Thinking, hoping, learning day by day

It’s been a really busy few weeks… the NWJCO is about to release our 3rd CD entitled Breaking News and I think it’s our best one yet. That said, it’s a lot of work! For the first time I’m trying to use a publicist to assist in getting the word out as I feel that the band and this music deserves a wider audience and PR is not a strong point of mine. (as evidenced by my very inconsistent posts here…). The band now consists of: Felipe Salles-woodwinds, Ken Cervenka and Walt Platt-brass, Tim Ray-piano, Keala Kaumeheiwa-acoustic bass, Mark Walker-drumset and Ernesto Diaz-percussion.  The disc has music by Walter and Felipe as well as a really great Trilogy of pieces by my partner in crime, friend and musical muse Ted Pease, Richard Lowell, Jeff Friedman (with a poem by Paul Haines read by my beautiful and articulate daughter Catherine!), Matthew Nicholl and I’m really thrilled to be bringing this music to the public.  It’s been busy getting the T’s crossed and I’s dotted along with all of life’s other distractions/responsibilities/callings.  I’m thrilled about being so busy and it’s often a challenge as it is for many people to balance of the details but so far so good!

SO much I want to elaborate on here but I wanted to take a quick moment to share a conversation I had with an old friend over the weekend and how much it meant to me: A week ago I had the pleasure and privilege (as I’ve had for many years now) of performing with Pablo Ablanedo’s Octet.  We were featured at the annual Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 24th downtown Boston. I happened to see an old friend Paul Lilla who is one of the most knowledgeable and supportive jazz fans I know in New England. Small world but his son was a student of mine over 17 years ago at Boston University in a popular Jazz History survey class I taught there for 3 years. Paul was there with a friend and his son and we struck up conversation while listening to the legendary Louis Hayes’ Tribute to Cannonball Adderley Quartet (Vincent Herring, you sounded great man, and Louis is still swingin’ his butt off…). It was so wonderful to see him and catch up with him and his son’s family.  I gave him a copy of the NWJCO’s last CD Transitions as a token of my friendship and appreciation for who he is and his love and support of the music. Thursday night I received a phone message from him telling me how much he was enjoying the disc and had some questions and comments for me and would I take a moment to call him back. To make a long story short, when we finally got to chat over the weekend Paul was full of complements and had some very insightful questions and comments but really raved about the quality of the playing, the music and all. I was touched very deeply by his words. I often struggle personally (as perhaps many of us do) with what I do day to day as a musician and his words gave me a real lift and sense of accomplishment. For me the moral was to believe in what you do, no matter how trivial or unimportant it may seem in the grand scheme of things. Your actions are important and necessary in our short lifetimes. They make a difference. Believe and persevere, it is this day to day commitment to life makes adds depth to our souls, our society, our culture, our families, our communities. I think Gandhi said something to the effect  “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”  I feel my efforts and my beliefs are beginning to come closer together and I’m becoming less afraid to pursue what I believe in.  Pursue your dreams, do them honestly, they are important, no matter how big or how small.  Thanks Paul for listening and helping me to keep believing in what I do. Un abrazo….

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