Lessons from Experience


I spent so many quarters playing in college ensembles that the joke now is that I majored in Jazz Band. I remember many a jam session in a crowded practice room with the piano player and bass player both smoking cigarettes. I also joined up with KVSC-FM, the campus radio station, as their "Jazz Director" and host of the afternoon jazz show. That association lastest 17 years and saw the jazz program move to Sunday morning, where it remains today.

Doing radio for so long gave me the opportunity to listen, listen and listen. I've heard some of the best and worst jazz recordings and learned from both.

I played gigs here and there, did a lot of theater pit-band gigs, played in a couple of rock/folk bands (Surahoolies & Monastic Beach) which taught me how to sing while playing and got me into singing harmony.

Meeting Nature


One time while I was in college I was hired to record incidental music a student-directed play (Transfigurations?). The night before the due date I still hadn't written or recorded a note, so I gathered up my guitar, a borrowed a bass, a keyboard and a fist full of guitar effects pedals and headed for the KVSC studios to use their four-track recorder and got ready to pull an all-nighter creating 30-some short pieces of music. As I was setting up a young man walked past the door and did one of those classic "walk past the door and almost fall over backwards to look back into the room" maneuvers and asked if I'd mind if he could try out the keyboard.

Nathan Nesje, later nicknamed "Nature," had been in Alnwick, England for a semester and while there he composed several songs on the piano in the great hall of the castle, he played a couple of them as I continued to connect cords, mics, et al. I remember stopping and just staring at him.

"What are you doing for the next 6 or 7 hours?" I asked.

"Nothing," he replied.

We proceeded to stay up all night recording. My friend Jewel stopped by with a Thermos full of screwdrivers and a few hits of speed that kept us going until the wee hours and I delvered the finished product in time for the rehearsal.

That meeting was the beginning of a musical and personal relationship that has lastest to this day -- oh, so many years! -- and I mark as one of my most valued friendships.

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