After three and a half weeks since my arrival into Brooklyn, I have truly begun to sharpen my focus on music and expel as much energy as can be mustered. It’s certainly plain to see how the “hustle” permeates every aspect of the NYC lifestyle to the point of wholesale exhaustion, but this is still the experience I need to propel my skills beyond what I had grown accustomed to in the Midwest, as talented as many Midwestern players really are. The Studio program with the Project Trio has placed me in a very distinct headspace, especially with regard to composition. Their music invokes numerous musical styles ranging from classical to hip-hop and back, something that I’m not very familiar with doing for just one song alone. Fortunately, the three directors have provided high levels of encouragement and insight in such a short period of time.
In the meantime, I have been making my way to four or five jam sessions a week. For the jazz and funk worlds in particular, there is no better way to make acquaintances with high-caliber musicians. Playing and listening until 3-4 in the morning is a challenge in itself, but every outing matters. Take the following video as evidence for this truth – here I am at Richie Cannata’s Monday night jam at the Bitter End. The tune we’re playing is Tower of Power’s “What is Hip?”, including former Tower of Power vocalist Tom Bowes (off-screen), also featuring Frosty Lawson with some crazy trumpet chops. These are the people with whom I have already found a community, and there’s no telling where God intends to lead me with these new relationships. I can only pray that they make me a better man and a better musician.