I wrote this song this morning for Kate, called “Love Is a Constant Struggle”
I assure you this is not a bizarro, public way of acknowledging relationship friction, quite the contrary. It relates to a recent lecture I attended at Wesleyan called “Freedom Is A Constant Struggle.”
My biggest “eureka” moment as a budding jazz musician (or, to be accurate, the moment when I decided I needed to BE a budding jazz musician and not just a dabbler) came the first time I heard “Magical Trio 2″ by James Williams, like the moment in the “Wizard of Oz” where it goes from black & white to color – in a flash I heard everything I wanted music to be, all in one place. If life were just, the Soulful Mister Williams would’ve been 65 today.
I was a teenage Deadhead. Well, sort of . . .
What if the notion of failure lost its context? What if the seemingly paradoxical pursuit of the unattainable became, in and of itself, the ultimate goal? Welcome to my life.
As a musician, it is a treat whenever the opportunity arises to play with someone who brings out your best. It is, however, a rare and special confluence when you can play with someone who brings out a “best” that you otherwise wouldn’t have even known was in there. So it has gone for ten years now with the members of my Trio, Henry Lugo and Vinnie Sperrazza.
One of the core ensembles on Ripples, the Jazz Samaritan Alliance, was borne out of a simple desire for community and collective action. In 2012 I set about assembling a collective of like-minded peers committed both to quality music and the responsibility to use music as a force for good.
Jazz with “crossover instruments” (especially strings) is a tricky endeavor – the music needs to be played accurately, in-tune and so on, but also needs to have the rhythm and phrasing that make it soulful and authentic. It is, however, less tricky with the right people and I was fortunate to have those people for the Ripples trio-plus-chamber session in Meg Okura, Zach Brock, Benjamin Fingland, Erica von Kleist and the chamber-MVP, Dave Eggar.
A profile of the four fabulous young vocalists who contributed to the “Ripples” album
I will be writing plenty about the musicians who contributed to the making of the Ripples album, but here I want to give a shout-out to all the other folks whose work on producing the album was essential to bringing it to fruition.
Mother’s Day is here, and it is a time of celebration and acknowledgment for some (most?) and a time of bringing difficulty into sharp relief for others. I am certainly not advocating that those who are experiencing the telephone-commercial version enjoy their day one iota less. Quite the contrary, taking a moment to empathize with those who are dealing with loss should only enhance the edict to enjoy and savor each moment of love and togetherness.