Focus on your craft and refuse to be denied...
Richie Pratt, musician
By Chris Burnett
It is always helpful to have a mentor available during one's life and career as a working professional musician. The subject of this particular musing is my oldest brother, Richie Pratt, a life-long musician, composer, and great human being. He is one of those unsung heroes, who have probably been heard on countless recordings or sessions, but no one knows their names - and that fact doesn't bother him in the least.
Pratt is the quintessential jazz musician, a person who is sincerely at peace with himself and others in the world around him. Music is his life and life seems to parallel his music, as much as it is necessary for him to breath air in order to live. His career and adventures in music to this point should also provide encouragement to others of us as well.
About Richie Pratt
When Kansas City area native, Richie Pratt embarked upon a career as a professional musician on the New York scene in the early 1970s, it was as much due to unanticipated intervention as anything else.
Pratt was born to a musical family and raised at Olathe, Kansas. He studied music and attended various music camps during his formative years as a youth. Eventually growing to around 6'2" and a muscular 300lbs, he attended the University of Kansas under a full four-year scholarship to play varsity football.
During his football career at KU, Pratt was a starting Tackle (KU All-Time Letterman, 1963-65) on the Jayhawk football team (blocking for NFL Hall of Fame running back, Gayle Sayers)! However, Pratt never stopped playing music. He also performed as a percussionist in the jazz, wind and orchestra ensembles while attending KU.
Upon leaving college, he was initially drafted by the New York Giants professional football team. In 1970, Pratt suffered a career ending knee injury prior to the start of his second season with the Giants and left football for good.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!