The Darkest Day of the Year

One of my favorites too. The winter solstice (Dec 21) is upon us and it reminds me of the cold and the dark, and the creative relationship I have with both.
That’s when I hide away and write the most. When you got to move inside yourself and find originality in word and in music. The cold helps me withdraw and come up with the next thing.

People digging on the “originality” that emerges when I cover something. Check out Phil Collin’s “In the air tonight.”

Lessons in Music, lessons in life.

The expression “learning music is like learning a language” is at best, reductionistic.
The statement is entirely true and at the same time, truncated, and anyone who hasn’t learned either a language or some form of music on an instrument won’t really understand it at all.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of my mentor Charlie Banacos and I’d like to take a moment and display the abstract nature of Charlie’s teaching.

Upon our first meeting when he had me play with him (a blues in “B” for all you Banacos veterans) he had me solo immediately.
Inside of a few minutes he stopped me and wrote this first note for me (in the photo).
Dialogue was something like this:

“You’re spiking.”
“Spiking. “It’s when you do this and like that (he plays lines on the piano, in fact, the very same lines I had played moments before). ”
“The rhythms are too bound and moving in unison. Sounds dated. Try this instead.”
(he plays the same line, interjects rests, off beat accents, and delays).
(I knew I’d never be the same).

When the uninitiated come across the music hieroglyphic penmanship of Charlie Banacos I can’t help but wonder what they derive of it without the individual experience and story behind it.
When I turn off the life around me to play/practice (phone, computer, network, shows, etc…) he always crosses my mind when I dream of “the next step.”

Thinking of you my friend.