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Jimmy Haslip: Amperes Beyond the BASSics, Part 2

Jim Worsley By

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I take on many projects and am always focused on what is next and how we can do it better. I have never and will never rest on my laurels. I get up in the morning, put my pants on, and see three Grammys on my dresser. It doesn't make me want to kick back and smoke a cigar. —Jimmy Haslip
In case you missed it, Part One of my conversation with Jimmy Haslip covered a lot of ground and had a few good laughs along the way. Although we talked about the Yellowjackets, we delved more deeply into why and how he parted ways with the band some eight years ago. Haslip has been producing records for a number of years now. We spoke about the "other side of the glass'" and specifically about a few of those projects. Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Lorber, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, and Oz Noy are just a few of the many great artists he has played with that we got into. If you are interested in the powerful fusion band Jing Chi, that features Vinnie Colaiuta and Robben Ford, as well as Haslip, I again refer to Part One for the latest cool news on that front. We went back to his childhood, growing up in New York on Long Island. A man that gives back, he shared his involvement with two very important medical projects that he is aligned with. And yes, we already covered the phenomenon that is playing bass left-handed and upside down. and the impact that another left handed guitarist has had on his life. You may be familiar with the name Jimi Hendrix. That too led to conversation about his early career playing rock with the likes of Dave Mason, Rod Stewart, Tommy Bolin, and many more. Did you know he played trumpet all the way though high school? Yes, that's in Part One as well.

So what's left for Part Two? For one thing, much more rich laughter. In particular with a great story involving Arturo Sandoval, and another centering around John McLaughlin. On a more serious note, Haslip graced us with heartfelt story about his father. This was precipitated by beginning to discuss his own records as a leader., which we did in depth. As much as Holdsworth was mentioned in Part One, his music, his legacy, his personality, his compositional style, and much more is detailed here in Part Two. Colaiuta is given the once over as well. We then got into early fusion. Records that floated his boat from the inception and still inspire him today.. Oh, there is so much more. The Jaco Pastorius Big Band, Renegade Creation, other current projects both on the playing and producing fronts, and then Led Zeppelin came flying in out of nowhere! We had a great time talking and laughing about all this stuff. I surely hope that vibe translates over to the written word and that you are able to have fun with it as well.

All About Jazz: Hey Jimmy, thanks for round two. As much ground as we covered in Part One, there is so much more. I wanted to start today with talking about your own records as a leader. Red Heat (Unitone, 2000) is a record that infused your Puerto Rican roots into the mix. I have to say that personally I find it to be perhaps the most moving record you have ever done. What can you share with us about that record?

Jimmy Haslip: There was a lot going on at that time. My dad wasn't doing so well. Part of what inspired that record was over the years my dad talking to me about doing a Latin flavored record with the Yellowjackets. Of course, as a collaborative group it would be sort of difficult to impose a direction like that with the band. I remember telling my dad that maybe some individual pieces could be in that Latin music genre but not a whole record. In reality I suppose it could have been an interesting idea that the Jackets could have done a record like that. I did bring it up a few times, but it didn't seem to be something that the band wanted to do. With that I had written some things that were definitely Latin. At one point I wanted to get a decent demo of three things that I had written. I was working with Joe Vannelli, the older brother of Gino Vannelli.

AAJ: The pianist, yeah.

JH: Right. Joe and I had been doing some things and at one point I approached him about helping me do serious demos of three pieces of music. Joe was into the idea, so I played him the songs. We exchanged some ideas on them and within about a week we had really nice versions of these songs. Now I needed to get the project motivated and maybe get some funding and try to put out a release. I had no budget at that point. The next thing that happened is that I was out to dinner with my wife at a very nice restaurant and I ran into a pianist I knew, and still know very well, by the name of John Beasley. You're familiar with him, right?

AAJ: The Beaz, absolutely. He has done a staggering amount of great and varied work. I had the pleasure of interviewing him last year not long before International Jazz Day (of which he is the musical director). Nice guy, very talented guy.

JH:Great guy, very talented. We talked for a minute before we were ready to head back to our respective tables and he says, "Hey man, are you working on anything, are you working on a deal with a record company or anything like that? I said, "Funny you should ask, I would like to work on a record that I have started on." He ended up hooking me up with a company that he was doing a record for at the time called Unitone. This company was owned by a guy named Patrick Leonard, a keyboard player from Chicago. He has some success with Madonna and then he started his own label with some other industry people. Most specifically with a guy named Tom Trumbo, who I already knew and had worked with in the past. I set up a meeting with Leonard and Trumbo. After listening to the three tracks, they just kind of looked at me and said, "we want to make this record with you." So, I guess they were impressed. They funded the record. I happily went back to Joe Vannelli to tell him we had some money and that we could do the record. We wrote some other pieces together and I had a couple of other things in the can. I also did a Vince Mendoza tune. I have always liked his work and have recorded more since. As you may have guessed, Red Heat ended up being a tribute to my dad. He did get to hear the record before he passed on.

AAJ: Oh, that's so great. I'm really happy to hear that.

JH: Yeah, he didn't get to see the whole package with the artwork and everything, that I would like to tell you about, but he heard it.

AAJ: He heard the music. That's what really matters.

JH: Yeah, basically everything that is on that record, even song title wise, has something to do with my dad and his relationship with my mom. When you do a project like that it is a lot deeper than just putting notes on a piece of paper.

AAJ: Yes, in this case I would say much more so.

JH: I appreciate that, Jim. I put a lot of energy into this record because of circumstance. That's something I learned as a solo artist, that it has to really mean something. You can't just throw a bunch of fluff together and call it a record, put it out, and hope for the best. That mentality is also put into how I produce records. I don't always have control over the direction or what the music is expressing but I always try to inject some deeper quality into the project. Any project that I work on hopefully has some level of deepness and some pertinent expression. When I am producing other people I, of course, can't immerse my feelings as deeply as I would on my own records. But when I do a solo project, or even with groups that I am part of, there is going to be a deeper hold on what the record expresses and how I feel about it. For me it's about trying to put out music that hopefully has a deeper sense to it. That's always my objective. Such as the case, obviously, with Red Heat. Then I did another record with Joe Vannelli that had a lot of emotion to it.

AAJ: That would be Nightfall (VIE, 2010)?

JH: Yes. A family member was very ill at the time and I was going through so many emotions. It just poured into the music. As for Red Heat, concluding on that, I am always humbled by the support and comments I have received from people around the world. There is always a focus put into a record. I have no interest in just writing a bunch of songs and doing a record just for the sake of doing a record. I'm glad that you picked up on that and got something out of it.

AAJ: Absolutely. There is a lot of passion and personal feelings there that are well beyond the nuts and bolts aspect of music. If you really listen, you can hear it and feel it. Not everyone has that level of passion and depth, much less being able to channel it into the form that you do. To me, it's an important part of why what you do works so well.

JH: I appreciate that comment and your grasp of my music. I also would like to share that there is a photo inside of Red Heat that is of my dad holding a guitar in a group of people on a ship. He was in the Merchant Marines during World War Two. He was only about twenty-five years old at the time. It was a ship mostly of Puerto Ricans sailors that were bringing supplies from New York Harbor over to Europe for the troops. In the picture you see one guy with some bongos and another guy with some maracas. The artist that did this photo for the record was able to highlight my dad and have the others kind of fade into a sepia tone. There is an incredible story of the ship being torpedoed and my dad being the only survivor. Off the shore of Massachusetts, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and the entire crew perished with the sinking of that ship. The reason that my dad was the only survivor was that his first child was born, who would have been my oldest brother, and the child contracted meningitis. So, they gave my dad sick leave to be with my mom and my oldest brother, who didn't survive. He died when he was two years old.

AAJ: Very sorry, Jimmy. That's an incredible story.

JH: He had a very close friend on that ship. They both had these rings. I remember the ring so well, because my dad never took it off. It had his friend's initials on it in calligraphy. Likewise, my dad's initials were on a ring on his friend's hand. They deemed the rings to be "good luck" rings. His friend had taken the ring off to wash his hands that morning and forgot to put it back on. My dad always believed that the tragedy occurred because he forgot to put the ring back on.

AAJ: Oh, man. That's a very special personal story. Thanks for sharing it, Jimmy.

JH: My pleasure, Jim. Including that photo in the package is an example of the deeper expression involved in the project and the music. And that is the full story behind Red Heat.

AAJ: Thank you very much for that. The Latin sound is perhaps a bit complicated in its juxtaposition to the genre of fusion you are most associated with. But Nightfall had some of that as well.

JH: Yeah. It was a continuation of sorts that also got into a world beat sort of thing. When I was in the Jackets all those years exploring the ways of writing tunes and putting records together, we got involved in listening to a lot of ethnic music and indigenous music from all around the world. With all that experience I sort of became an amateur musicologist. Listening to and loving groups like Weather Report supported those different directions.

AAJ: I dove headfirst into Red Heat, but your first solo record was actually Arc (GRP, 1993). A very fine record with contributions from many talented artists including Randy Brecker, Joshua Redman, and John Scofield. More recently, and with a different ensemble, you recorded ARC Trio (Blue Canoe, 2018). What is the correlation between these two records?

JH: Fortunately, a lot of people liked that first record I did back in the nineties. I was indeed making a connection to the vibe of that earlier record with ARC Trio, which I did with Scott Kinsey and Gergo Borlai. Vinnie Colaiuta, and Gary Novak are on the record as well.

AAJ: That seems like an awful lot of guys for a trio record. But then math never was my strong suit.

JH: (laughing) Well, that's how it turned out (laughing between each word). It actually did start out as a trio project. It really did! (laughing harder) But as it wore on, Vinnie and Gary got involved. Ultimately there was a saxophonist (Steve Tavaglione) and a trumpet player (Judd Miller) that played an electric valve instrument (now laughing hysterically as we were now up to six players on a trio record).

AAJ: (laughing) No, I understand that you had a core band and then added elements along the way that broadened the scope.

JH: Probably the biggest unifying factor is the music of Vince Mendoza. Vince has a very unique style. I like the way he writes music. We are going to continue the Arc project with a follow up record. But that is on the back burner for now.

AAJ: More to look forward to down the road. You mentioned before your great respect and admiration for Allan Holdsworth and how much you enjoyed playing with him. I imagine that Holdsworth is someone you enjoy talking about. I suppose I can ask the generic question, what was it that made him so special? Guessing you have been asked that about a million times, so really feel free to just expand on Allan and share what is in your head and heart.

JH: Well, I had been a fan of his for a long time and we had crossed paths on several occasions. We kind of new each other in passing. He was always very kind. He had a very gentle personality, unless got him pissed off, but then that goes with anybody. He was very gentle and very humble. Almost to the extreme, almost painfully humble. He had this very serious deep understanding of life. There were some sad things that had happened to him as a child. I'm not sure, but there was something extraordinarily deep rooted in his personality. That was all part of the musician he became. Sometimes people might have something unfortunate that happened to them, but the reality is if you can pull though it all it makes you stronger. That's the concept and it may push you in to places that other people wouldn't normally go. In my opinion, he was very intelligent in the way he expressed his music and the way he looked at music. How music was structured in his conceptual expression. He had a genus way of organizing the way he played and how he played. It was very unique to him. I know that there are people out there that tried to emulate that and there always would be. When someone is so incredible, of course students of music are drawn to that particular artist, they are going to try to emulate him. That's all part of the education of being a musician. You have to learn something from somebody else. Hopefully you are learning things from someone as extraordinary and exceptional as Allan was. I always felt, and I have discussed this with other musicians that played with Allan, that when I got on stage with him that an extraordinary event was going to happen. All within his music, how he performed it and how he expressed. It was always awe inspiring. He had a huge cult following and he still does. I always felt like when I was on stage with him that I was in a very special place. I had a way of experiencing that didn't create any kind of ego on my part. It was more of learning and accepting that I was in with a set of very unique musicians. I was able to express myself within that and contribute to what was going on. With that, you walk away with a sense of extreme satisfaction and also wanting to learn more and become a better musician. It was an experience I will never forget. I think about it often. I felt that his music was other worldly. I really got to channel some very extraordinary music playing with Allan and playing with his drummers. I mostly did trio concerts with Allan with an incredible drummer like Chad Wackerman, who is fantastic to play with. We also played with Gary Husband, who is also an incredible pianist. Virgil Donati is another amazing drummer that I played with the most. Those guys are all exceptional and all brought different voices to the table. That's another facet of my career is that I have had the opportunity to play with a few hundred talented drummers and percussionists. As a bassist, my team partner is the drummer and/or the percussionist. That's the bottom end of the rhythm section and it's the part that is supportive of everything else.

AAJ: You have very eloquently stated Holdsworth's epic talent, personality and place in history. On the back end you were referencing the drummers. It really does make a huge difference whether you have the precision of Wackerman or the power of Donati or whoever the drummer is, doesn't it? They, as you said, "brought different voices to the table." Even though Holdsworth is holding center stage as the focal point, the specific drummer, of for that matter bassist, has a huge impact on the on how a song is projected to an audience.

JH: Oh yeah very much so. The bass chair is equally important, as you say, in the dynamics of what is being delivered. There were some other incredible bass players like Jimmy Johnson, Ernest Tibbs, Anthony Crawford, and Jeff Berlin. All those guys, including myself, are all different. No doubt you're familiar with their work, right?

AAJ:Yeah, those different mixes are a big part of what keeps it even more interesting. Still, at the end of the day, Holdsworth did some things that pushed the edge of comprehension. As far as personal familiarity, I should say that I have not had the opportunity to hear Crawford play live, if I implied that I did. The others for sure. Berlin pops into my head playing with Scott Henderson and Dennis Chambers. With Tibbs, I immediately think of Simon Phillips and Protocol. As for Johnson, the Steve Gadd Band, James Taylor, Michael Landau, off the top of my head.

JH: I figured as much. The thing with Allan was that even on his record you can hear things and be thinking how the hell is that happening?

AAJ: Yeah, like how did he even do that?

JH: Yeah, Jim, sometimes I couldn't understand what he did. I could kind of hear harmonically what was going on. But even with that I would need to study to really grasp what had happened. He would play some things that were not normal. He stared out on the violin.

AAJ: Oh, now that's interesting and all at once makes sense in his progressions.

JH: It does make a lot of sense in that he approached it like a violin. One funny thing about Allan that I always loved (laughing) is that he would say that "he hated playing the guitar." (laughing harder at the thought). Any other guitarist that would hear him say that would walk away completely stunned. But he, himself, would say that he wished he played a different instrument (still laughing).

AAJ: That's crazy (now laughing as well). That's like Peter Erskine saying he doesn't like the drums.

JH: Yeah exactly(laughing) Like, I'm stuck with them. I guess I'll do the best I can (laughing). No, but that was the ironic thing about Allan. He didn't take himself that seriously, at least on the surface. Like I said before, he was amazingly humble about all of it and you know it wasn't just his playing, which of course was astonishing, but also the way he wrote music was on a whole other level. Just harmonically and in how he put things together with melodies and chords, and how he structured the music. I got a deeper sense of that in working with him and it was mind blowing. At the same time, it was almost like liberating in a way. He had such an open-minded way of looking at music. He didn't really rely on rules of structure that you might learn at music school. It was uniquely his own way of fashioning music. I found that to be extremely inspiring.

AAJ: Processing his music in one's head as a listener is one experience, but it had to be something else to see it on paper and the process of making it.

JH: You know, Jim, he did things so uniquely that he created his own way of writing chords and harmony. They were more like chord charts. But the chord symbols were things that he made up. They weren't traditional chord symbols. I remember seeing a few things that he had written down so that he would remember what scales he was using. He had his own way of writing symbols for certain scales. He made up his own language.

AAJ: Wow, that really is just a whole other level of thinking and conceptualizing music. There are so many great records. We have been talking about trios. A personal favorite is the quartet collaboration, Blues for Tony (MoonJune, 2009) that also included Alan Pasqua and Chad Wackerman. That had to be special both musically, and in the opportunity to pay tribute to the incomparable Tony Williams.

JH: That was a really fun project. I saw Tony Williams play live a number of times and it was off the hook. Not many drummers can play like that, if any. He was a very special musician. The ironic thing for me personally is that I was really into the record Believe It (Columbia, 1975).

AAJ: Yes, for my money the best fusion record ever made. I love that record.

JH: I got that record and it just blew me away. I was visiting my family in New York and I noticed that his band was playing at a club not too far from my parent's house. They were playing multiple night and I went every night. I went there to see Tony Williams but was blown away by the whole band. I had never heard a guitarist like Holdsworth before. The band and, individual musicianship, was awe inspiring. Shortly after that I went on tour with guitarist Tommy Bolin We ended up doing several gigs opening up for that band, Tony Williams Lifetime. That's when I met Alan Pasqua and we became friends. I met Tony and Tony Newton, but I didn't meet Holdsworth. Pasqua and I hung out in L.A. a bit and stayed in touch and then out of the blue in 2002 I got a phone call from him. Holdsworth and Pasqua had a tour set up in Europe which originally was to include Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Alphonso Johnson on bass. Vinnie ended up on tour with Jeff Beck.

AAJ: Imagine that(laughing)

JH: Right(laughing). Johnson became ill and couldn't do the tour. So, they got Chad Wackerman and they asked if I was available. Fortunately, I was.

AAJ: Guessing you would have made yourself available (laughing).

JH: Yeah, I did move a couple of things around and made it work (laughing). We had a couple of rehearsals here in Los Angeles and went out on tour for a month. We came back and played some dates in the United States. One was at Yoshi's (Oakland CA) for five nights, ten shows. Chad came up with the idea of filming it and maybe turning it into a DVD. We all chipped in. We had no record company, no budget. We brought in a company from Austin, Texas that at the time was called Altitude Digital. They brought in like seven cameras and a pro tools rig. So, they filmed with seven cameras and recorded us multitracked. We made the DVD, which is called Live at Yoshi's. That made some noise. Not too long after that we did another short European tour. Kind of funny, we ended up doing some shows that were like live streams for example on German radio or television or whatever it was. We also did it in Italy, Switzerland and I think somewhere in Scandinavia. At the end of each night a guy would hand Pasqua a CD of that night's show. Pasqua would just throw it in to his gig bag of cables thinking he would never listen to them. When he got home, he fished out of the bag eight or nine cds of shows that we had played. He was contemplating throwing them all in the garbage can (laughing) and curiosity got the better of him and he put one on and it blew his mind. It was like record quality. He ended up going through all nine cds meticulously and then reached out to us all. He told us that he had about ten versions of songs that were pretty exquisite and would be great to make a cd out of. That ended up being the record Blues for Tony.

AAJ: Very interesting just how exceedingly different those two live recordings were done. After the planning and cost in producing Live at Yoshi's to have Blues for Tony to be basically served up on a platter like that is amazing. Not surprisingly, within the variant manners in which they were produced the recordings are quite different, but both really great. I had a chance to talk to Pasqua recently and he shared a lot of fascinating insight on Williams. It was very cool since his voice was sadly silenced over twenty years ago (Tony Williams passed away in 1997). Pasqua said that "although the project was a tribute it then emerged into its own entity." It was four highly talented fusion musicians getting into a zone, really going for it, and becoming its own body of work.

JH: Yeah, that's exactly what happened. The original intent was to tribute Tony Williams and that continued to be the intent. But at the same time a group of musicians grew together chemistry wise. It was a beautiful chemistry and we created a sound that was unique to the four of us. It actually did become, as Pasqua said, "its own entity." It was one of several incredible learning sessions with Allan Holdsworth. Having it in conjunction with Tony Williams memory just made it more special.

AAJ: It's special just to think and talk about Williams and the second great Miles Davis Quintet and all of that.

JH: Yeah, it really is. Here's a funny story for you. We were slated for this position at the Monterey Jazz Festival many years ago. We were opening up for the Miles Legacy, which in addition to Miles Davis, had Tony Williams, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard. There was supposed to be another band play before us. A three-band line-up on the main stage. The opening act was to be Arturo Sandoval. They had us at the dressing rooms fairly early because I guess they just wanted everybody around and ready to go. It was comfortable, we were just hanging out in our dressing room at this beautiful facility when the promoter came over and said they were in kind of a jam. He told us that he didn't have time to talk to management about it but was hoping we could go on a bit earlier and play a little longer. He said we didn't really have time to talk about adjustments to our fee right now but that we would figure that out later. So naturally we were asking what was going on. He said, "well, Arturo Sandoval's band is here but that Arturo Sandoval flew to Monterrey, Mexico."

AAJ: (laughing hysterically) Oh my gosh, that is too funny. He got the wrong Monterey!

JH: (laughing) He got the wrong Monterey. That's exactly right (laughing harder at the memory). He was unable to attend. The promoter was kind of freaked out.

AAJ: Yeah, I can imagine so.

JH: There was a full house and a bunch of Arturo Sandoval fans I'm sure. We were straight ahead guys, talking about Russell Ferrante, Bob Mintzer, Will Kennedy, and myself. We just looked at him and said that we would do whatever needs to be done. We were glad to be there at that incredible festival. We were honored to be part of it. He was grateful to us and did adjust our fee. We didn't expect that, but it was a very sweet thing to do. The guy had to go out and make the announcement that Arturo wasn't going to be performing and that the Yellowjackets would come on earlier and play a longer set. People seemed to be fine with that. They got us and then they got the incredible group with Miles Davis and company. We were just about done with our set and I happened to look over and I saw all those guys standing by the side of the stage checking us out. The first thing that comes to my mind is that they are thinking it was about time to get these guys out of here and get some real musicians on the stage. That thought rolled through my head. But when we were walking off the stage, they all gave us thumbs up. They were impressed. They seemed very excited about what they heard.

AAJ: That had to feel good coming from those guys.

JH: Yeah, it sure did. It was just an uplifting experience to see that we were appreciated by those guys. Those guys are my idols.

AAJ: Well, yeah. That's as high up as it gets. The best of the best.

JH: Yeah, so I had the biggest smile on my face for the rest of that week, or maybe even a month. I just thought the world of that. It didn't go to my head, but it certainly was a boost.

AAJ: It's one thing to please the audience. But you are really doing something right to impress those guys.

JH: Yeah, that's a whole different level. We were getting good vibes from others as well. Joe Zawinul was not the easiest guy on the planet to impress or get a compliment from, but he was very appreciative of the Yellowjackets. It gave us confidence that we were doing a good thing, or as you said it, the right thing. We were very appreciative but weren't about to rest on our laurels.

AAJ: More like you knew you were in a great groove so take that confidence into what comes next.

JH: Exactly, Jim. Not only what is next but how can we do it better. I have never or will never rest on my laurels. I get up in the morning, put my pants on, and see three Grammys on my dresser. It doesn't make me want to kick back and smoke a cigar.

AAJ: Guessing it's more like motivation to roll up your sleeves and go to work.

JH: That's exactly right. I am moving forward with a lot of production projects right now and I want to make them as good as can be. I challenge myself by taking on a lot of projects and I want all of them to be great.

AAJ: Another legend that you have played with a lot is Colaiuta. On a particularly brilliant night, even by his standards, playing with Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke, James Genus, and Terrace Martin at the Balboa Theater in San Diego, Herbie's introduction of Vinnie, and I paraphrase, was along the line of a handful of drummers being at the top or close to the top of the mountain. Shaking his head and clearly just blown away, he described Vinnie as more like hovering high above the mountain in a class by himself.

JH: I agree with that. There are other drummers I enjoy playing with for various reasons though. But Vinnie is something special. The way he approaches grooves and how he plays the instrument is very unique. There aren't many people I would put in the same arena, if any at all. Although I just recently did a bunch of shows with Dave Weckl, who maybe you can't put him in the same place as Vinnie. He probably wouldn't put himself in that place. But Dave is such a consummate professional and the way he approaches music is relentless. It's unbelievable how committed he is. What makes Vinnie different is his creativeness and how he approaches things from out of the blue in different ways, but still holds it together. I have known and been playing with Vinnie since he came to Los Angeles in 1978. In some ways he plays things that other drummers would think is impossible.

AAJ: Yeah, like you think there are two drummers out there.

JH: Yes. I also have been in the studio with a lot of drummers. That's a whole different ballpark. There's another drummer I am working with now that is on this level. He would be the first to say that Vinnie is the one who is hovering above the mountain. His name is Gergo Borlai. He is from Budapest. He is on that peak, working at that level. But Vinnie, yeah, he is just wired differently. He had great respect for Tony Williams. I would say that if Tony was still alive, he would be up there too.

AAJ: Yeah, Colaiuta and Williams would be hovering together

JH: They would be, yes, I think so. But you know I have been fortunate to play with so many great drummers. I have played with Steve Gadd, Simon Phillips, Peter Erskine, Virgil Donati, Chad Wackerman, Gary Husband, Gergo Borlai, Dave Weckl, and so many more. I played with Billy Cobham, who at one time was "the" guy. As far as Vinnie is concerned, he would tell you that Tony Williams was "the" guy. Tony was very much his hero.

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