying, "Oh, man, I've been waiting so long for this call." I said, "Well, when do you want me to come?" He said, "Monday." I said, "Monday? I've got class Monday." He said, "I just got off the phone with my father. I should have asked him. I'm in Maine. Call my dad and ask him and call me back."
So I get off the phone and call his father. His little brother Jason answers and says, "He's sleeping right now, getting ready for the gig." I hang up the phone and think about it for about ten seconds. I thought, "Man, he's calling somebody else right now. I'm calling and getting a ticket to come out." I called him up and said, "Send me the ticket. It's going to be OK. I'm going to figure this out." So he sends the ticket.
In the meantime, I've got that gig that night that I mentioned, and I haven't told his father yet. We're talking about someone I have the greatest amount of respect for in the world. I wasn't going to just disregard the program we had established. So when I saw him that night, I said, "Wynton called me and asked me to come on the road." He said, "I should have known that's what he was going to ask you when he called. I don't know why I didn't think of it." I said, "He wants me to come out Monday." He said, "What did you tell him?" I said, "I told him 'yes.'" He said, "Good, if you'd have told him 'no,' I'd have been upset with you. That's what you've been shedding for, right? What's the problem?" I said, "My classes." He said, "We'll have to figure out how we're going to cover those classes."
So we worked out a system with Ellis Marsalis and Harold Battiste and Charlie Blancq, where I FedExed assignments daily back and forth from the road. Wynton had asked me to come out for two weeks. That was the agreement. After about ten days, Wynton was like, "Can you come out another two weeks?" I said, "OK, I've got to call your dad but I'm sure we can work it out." Now it's in November. After a month of that, he said, "Can you come out two more weeks?" Now we were at Blues Alley, because he used to play there every December, then he'd go to the Village Vanguard. So we go through all of November and all of December, two weeks at a time. As the New Year was about to turn, he said, "Why don't you just call the accountant and have him put you on payroll?"
I took a leave of absence from teaching for a semester. But they told me that by March 1 I had to make up my mind. They said, "If you don't contact us, we're going to assume you're not coming back and your contract will expire." We were in Asia. The day before March 1, we were in Taipei, Taiwan. And because I was going to do the gig as long as I could before Wynton either fired me or told me he wanted me to play permanentlywhich he hasn't told me to date, but I'm still in the band [laughs]I decided when I left for that tour that I would print up two letters to the University of New Orleans. One said, "Thank you for the opportunity to have this leave of absence. I'll be returning in the fall of 1994." The other one said, "Thank you for the teaching opportunity. I regret to inform you that I will not be returning." I waited until the morning of March 1 to fax that [second] letter to the jazz studies department. I decided that if I got fired, I'd have to deal with the consequences. Jokingly, I tell people that I'm still on the road two weeks at a time. [laughs]
AAJ: It must have been like a whirlwind on that initial tour, jumping from country to country, gig to gig, with this teaching job you're trying to juggle back in New Orleans.
VG: Yeah. At that time, we traveled eleven months of the year. We took one month off, but we traveled twenty-five days out of every month. We only went home to really take care of whatever you had to take care of at home. But we knew that the first of every month, we were going to be out touring. But I tell you, they were some of the greatest times in my life, I have to say. When I first joined the band, [saxophonist] Walter Blanding and I were there at the same time for a brief period of time, as a transition. Only for four days. So when I was preparing to come out, I asked Wynton, "What can I do to prepare?" He said, "Nothing. There's nothing you can do. Just come out."
So when I got out there, my first gig was the Iron Horse in [Northampton] Massachusetts. When we left there, I had maybe two more days to learn the book. He had "City Movements" in there. He had "Blue Interlude" in the book. He had a couple other large works. And then he had another book that was just smaller works. Just so much music, it was so much to learn at one time.
Quite often, we'd be on the bus traveling from midnight to six in the morning. And we'd all hang out after the gig, maybe listen to the gig or watch some videos together. Then, about 2:30 or 3:00, cats would start one-by-one going to bed. This was one of those tour busses that had a lounge in the front of the bus and the back of the bus. So by 2:30, I was in the back of the bus shedding. Every once in a while somebody would poke their head in and say, "You OK back there?" I'd say, "Yeah, man. It's a lot of music. I've got to learn this music for tomorrow." So literally, I was practicing every night on the bus, from 2:30 in the morning till 5 or 6, because I was determined I wasn't going to lose the gig because I didn't know the music. That took place many times.
Some of those recordings from Live At The Village Vanguard, those were from my first week with the band. The "Black Codes From The Underground" recording, where I missed that little transition part and have to live with that forever, that was my first week in the band. But it was interesting, because the first time I played the Vanguard, it seems like every young tenor player in New York must have heard that the gig was open. It was like vultures converging on a piece of meat lying in the desert. They were like, "Oh, man, we're coming to get this gig." I was like that piece of meat, still alive, saying, "I'm not dying easy, man. Y'all can come out, we're going to fight, it's going to be a battle, but it's not going to be an easy one."
AAJ: Let's talk about playing ballads. You do a great tune on here called "Petite Fleur," which a lot of people know from [soprano saxophonist] Sidney Bechet. You do it so slowly that it sounds like it's rubato through a lot of it. I think one of the great talents is to be able to play a really slow ballad. Will you talk about your approach to ballad playing?
VG: I heard a recording of Shirley Horn that Branford Marsalis recorded on [You Won't Forget Me (Polygram, 1991)]. Actually, Wynton was on it too, but the particular take was "It Had To Be You." It was the first time I had really heard a ballad played so slow. It was almost as slow as one could tolerate, is the way I describe it. That's how I like to play ballads. The great tenor saxophonist Benny Golson once said, "When someone performs slowly, it's an opportunity for everyone to see everything they have to offer." There's no hiding.
For me, I often tell my students, "You should play a ballad like you're dancing with someone and you never want the record to end." So that's why I tend to play my ballads so slow. It gives me an opportunity to be a little freer with the melodic line, as opposed to the way people play on medium tempo or up-tempo tunes, [where] you tend to keep the rhythm pretty straight. But when I play a ballad, I want to be like liquid that's flowing back and forth. The form of the piece is the container that's keeping it in place, but the music has the ability to move around inside the container as freely as it wants to.
AAJ: What does that require of the rhythm section?
VG: Discipline, because the tendency is for everybody to want to push the tempo. But the reality is you have to be willing to participate. Creativity, because they have to figure out things to do that are going to add to the performance instead of take away from it. And a knowledge of the history of great ballad playing. It puts a great burden on the drummer, because quite often the drummers just want to keep time in terms of quarter-note pulses. But for those that are creative, it gives them an opportunity to address the ballad as if they're a painter and they can use different brush strokes. And I don't mean literally just brushes, I mean different strokes with sticks, mallets and all kinds of things to paint this pastel of different colors inside of the ballad. Greg is a master at that. Herlin Riley is another master at that. Lewis Nash. I'm speaking about people of my generation. Those are three people who really stand out in my mind, who really have the discipline to play slowly on a ballad.
AAJ: Most of the tunes on this record, half or more, are your compositions. Do you have a lot of time to write music?
VG: I don't have a lot of time to write music. I don't spend as much time writing as I would like. But I'm getting better at that now. It's been a conscious decision to try to write more. I tend to write more when projects come up, like most artists. If I don't have something, I generally don't sit down and say, "I'm going to write a tune." But at this moment, we have a concert with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the topic is Blue Note, so it's all recording from Blue Note Records, arranged for the big band by members of the orchestra.
The two pieces that I've been afforded the opportunity to arrange are [Woody Shaw's] "The Moontrane," one of my favorite compositions from [organist] Larry Young's Unity (Blue Note, 1965) with [saxophonist] Joe Henderson, one of my greatest influences. The other is "Cape Verdean Blues" by [pianist] Horace Silver. It's given me a chance to work on my arranging skills again. I like to write. I think everybody in the jazz tradition should write, because improvisation is composing in motion.
AAJ: How much are you on the road these days?
VG: It varies. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is on the road about sixty days a year now. That's not including concerts in New York. That's not road time, because there's days off in there and all that. Then I have my own opportunities. I'm in Rochester, NY, tonight to perform. I'm going to Detroit, Michigan, tomorrow from here. I was in Dallas, Texas, last week doing some workshops. So I get a fair amount of that in. Then I travel with [The] Juilliard [School], with my students. I just left Qatar less than a month ago after two weeks there. We're going out to the New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival. We have a presence in Costa Rica. We went to Japan the summer before. So there's a lot of traveling.
AAJ: And you direct the jazz program at Juilliard.
VG: Right, I'm the artistic director of jazz studies.
AAJ: What's that like?
VG: It's a great opportunity, because I'm working with some of the finest young musicians around the world. We've had kids from Japan, Cuba, the United States. To see them evolve is ultimately a very fulfilling thing, because of the type of interaction I've had with great teachers myself. I often tell them, "The goal of a great teacher is to be confident and comfortable with themselves, so that if they're fortunate enough, their students become better than they [themselves] are and they have accomplished their goal."
Victor Goines, New Adventures (Criss Cross, 2006)
Wynton Marsalis, Live At The Village Vanguard (Columbia, 1999)
Victor Goines, To Those We Love So Dearly (Rosemary Joseph Records, 1999)
Victor Goines, Joe's Blues (Rosemary Joseph Records, 1998)
Wynton Marsalis, Blood On The Fields (Columbia, 1997)
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Big Band Treasures Live (Smithsonian, 1996)
Marcus Roberts, Portraits In Blue (Sony, 1996)
Wynton Marsalis, Joe Cool's Blues (Columbia, 1995)
Victor Goines, Genesis (AFO Records, 1992)