It's been a great year for me and I'm thankful for the opportunities I had to go on the road and record with some great musicians this year.. This year I went to LA to perform with the Dave Holland Big Band, to perform in Cali, Maryland, and N.C with Christian Mcbride, to Moscow (for the first time) with the Vitaly Golavnev group, as well as a 5 week tour with Roy Haynes that took me to Finland, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Norway, Copenhagen, Spain and the UK.. I also recorded with Johnathan Blake and Ben Williams for recordings that should be released this next year!
I'm also thankful for the new friends I've made on the road as well as on the scene... I'm also thankful for those that we've lost this year. Unfortunately some amazing people that I met this year have left us. Mr. Sid Simmons, Mr. James Moody, and Ms. Trudy Pitts! They will truly be missed.
For those of you that don't know who Sid Simmons was, he was a great Philadelphian pianist that's best known for his work with Grover Washington, John Blake, and Gerald Veasley. He was also known for playing in the house band at Ortliebs jazz Club, supporting all of the great jazz musicians that have come through Philadelphia. I met Sid Simmons when I was only 11 years old. All I can say is he was one of the most supportive musicians I have ever met. He was always a very peaceful guy. He loved music and he loved people. Period. He was one of the most influential musicians I met coming up in Philly. Not only because he was an amazing pianist, but he was also an amazing human being. He was great to be around and was always positive. I feel as though part of who I am today is because of who he was.
James Moody was an amazing jazz saxophonist that is best known for his "Moody's Mood for Love" (There I go, THere I go,) and for his work with the great Dizzy Gillespie. I first met Moody when I was selected to participate in the Ravinia Jazz Summer Workshop in Illinois while I was studying at Berklee. He was also very positive and really loved music. I'll never forget the first day of the saxophone workshop in Ravinia. The first thing he did when he walked in the room was to ask all the students to take out a piece of manuscript and a paper and write some lines down for him to work on! LOL! He was always studying, and was willing to learn from anyone. That was one of the best lessons I've ever learned.
The Amazing Trudy Pitts was a great Jazz Organist from Philadelphia that was best known for her work with jazz guitarist Pat Martino. She's also recorded 4 records for Prestige records -
1967: Introducing the Fabulous Trudy Pitts (Prestige) with Pat Martino
1967: These Blues are Mine (Prestige)
1968: Bucket Full of Soul (Prestige)
1968: Excitement (Prestige)
Trudy was also very supportive and always gave very great advice. I think I rarely ever saw her without her husband. William Carney. I know he misses her truly.
I think I've learned a lot about love and humility from these people. The one thing I sometimes notice about musicians is humility is sometimes hard for some of us to address or attain. Sometimes the ego gets in the way.. or jealousy. And I've noticed how it can make it hard for some to actually love or enjoy the people. Some become less social or their ego gets so huge that they began to think they're above others.... And sometimes even their music or creative development suffers. And with this the Love for the music dies... I've also learned that Love, when it's real, is unconditional. It's real. We find it in the parent/s that raised us, and was there now just as they were when we were children. They call everyday to make sure we're ok and worry when they don't hear from you. We also find it in that friend that is always there for you and will have your back no matter what... without question. We also find it in the people that we may not see that often, but when we do, there's that sense of warmth and positivity that always lifts our spirits. And the feeling that time hasn't passed at all since you last saw that person. From these musicians, I've learned that it's so much more about what comes out of your heart, your real heart... Your honesty and sincerity as an individual, than what comes out of your instrument. It all comes down to Love in the end. The people can usually tell....
Trudy Pitts, James Moody, and Sid Simmons all had so much love that there was no time for ego or jealousy. They were all about helping people, teaching, supporting and learning from people. To quote Mr. Moody - "Nobody else in this world is no better than me, and I'm no better than anyone else". I am just so thankful to have learned from these people. And I wish so many more had that opportunity to do so. They will all stay in my heart for ever.
Lastly, I wasn't able to record my 3rd CD this year. I'm kinda back at square one with it and now may be on to another project all together. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'd like to wish you all Happy Holidays!! See you next year!