Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 [...]

May

May has come along rather quickly, and is the culmination of a year as chair of the USC Thornton Jazz program, numerous writing and playing projects, and the challenge of balancing travel/performing with teaching. This week I’m able to wind it all down and catch my breath before things heat up again. The year at [...]

Buddy

1975, New York City. I’m working with the TIto Puente Orchestra playing 6 or 7 nights a week in and around the 5 boroughs. The take home pay was 100 dollars per week. My monthly rent is 185 dollars for a small loft room on 28th street. The budget is tight, but I’m surviving and [...]

Grammys 2013

When I was doing session work in NYC I worked a few times for an arranger who played in the big bands of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. Most of the guys on the session were 15-20 years older than I. I had some quasi-soloing to do on one of the cues for a soap [...]

Guns and Self Destructive Behavior

From my experience guns are a drag. They primarily hurt and kill people and animals, seemingly for the sake of sport more than any good reason. To me the argument that it’s not availability of guns that is the problem, but rather the individuals who abuse the privilege, is not a viable argument. My experience [...]

Visiting China/USC

There’s nothing quite like visiting a country to see first hand how things work. Interacting with the people is far more comprehensive than hearing about that country vis a vie the media, which can be highly politicized and biased.   On this recent visit to China (Shanghai and Beijing) with the Yellowjackets we had the opportunity [...]

It’s been a while…

It’s been a minute since my last post. Chair duties at USC and traveling/writing have consumed all the hours in the day lately. Life continues to be interesting and challenging in good ways. Grateful to be here! USC is looking more promising by the day. I’m happy to have the chance to make a difference in [...]