On The Queen Mary ll with James Burton Jr, Xavier Davis, Jason Stewart, and myself.

Sorry I have not blogged in a while, as I sort of got loaded down with the summer activities. Basically I was 3 times to Europe for concerts since the last tour with Lenny White and Bob Franceschini.

From June 18-22 I had the privilege of teaching at The Juilliard summer jazz camp in Atlanta. I was selected to substitute for Carl Allen teaching drums at the camp, and of course playing on the final concert with the faculty. Many of you don’t know this , but I play a lot of drums as I studied with Elvin Jones as a youngster, and was and still am into Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Roy Haynes and all the there great jazz master drummers. So teaching and playing in Atlanta brought back many memories of playing with Kenny Kirkland and Rodney Jones when growing up. The camp was great as we taught many talented aspiring high school jazz players. On Friday night final day of camp the students performed in their combos, and the faculty band performed. What treat to play a concert with Ben Wolfe on bass, Frank Kimbrough, Miles Ozaki, Joe Magnarelli, Marc Vinci, and James Burton jr. I had a wonderful time. One of the highlights of the camp as well for me was Joe Magnarelli and I plunge for 45 minutes everyday during a free period we had. What ball jamming with Mags, trumpet and drums. It was wide open and free and left me with that great feeling of freedom in the music.

I returned to New York on June 23rd and had 4 days home before I departed for Europe. I flew to Napoli and spent 4 5 days there playing festivals. One of the festivals I did was the Marigliano Jazz Festival near Napoli Italy. I did several events at that festival. I played one night with the Craig Hartley Trio with Craig on piano, Carlo De Rosa on bass, and Curtis Florian on drums. A great trio. I had a great playing with these cats. They swing their asses off. Next day I rehearsed with the Antonio Ciacca Big Band, and then did my 2-hour workshop on “Language Skills Fro Jazz Improvisation”. The next night I performed as a guest artist with that big band for the final concert of the festival.

Next day I flew back to New York. It was good to get back to NYC as I had a few gigs and spent 3 weeks with my family, which was great. One of the gigs in New York was a tribute to Bobby Hutcherson at Birdland NYC. This event was sponsored by WBGO and I played with George Cables, Buster Williams, and Victor Lewis. Accompanied by 3 other vibes players Steve Nelson, Warren Wolfe, and Jay Hoggard. We played all Bobby Hutcherson tunes. It was a great night with an all star rhythm section. Then on August 3rd I departed on another Juilliard School event. I performed on the Queen Mary ll cruise ship for a week as it gave me a trans-Atlantic ride to Europe which was my destination for some more jazz festivals.

On the cruise I had a great time playing drums and vibes with James Burton Jr., Xavier Davis, and Jason Stewart. On this setting I did a really interesting thing that I really have never done before. I played drums and vibes. So I would start every tune on drums and when the bass player was soloing I would fade away from the drums and move to the vibes and then take a solo with piano and bass only for a while. Then when finished I would subtly move back tot the drums and finish out the tune. The crowds loved it, and it was a new experience for me as well. Usually it is one or the other. Not both.

After arriving in Southampton the car transported us all to Heathrow airport in London and everyone went their own ways. I went on to Italy where I had a few gigs. One of them was the Isbani Jazz Festival near Salerno. It was a great night of music and I sold lots of CD’s.

Anyway after a few hits in Italy I returned home. Easier said than done as the car my manager sent for me to drive the 2.5 hour drive to Rome was 4o minutes late and then when we finally got on the road we had a flat tire that the driver could not change, and I subsequently missed my flight from Rom-London where I needed to catch my return flight that the Queen Mary 2 had provided. Anyway it cost my manager 434 euro to get me on the last flight out of Pescara Airport, which was 30 km from where the car broke down. Pretty much one of those act of god nightmares we all go through sometimes. Either way I arrived safely home after many hours traveling, but really exhausted. I am off the planes until my California tour and residency on Oct 4th, and then off to Europe again in November with my new band with Bob Franceschini, and Adam Nussbaum called. (THEM)

All in all a great summer with great music. For now it is back to Juilliard Jazz and my other teaching gigs at New Jersey City University and The New York Jazz Workshop.

Played drums and vibes on the QE ll. WHat a ball!

James Burton Jr, Jason Stewart, Xavier Davis, mark Sherman on the Queen Mary ll

Bobby Huterson Tribute at Birdland in NYC with George Cables, Buster Williams, Victor Lewis, and 3 other vibes players. Warren Wolfe, Steve Nelson, and Joy Hoggard.

Marigliano Jazz Festival Napoli italy

 

 

Isbani Jazz festival view

Isbani Jazz Festival

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61engPoZg1c

AT The AES show in NYC

On my recent California tour I had the good fortune of  getting offered to record at The Apogee Electronics recording studios. Apogee is known for their high end A-D converters, and microphone pre amps. They are globally recognized as the number one digital audio solution. Anyway it was the first recording where the Mic pre amos from the new unit called the Symphony IO were used. ANyway it is the best recording I have done to date. Sonically it is out of this world. Musically the same. Bill Cunliffe, Charles Ruggiero, and John Chiodini are the 3 of LA’s finest players that helped me live the dream of recording some of my favorite tunes growing up in music. Tunes by the great jazz masters Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie,  John Coltrane etc. These musicians brought the music to life in an organ trio setting. The result is  greater than I ever expected. Apogee used my tracks to demonstrate the sonic brilliance, and warmth of the Symphony IO with the attached video, and audio at the recent Audio Engineering Societies show in New York City this weekend. Anyway it is a true honor to be an Apogee artist, and to have recorded at the Apogee studio (Berkeley Street Studios) in LA last week.

John Chiodini

John Chiodini

Charles Ruggiero

Bill Cunliffe

The Orsara Jazz Festival Faculty Band

The Orsara Jazz Festival Faculty Band

I had just an amazing week in Orsara Italy from August 2-7. The faculty and band for the festival was Jerry Bergonzi, Jim Rotundi, Mark Sherman, Antonio Ciacca, Lucio Ferrara, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth. Everyday we taught workshops, private lessons, and ran combos for 100 students at the camp. At night there were concerts, and all night jam sessions, and of course the food as usual in Italy is amazing. We ate incredible meals every night and lots of wine. I am not a huge drinker, but it is impossible to turn down. In fact if you try to say, “no thanks I don’t want any”, people look at you like your nuts. Anyway, I want to say something about each faculty musician individually.

Jerry Bergonzi is a musician, and saxophonist who I personally have looked up for many years. Especially since the death of my colleague Michael Brecker, Jerry is certainly the closest living sax player to Coltrane. Clearly he is deeply influenced by Coltrane, and of course all the great masters on his instrument. He has a deep understanding of the language, a fat fat sound on tenor sax, and the heart of giant. Deeply sensitive, and in touch with all the positive, and negative things happening in the world today. I truly enjoyed bonding with Jerry, and of course sharing the bandstand, and the music with him. He is gentle giant in the music, and his presence made it a very special week for me. It was really an honor, and I look forward to touring with him next year in a quartet setting.

Jim Rotundi is trumpet player that I certainly knew of as he has a huge reputation as a great player, but I had never really worked with him on the bandstand. It was great to meet him and play quartet with him on a separate concert in Foggia Italy sponsored by the festival. Jim is a humble, yet powerful player with incredible technique, and sound. And of course his language, and solo concept comes straight from the heart. I consider him one of the best trumpet players in the world. In addition he is a great guy, who clearly cared about the students, and bonding with all the musicians. A great guy to have on the bandstand, or on the road. Currently he is a professor of trumpet in Graz Austria, where he has relocated, and surely is bringing his genius to that program.

Antonio Ciacca is a truly fine pianist, arranger, and composer, and it was because of Antonio’s recommendation that I was chosen as a teacher, and performer at the Orsara Jazz Festival. I am quite grateful for this. Heavily influenced by all the bebop piano masters like Bud Powell, Sonny Clarke, Tommy Flanagan, Red Garland, Oscar Peterson etc. Antonio and his wife Giusy have for many years been on the forefront of the jazz world as they together have a jazz booking agency call C-Jam productions, and have promoted many huge jazz concerts, and tours with the likes of Elvin Jones and the Jazz Machine, and many others. Because of Antonio’s extensive knowledge of the music history, and business, he was chosen by Wynton Marsalis to be the director of programming for Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York City for the last 5 years. He is also on the Juilliard faculty with me, where he teaches the business of music. These days however Antonio is all about playing as he has stepped up to performing, and composing full-time. On Saturday August 6th the faculty band of the Orsara Jazz Festival played a work Antonio wrote specifically for the festival, entitled “The Orsara Suite”, in which each musician was featured in a movement. A well-calculated work with great purpose that gave each of us many solos on all the movements, but between each movement each one of us had an extended solo feature. We rehearsed it several times during the week, culminating with a kick ass performance, and recording of the Suite on the Saturday night concert on the big stage. It was mobbed with maybe 1500-2000 people as we ripped through this piece. Antonio used a composing technique that we all often apply, in which he takes well-known tunes like “Woody And You”, or “Like Sonny”, and changes the melody, and or chord changes a bit, and turns it into his own version. It is quite effective, and of course we all had a ball playing this extended suite. It has been my great pleasure to work with, and befriend Antonio since I recently met him at the beginning of last school year at The Juilliard School. He is a fine musician.

Lucio Ferrara guitarist, and director of the Orsara festival has only recently become one of my colleagues. He is a fine guitarist, influenced heavily by guitar master Wes Montgomery, and truly plays as if he loves the music deeply. On Friday night August 5th Jim Rotundi, and myself were driven about 30 minutes away from Orsara to the city of Foggia, where we played quartet with Luca Santaniello, and Joe La Piore, two fine Italian jazz players currently living in New York. Lucio played trio with Luca, and Joe before Jim, and I did our quartet segment of the evening’s festivities. I loved the deeply rooted bebop approach that Lucio takes towards the music. Much like my close friend and colleague Rodney Jones who also comes out of Wes Montgomery, and Kenny Burrell. What better place to come from as a jazz guitarist today. As a director Lucio did an incredible job managing, and administrating the day to day activities of the festival, as his cell phone never stopped ringing, as with 100 students, and the faculty he had to constantly deal with many issues that had nothing to do with playing the music, but when it was time to play Lucio really sounded great. A crisp clear sound, with great command of the jazz language.

John Webber is clearly one of the finest bass players around having performed with just about every big name in the business. I know him from his work the great tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander. I really enjoyed hanging with John as he has a great sense of humor, and many great stories of his experiences having played with Benny Golson, George Coleman, Cecil Payne, Pharaoh Sanders Jon Hendriks, and list of jazz masters that goes on and on. He plays immaculately in tune with a great feel that sends the message of authentic jazz. Flat out a fun guy to have around. His playing made me feel very comfortable which I see as the goal of any musician. When you walk into a playing situation make those around you feel comfortable. John quietly does a great job of just that.

Joe Farnsworth is a drummer deeply rooted in the tradition of jazz. As a drummer myself having studied with Elvin Jones as a youngster, I am always in touch with what the drummer along side of me is doing. If I can swing harder than the drummer on the bandstand, then it is the wrong guy. Joe is absolutely the right guy, super experienced having played with many of the same jazz masters that John Webber has played with in Eric Alexander, George Coleman, Junior Cook, Johnny Griffin, Pharaoh Sanders, and the list goes on. Actually the two of them are truly a great combination. They fit together stylistically like a glove. Joe sounds to me as if you mixed Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, and Elvin Jones all together. He clearly loves to play as do all of us, but when you mix the three drummers styles together that I just mentioned you get magic. Joe is an original player that creates that authentic sound of jazz. A fun guy who deeply loves the music. He is just a ball to play and hang with.

Saturday morning before the big concert I did a solo vibraphone concert in an unbelievably beautiful 1000-year-old church in Orsara. The acoustics, and the physical setting were enough to make one see god. I played solo versions of “Along Came Betty”, “My One And Only Love”, “Celia”, and one of my originals entitled “Solitude”. I felt it was a very spiritual and motivating performance for me as 50-70 people showed and listened very eagerly to what I brought musically.

I look forward to returning to the Orsara Jazz Festival and jazz camp for years to come. It was an incredibly motivating, and rewarding musical week.

Jerry Bergonzi

Jim Rotundi

Mark Sherman

Antonio Ciacca

Lucio Ferrara

John Webber

Joe Farnsworth

Jerry Bergonzi and Mark Sherman

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Today I was on the panel of faculty members from the Juilliard School jazz department for a forum on the subject matter “How To Practice”. The panel was made up of department chair, and drummer Carl Allen, saxophonist Ron Blake, pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist Ben Wolfe, drummer Kenny Washington, and myself. What an honor to do this, as well as it is a subject matter that I feel very strong about, as I have preached this to students globally for many years. I have seen so many of my students over the years return to the next lesson having not improved. Many times it is because their practice method is not good. As human beings we always want to improve fast, and be the best quickly. Unfortunately this approach does not work. Whoever  invented the expression “practice makes perfect” should be hung. It is a bad guidance quote. It should read “Perfect practice makes perfect”. There is that fine line between practicing properly, and not.  Many student come back week to week saying ” I practiced 5 hours a day”, but I do not see an improvement relative to 5 hours a day for a week. That to me means the student has wasted a lot of time.  Practicing wrong will surely waste your valuable time. That is what I spoke about. Practicing slow, and building the speed up slowly, rather than going fast and repeating constant mistakes. Focusing on one phrase, or measure at a time. How to practice scales, and other skills we work on as players, of jazz, and classical music. The other five of my esteemed colleagues had fantastic things to say, like learning the music away from the instrument in your head. Focusing on one thing at a time. making a practice journal. Using a stopwatch or kitchen timer to force yourself to practice one scale or drill at a time for a specific amount of time. Things like this. Anyway it was a really informative forum for the students who are already some of the finest young jazz students in the country, as the curve at Juilliard is extremely high. Getting into the school is probably one of the most competitive auditions nationwide. They just don’t accept anyone. I think it is even harder to get in than when I attended, and the year I got in they accepted only 2 students out of maybe 100 or more applicants. Myself, and Dan Druckman, the  current 2nd percussionist in the New York Philharmonic, and head of the percussion program in the classical percussion department at Juilliard. I really believe in this type of forum/masterclass, as with a group of faculty members such as the one mentioned here, the students get a really deep look at how these seasoned pros have dealt with the topic throughout their own quest for improvement. I sure wish they had a jazz program run by someone like Carl Allen when I went to Juilliard, although my extensive classical training has served me well in my own career, and has made me a better all around musician. I was watching these students suck up every word we said, as each faculty member got up, and spoke for 20 minutes or so, about there method for practice, and improvement. The funny thing was we all basically have similar approaches, but different wording, and slightly different concepts, but each approach was valid, and spelled the same formula for success. Those students are very fortunate to have faculty members who care enough, to take their valuable time to do this type of class. What a fantastic environment to learn in, being surrounded by this faculty of people like Rodney JonesRon Carter, Kenny Barron, Steve Turre, Eddie Henderson, Andy Farber, Billy Drummond, Bob Stewart, Antonio Ciacca, Joe Temperly, and the six mentioned above (forgive me if I forgot anyone). Next week’s forum is with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb. I will be there!

 

I was recently appointed to the Juilliard Jazz Faculty under the direction the wonderful drummer and educator Carl Allen.It is my biggest educational appointment ever, and as an alumni I am excited, and thrilled!

Rodney Jones

Rodney Jones

I am currently on tour throughout Russia, and Southeast Asia with my quartet. On a flight today from Shenyang China to Guangzhou China I nearly cried as I listened to Rodney Jones’s CD entitled “Dreams And Stories”. This CD was recorded in the eighties featuring the late genius of Kenny Kirkland, Marc Johnson (from the Bill Evans trio), and Jeff Watts (from Wynton Marsalis Group). Of course at the time this was recorded none of these musicians had joined any of those groups yet. Their careers were just beginning to take off. Rodney had played with Dizzy Gillespie’s band at age 20 which of course gave great credibility to his career. Kenny Kirkland had his first big gig with Michael Urbaniak, and Jeff Watts of course was Wynton Marsalis’s drummer of choice from the first LP Wynton did for George Butler at CBS records. That relationship eventually led to me doing a solo LP for George Butler as well. At that time I remember Wynton coming up to me at the Juilliard school one day asking me who he could get to play piano on his record. He had just come to New York, and did not know all the young players. I recommended Kenny Kirkland to him, and that began relationship that I am sure changed Wynton’s life. I recommended Kenny because he was the best young pianist in New York, and my close friend as well. Rodney, Kenny, Cecil McBee Jr. and I had a band together that jammed regularly at the seminary next to Manhattan School Of Music, and also played local gigs in New York. I was playing drums in those days. Anyway Kenny, Rodney, and myself used to spend countless hours transcribing McCoy Tyner solos, Herbie Hancock solos, George Benson solos, as this was the passion, and these were the heroes in the music that led us to where we are today. Unfortunately Kenny is no longer with us, so when listening today to “Dreams And Stories”, which was released on High Note records after many years sitting on the shelf, I was brought to tears. I miss Kenny, and Rodney Jones continues to be one of my best friends in the world, and has helped my career take off over the years. Because of Rodney I was in the rhythm section for CD’s with Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Ruth Brown, Gloria Lynn, as well as on the Rosie O’Donnell show as a keyboard player, and of course on 3 or 4 of Rodney’s solo CD’s. It has truly been a privilege to be close to Rodney, and be involved in his music. His deeply rooted love, and knowledge of our art form has had a tremendous influence on me through the years, and his deep spirituality has led me down the right path to enlightenment. I owe Rodney Jones a lot, and deeply value his friendship. He is truly one of the finest guitarist, composer, arranger producer, and educators on this planet. In addition his spiritual beliefs, and influence have had a profound effect on my life.  I think next to King George (George Benson), Rodney is the best. His vast array of harmonic language, and understanding of all styles has made him #1 in my mind as a producer. He can literally produce any type of music.  He knows just about every standard ever written, and can play, and or arrange them with a unique style that speaks of his life, and the music of today.  As a sideman Rodney has played with everyone from Queen Latifah to Dizzy Gillespie, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. He is certainly one of the most sought out guitarists in the world. These days Rodney is professor of guitar at the Juilliard Jazz program, where he is passing on his vast knowledge to the young up and coming guitarist in that program, which has quickly become one of the finest jazz programs in the US under the direction of the great drummer, and educator Carl Allen.  If you are a musician and you do not know who Rodney Jones is, then you are clearly living in a bubble separated from what is really happening in music. And to Rodney as a friend, and colleague for 40 years I say, “I love you, and thanks for the music. Knowing you has made me a better person, changed my life, and of course thanks for the music”!

Click here listen to the band  The Great Triplet

The Mark Sherman/TIm Horner Quartet

Great concert at Smalls the other night with The Mark Sherman / TIm Horner Quartet that is going to Russia and Asia with the Rhythm Road tour sponsored by Jazz At Lincoln Center and the US State Department. If the other night’s concert is any indicator of the level of the music then we should have an amazing month abroad. The music will certainly take off on this tour. We will need to record after the tour as we will be so tight and the music will have lived through 30-40 concerts.

Jim Ridl is one of the most talented musicians I have come across. His soloing is really great, with an innovative rhythmic approach, and a vast array of harmonic language tools that he uses, however his writing is truly amazing. We have been playing 3 or 4 of his tunes that are really special compositions. He captures the deeper meaning of defining an experience or concept through the music.

Tom Dicarlo is a very supportive bass player who plays very in tune and rhythmical correct. A really nice soloist as well. His tune “Can you Tell Me A Story” is becoming a centerpiece for the band. It has very little jazz soloing but the melody and the chords, mixed with the general mood set by this piece makes it a special part of our show.

And my headlining partner Tim Horner is just simply a musical genius on the drums, as well as a great composer. He has written several tunes that we do “You Are The Song”, and “Line Of The Salesman”. Both tunes are derived from well know song forms, but Tim has cleverly re-invented the melodies for these forms and made them his own. This is something I often do in my writing which is to take the well known song farms that the great masters like Parker, Coltrane, Miles, Tadd Dameron, Cole Porter used and disguise them and turn them into my own. It is difficult to reinvent the music as these past masters have taken it to the top level, and most musicians today are still trying to catch up to the foundation and innovations that the above mentioned masters brought to the music. This is one tour I am truly looking forward to. #rhythmroad


The other day I worked a gig with Marcus Rojas, one of New York’s finest low brass players (tuba, baritone horn). As we both went to High School Of Music and Art in New York City, I began to talk of all the legendary players who I was close with musically, and as friends at Music and Art. School was packed with many of the worlds finest musicians, like Kenny Washington, Omar Hakim, Marcus Miller, Ray Chew, Bob Franceschini, Angel Fernandez, Bobby Broom, Francisco Centano, Danny Druckman, Rand Steiger, Clifton Anderson, Chris Tillotson, Carlton Green and Malleon Walker. All who have gone on to successful careers as sidemen, orchestral players, leaders, composers etc.
This story is about two other amazing, sort of legendary brass players named Carlton Greene, and Malleon Walker both good friends of mine through high school. First I heard of Carlton was when I was 13 years old at the school. I heard he was some hot shot Tuba player. He was a short stocky, strongly built kid. Well at 14 years old still in Music and Art Carlton played the Vaughn Williams Tuba Concerto as  a winner of the Young Artist Concerto Competition with the New York Philharmonic. I heard the legendary tubist Roger Bobo said that Carlton was going to be the greatest tuba player to ever live someday. Well this was incredible that still in high school Carlton had already accomplished this. There was a big buzz at the school. Carlton went on to substitute with the New York Philharmonic and became a young great classical player around the city. When college entrances time came it was pretty exciting for everyone as many of the group of musicians at the top of the school went on to some incredible institutions like Juilliard, Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Berklee School, and playing jazz as a sideman with no formal school, but a school in itself.  Well Carlton was accepted at The Curtis Institute. A very elite place, and equally as difficult to get into as Juilliard. At Curtis you study with the Philadelphia Orchestra personnel. And of course I believe he subbed with the orchestra as well. Carl also played in Howard Johnson group for a good while. Eventually Carlton got one really big gig. He was heard by Ricardo Muti the conductor at the time of The LaScala Opera Company. He was given the position as tubist with the La Scalla Opera in Milan Italy. A huge gig. Remember there is but only one tuba in any orchestra. Even the percussion section has 4 chairs. So Carl went on to Milan to do the opera. Never heard too much about Carl for about 2 years. I met him on the street two years later. He was hanging out in front of the New York Philharmonic offices. He was dressed in an army jacket and carrying his horn. When I saw him I gave him a huge hug, as we had not seen each other in a long time. We were really close in high school and went opposite ways as I went to Juilliard he went to the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. When hugging him I smelled a pretty nasty odor. I figured not too much about it, and invited Carlton over to my house the next day for a little lunch and a hang. When he arrived he smelled so bad that he stunk up the entire house. We talked and I asked him what happened to him. He went on to tell me about his time in Milan with the opera. He said he eventually was drinking 2 cases of champagne a week and doing other shit as well. In addition they threw him out of the orchestra for not bathing for a year. Well Carl and I talked for a while and then I needed to leave for work. I said to Carl let’s go downtown. I need to go to a recording session. At this moment Carl sat down in the corner of my apartment and pleaded with me to let him stay at my house. This went on for a while and I told him that was impossible as I had a live in girlfriend and roommate at the time. I argued with Carl until finally I was forced to call the police to remove him from my house. I never expected this to happen as we were friends at school for years, and he had been such a highly respected player. I was really upset in tears from the whole incident.  I went on to realize the Carl had gone all the way down. This may be a legend,  I heard the reason for him finally getting kicked out of La Scala was that he got busted for pissing on people off his balcony as they passed by…and that he was ridiculously bored because after getting to Italy a Mozart festival began that obviously doesn’t have tuba and he had a great gig but nothing to play,  and of course no one to talk to or hang with, and then there was the bathing and hygiene factor. Even in the late 80’s black people were relatively rare to see in Italy, especially in the smaller towns. Eventually he ended up on the streets of New York City. Well I can certainly understand his removal from the opera, but the real issue is why did he go down so fast. I don’t know if it is true, but I heard there was some racism within the orchestra. I could see him possibly being the only black man in the orchestra. In those days there were not many blacks in the orchestral scene. Jerome Ashby was another great Music and Art product that was one of the only blacks in the NY Philharmonic in those days. Jerome passed away several years ago. Wow, if so it sounds like Carl was mistreated inside the orchestra a bit, and maybe that drove him to the heavy drinking and other problems. I don’t really know the answer other than what Carl told me that day, but what a crime it is if he was mistreated for being black. You can’t blame the gig in Milan totally for anything, but life affects us all in different ways and some fall off the edge easier than others. Some depression sent Carton over the edge completely. He was definitely on his way to being one of the greatest on his instrument and had achieved at a young age what many try a lifetime to achieve and never get. Such a tragedy, and I still have no idea if Carlton is alive or not today. I have not heard that he died. But I haven’t heard of anyone seeing him.
One other great player of the low brass world was Malleon Walker, who joined Carl at Curtis and subbed with the Philadelphia orchestra as well. Malleon also played with Howard Johnson, and was a always one of the best bass trombone players around. Both Malleon and Carl were part of what we called kiddingly “The Acid Section” along with Chris Tillotson(son of the great french horn player Brooks Tillotson), Clifton Anderson, Danny Druckman, Rand Stieger, and myself in the Music and Art Orchestra. Malleon died a few years back from a heart attack.

Here is what Clifton Anderson had to say about Carlton Green  and Malleon Walker. ”

When I got to Music and Art, the first person that I met was a young Tuba player named Carlton Green. The way I met him was, I was walking down the hallway and I heard this tuba playing incredible stuff and I was thinking, “What is that this guy is playing?” So I went to the practice room—they used to have little windows so you could look in and see. His back was to me; I saw him playing his tuba. He was reading this music that looked like flies on paper. I knocked on the door and asked him what he was playing. He said they were violin concertos. I said, “You can play violin concertos on the tuba?” Turns out that this kid was a prodigy and was a soloist at the age of 14 with the New York Philharmonic. He was the best student in the school. We became friends.
From that point on, the school had an amazing brass section. There was a bass trombonist in there by the name of Malleon Walker who went on study at Juilliard and graduated from Curtis Institute. He was known around New York (he is no longer with us) as a premier bass trombonist for European classical music”.
Also there was a really talent great young trombonist named Henry Mitchell who eventually ended up living on the street with big problems. Why did these three guys, who had so much talent, and proven ability simply disappear from the scene? Obviously the abuse put on a person can just knock you out of reality, but why must there be such frustration in the world to create these types of tragedies? That was the gist of my conversation with Marcus Rojas. I am grateful for what I have. It prompted this blog

Core’ngrato 2 Click here and listen to her sing!!

My good freind Gino Forchetti heard my mother’s record and said you must write about her on your blog. I took it to heart. So here it is as I write about my mother who passed away 23 years ago, as she looks down on me now as my career flourishes just a bit. Her name was Edith Gordon, and she was from Canton Ohio, where she was validictorian of her high school class at McKinley High School. She went from that small town in Ohio directly into a full scholarship at The Juilliard School Of Music, which at that time was uptown at 122nd street and Broadway in New York City. Her major was as a mezzo soprano, and a piano minor. She was a fluent pianist and could sight read just about anything. It was not a surprise to me as she had all the support in the world, as my granfather Harry Gordon bought her a Chickering baby grand piano after the depression. I can’t even imagine where he got the money. Either way when my mom passed away 23 years ago I inherited that piano, and I had it rebuilt by Kalman Dietrich of Dietrich Pianos on West 58th Street. I have the piano in my living room today, and it has become an emotional piece of my household. I have written around 100 tunes on this piano, and continue to  this day. After Juilliard Edith Gordon went on to perform with Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and appeared as a soloist with the Cleveland symphony. She sang Mahler 2 with Bernstein at Tanglewood, and eventually became Gian Carlo Menotti’s choice for the role of Lucy in the premiere of  “The Medium and The Telephone” on Broadway. She had several recordings and one of them sticks in my mind as I was a young boy when she made it. It was on Tikva Records, and on this recording every cut was in a different language. She sang in 9 different languages with perfect diction. A golden voice that will remain in my heart forever. Whenever I hear a beautiful soprano sing I think of my mom, as I grew up listening to her vocalize Ma,Me,Mi,Ma Moo at home daily, and watched her perform around the world as a young boy growing up. The year I auditioned for Juilliard they accepted 2 undergrads and one grad student. The 2 undergrads were Danny Druckman (currently the 2nd percussionist in the NY Philharmonic, as well as professor at Juilliard, son of Pulitzer prize winning composer Jacob Druckman, and myself. The grad student accepted that year was Jonathen Haas who today is a fine tympanist and percussionist. When I told my mother I was accepted, I also said I did not really want to go to college. I just wanted to play jazz, as I was a young drum student of Elvin Jones, and playing drums with the late great Kenny Kirkland, and one of todays finest guitarists and composers Rodney Jones. We had a nice band with Kenny on piano,  Rodney playing bass and guitar, and Cecil McBee Jr. playing bass. Well upon hearing the news that I wanted to turn down the opportunity of going to Juilliard after I was one of two accepted out of maybe 50-100 applicants, my mother screamed, “if you do that you are disowned. You will get nothing from me to help you”.  Well as it turned out I went on to Juilliard , and it was a life changing experience for me, as it made me a much more rounded musician, and composer. I got to play with all the greatest musicians and conductors in the world like Leonard Bernstein, Herbert Von Karajan, Sir George Solti, Zubin Mehta, James Conlon, Sixten Ehrling, and many more. As well as I studied with the man who basically invented the tympani in Saul Goodman,  and Elden Buster Bailey who was probably the greatest snare drummer to ever live. It was invaluable to be around this, and I have my mother to thank, as she basically forced me into my freshman year. Thanks Mom! If you could see me now I think you’d be pretty proud of me. Please be sure to  check the sites of all the fantastic musicians I have linked in this blog. And also play the mp3 of Edith Gordon attached.