My love for music is something I picked up from my Father. Some of the fondest memories I have as a child include sitting in on jam sessions in the basement, singing along with my brother to some of my Dad’s old CD’s on car trips, and even the occasional guitar lesson which usually ended in mindless strumming. Once in a blue moon I’d even get a chance to see the old man perform, of course I don’t remember much of that other than wanting to be up there on stage myself someday. Thinking back on the days when I could see him up on stage, I realize that my Father sacrificed a lot for my brother and I to have the life we share today, including the stage. The days of the Bass soon gave way to the era of parent/teacher conferences and minivans. He never completely settled down though. To this day I still catch him jamming in the basement, just as sharp as the first time I saw him pick up a guitar. I believe that it was his love of music that pushed me to pursue it, and when I expressed my interest in taking up an instrument, he was more than happy to oblige.
The first formal education in music I received came from middle school. After a few forms I found myself in the musty old band room, where they had me play on a few different instruments to see which I would be best at. Of course, I had my mind set on the Sax and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. It was a surreal moment when I first got a hold of that old student loaner horn. I was expecting magic to flow through the thing the first time I blew into it, and I got quite the opposite. I realized quickly that to get to where I wanted to be, it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
After middle school, I was having a crisis of motivation. My goals all seemed light years away, and every step I took was only just another inch towards them. It was through high school that I really started to discipline myself musically. I had a rough practice schedule, and I kept to it regularly. I received more specific instruction there, learning to improve my technique but also to expand my horizons while learning more about where I stood in the grand scheme of my goals. Though what I loved most of all was Jazz Band. Sure, we weren’t exactly playing Coltrane, but the time I spent learning and practicing improvisation was a significant part of what pushed me to start really cracking down on my practice regiment. Our school even hosted an advanced jazz combo, the only school in the area to do so. The combo band was great fun, just playing some classic charts in the company of good friends, with lots of improvising. I also took a music theory class through my time in high school, which had a heavy focus on the Baroque era. It was there that I got a much better view of just how much there is to do and learn in music, which is what I love about it.
When I graduated High School, I was cast into a bit of a musical oblivion. I still practiced, though it became very irregular and unfocused. I had so much desire to play, but no venue or audience. After several months of this continuing, I had lost all hope of finding a creative outlet. Shortly thereafter, Terry gave me a call, which was very cool as I’ve known him for as long as I can remember. I knew how big he was into music, but when we talked I didn’t think anything of it at the time. When he asked me to play on a song he’d been writing (That’s a Problem), I was awestruck. Working with Terry to create the part truly rekindled my dreams of being on stage, of course I had no idea it would come as far as it has. After we worked the song out, sure enough he was calling me again with the chance of a gig at the Winchester Blues House, and when we got the green light, I felt like every second I’d spent practicing was going to finally mean something. Now, to be playing with such an extraordinary group of people is more than I could have ever hoped for. I feel like the luckiest kid in the world to be able to just walk into a group of kind, friendly people with decades of experience and just have it all work out perfectly. Really, I see all of this as a gift from my dad. It’s because of him that I ever took up music to begin with, and now to be able to play with the very same people that HE used to jam with and share in his experience is simply beyond words.