I am now at a stage where I am finding melodies and harmonies along the pitch continuum that 'ring true' with me. I have discovered realms of emotion and consciousness through pitch-flexible music that I never reached when limited to 12 notes. When all possibilities of pitch are integrated, the music opens its embrace to include all sound, all emotion, all feeling. Borders and judgments melt into a realm where all is accepted as part of the current manifestation of the creation. And then! It reaches full circle: equal temperament becomes a singular, beautiful symbol in 12 sections; another, equally viable system, integrated among the vast array of the world's musical cultures and another playground for humankind's endless genius and boundless creativity. For in the end, it is not the notes that we play, but our spirit, mind, and humanness that inform the music we make.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.