Ken Vandermark: The Passion and Ascension of a Brilliant Mind
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 took nearly a half a year off to take stock in what he wanted to do. Peter Kowald 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.