Category Archives: Uncategorized

January 2016

Happy New Year! And what a year it was. Lots of music and interesting moments. Released an R and B Big Band cd Get Up! Recorded a new Yellowjackets cd (Cohearance due out 4/16), released a new etude book “Playing on the Changes” with Alfred Music, released a big band play along app on Fuzzy […]


During the last several weeks I have been traveling quite a lot. Long plane rides are a good time to review music, either new pieces that you need to learn for up-coming situations, or tunes that you might not have played for a while. You might even take a chord or series of chords and […]

The Making of Get Up!

  Get Up! is my 20th cd as a big band leader. Hard to believe that is 200 arrangements worth, and another 100 or so that I haven’t recorded on top of that. I feel like I am getting better at the whole process, and also see that there is lots more to learn and […]

Things to Think About: Handout for my USC students

  This is a beginning of semester handout I distributed to all our jazz freshmen and sophomores. My vision of what students of the music should be working on/thinking about. Hope you find it useful!   1. What a band leader looks for: Players who have a positive attitude, are respectful, communicative, encouraging, show up […]

November 2014

Interesting and troubling times we are living in. Whacked out weather patterns are hitting us in the face, suggesting that climate change is very real and upon us. Anything having to do with people of color, be it immigration reform, unreasonable treatment of people of color by the police, and basically anything a president of […]

George Coleman and Wayne Shorter

George Coleman and Wayne Shorter are two of my favorite saxophonists. They both played in the most important bands of Miles Davis, have strong personalities, are dynamic composers/improvisors., and made/make huge advances to further jazz music. Their approaches are somewhat different, yet they both take the music to a higher level every time they play. […]

What I’ve Learned

There’s a LOT more to learn. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Still working on that one! Some things that have happened defy explanation. For no viable reason, circumstances just went that way. Don’t expect people to act the way you act, or the way you think they should act. Try to make […]

Jazz Life @61

Just turned 61 2 weeks ago.  Grateful to have made it this far. Just celebrated my 40th year in the music business. It was 40 years ago I left Manhattan School of Music and joined Eumir Deodato’s band to tour the world. It’s been quite the wild ride, to say the least. Many things happened […]

William Kennedy

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play/record with some very good drummers over the years. Mel Lewis, Art Blakey, Buddy Rich, Tito Puente, Peter Erskine, Pete Laroca , John Riley, Steve Gadd, and Jack Dejonette to name a few. Will Kennedy is right up there with the best of them. In […]

Russell Ferrante

I’ve been meaning to write this column for a long time. Russell Ferrante is my band mate in the Yellowjackets for the last 23 years. He and I teach at the USC Thornton School of Music, and as of late, Russ has been playing in my big band. We’ve grown to be good friends, and our families […]