One of the best things about getting to tour the country this month, is getting to reconnect with many people who I've met in other situations, and bringing them all together. Nothing is more special to me than getting to meet up with previous mentors, and ESPECIALLY to be able to connect with mentors musically!
This week I was fortunate to be able to reconnect with the man that really introduced me to jazz through the music of Duke Ellington. When I was in the 10th grade, I had no real clue what jazz really was, and then I joined the newly started Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra directed by Dr. Howard Potter. Doctor Potter opened up the doors for me to explore jazz, and ignited a fire that hasn't gone out since!
Just recently he relocated from Rochester, NY to Stillwater, OK to be the Music Department Head at Oklahoma State University. I had no idea until just a few weeks ago! I had met Paul and Lanette Compton (the Trombone and Horn Professors at OSU) on a trip to Argentina back in 2013 to the TROMBONANZA festival, and Paul was kind enough to have me in while I was passing through this week! All the stars aligned here, and we were able to put on a super fun concert with the OSU Jazz Bone Ensemble, and Doc and I played two tunes duo on the concert. That was so special. Doc helped me first start navigating chord changes, told me about recordings to check out, gave me my first jazz gigs, and was just so supportive of all of us during that time! Who knows what I would have been doing had he not entered my life at that time.
I wanted to share this story and some pictures, here on the blog:
Not to mention some of the other great moments this week... Also a man I met at the TROMBONANZA festival, coordinated a very relaxed hang at the University of Oklahoma where many of the area High School aged trombonists got to hear the OU Trombone Choir, and we had a great chat about music, life and entrepreneurship. Dr. Wagner is a LEGEND in the trombone world. He studied with one of the most important trombonists in the history of the trombone - Emory Remington. Coincidentally Remington is also from Rochester, NY and taught trombone at the Eastman School of Music where Dr. Wagner also attended! It is such a small world! I'm super thankful he let me pick his brain for awhile about trombone and brass pedagogy... Here's a few more pictures from the events last night at OU
And to start this week I finally got a chance to visit my old friend Chris Teal at his new digs in Fayetteville, AR! Chris is a passionate music educator, percussionist and a great friend (www.christeal.com), and he was nice enough to setup some performances with his new colleagues at the University of Arkansas! Thanks Guys!
These are some moments that make touring great. Can't express my gratitude enough. THANK YOU GUYS!
More to come - I write this now from the MSP airport en route to Flagstaff, AZ where I will be the guest artist at the Northern Arizona University Jazz Festival, along with two great friends of mine from NYC - Lucas Pino and Roxy Coss!
It's going to be a fun weekend - see you on Sunday at THE NASH as the #Hear&Now Tour Rolls on....