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Music and the Creative Spirit

Ken Vandermark: The Passion and Ascension of a Brilliant Mind

By Published: April 28, 2009
I went through a two-year period where people weren't playing with me when I first arrived in Chicago. That has motivated me to help younger musicians as much as I can because I had a very difficult time when I was first here. I still remember what it was like to not have those opportunities very, very clearly. I have also encountered a lot of things over the last year that has kind of brought this question to the forefront. Two very close friends were diagnosed with cancer and, thankfully; both seem to have made a full recovery. But when someone ten years younger than you is potentially going to die, it really drives some things home. Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
Mats Gustafsson
b.1964
reeds
took nearly a half a year off to take stock in what he wanted to do. Peter Kowald
Peter Kowald
Peter Kowald
1944 - 2002
bass, acoustic
passed away before anyone expected and it seemed like he would live forever. And it's strange; I don't have a good answer for what drives me. Maybe it's a type of fatalism along with the knowledge that people I'm close to are going to be disappearing. I feel this overwhelming weight that there's not enough time with a horrible sense of dread that I'll be shut off from all these things that could have been if I had taken the time to do them. And maybe it's fear, but there is something in me that really makes me overly conscious that life is pretty ephemeral. I don't want to be in a position where I've regretted not taking a chance and have not participated in the day.

Photo Credit

Top by Klaus Muempfer

Bottom by Mizuho Yabe


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