this is what I like.
I guess when you’re fifty you’re supposed to like this stuff, but I’ve liked it since I was oh, about eight years old.
I can remember about second grade trying to pick out a Duke Ellington tune on the piano — Satin doll. Still adore this tune. There was just something about swing that called to me and still does. Maybe because I’ve got that swing rhythm going on all the time. Don’t know if some are born with it, but I really don’t remember not having that beat permeate my body.
When I was in college, I finally got a chance to really talk about jazz and swing in particular. There were actually other kids who didn’t think I was nuts to listen to hours of Duke Ellington, and there was one guy, David, in the music department who was a few years older than the rest of us, and I really loved talking to him. He’s the one who gave me a much broader perspective of jazz and turned me onto Dave Bruebeck, Joe Pass and I don’t even remember who else. He even took me to see a jazz concert that featured Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Brown and Joe Pass. I can still hear it. What a treat. David also had great stories about his time on the road as a jazz drummer, and he could play any instrument and well. I didn’t know anyone other than my dad who really could do that, so David was pretty special in my eyes.
But what I really spent time doing was playing jazz. I probably played at least four hours a day, and it was tough to get that time in when I was going to school and working and had a lousy piano at home. So I used to sneak into the practice rooms at school until a music major would kick me out. Most of the time they didn’t care if I was in there doing the odd hours that no one wanted, and I didn’t mind weird hours if it meant I got to play those concert grands.
And now, thirty plus years have passed, and I haven’t played so much the last few, but I’m being inspired by, of all things, YouTube. Yes, I have loved listening to Mel, and Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk and on and on. But I’ve been inspired to play by 7notemode, davebeeboss, lot2learn and several others. They have made me think about playing in a way that I only dreamed about in my 20s. Thank you, guys!