“Yeah Jesus! I Want to Thank You, Lord!” That’s What The Boss Man Said At the End of the Concert! Fortunate to be There As a Bass Trombone Sideman.

The Knight Center, in historic Miami, is the just a stones’ throw from the Intracoastal waterway, the bridge to Watson Island , South Beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. From “Stiltsville” to the Miami Marine Stadium, South Florida is all about the beaches and waves that connect us to the world.

Originally a hit for the Carpenters, this song is a frightening appraisal of life on the road and more particularly, the stage. But what happens when the stage becomes the most intimate audience of one? Karen Carpenter was a wonderful drummer and superb vocalist. Part of an exclusive list of musicians who were nearly equally accomplished as both instrumentalists and vocalists. Whether Louis Armstrong to Jack Teagarden, Prince to Paul McCartney, Terry Kath to Peter Cetera, Shirley Horne to Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix to Nat King Cole, or Trombone Shorty-Ray Charles tops the list.

Swing is perhaps the dominant rhythmic expression of the twentieth century. It is a rhythm drawn from musics of the Blues, Classical, Ragtime, Minstrel and the Caribbean. As Florida welcomes and nurtures flora and fauna from almost every region, so does swing invite any rhythm to its court, as the king rhythm of all. Ray brings the Swing!

In ancient mythology Apollo, the Greek God of Music, was surrounded by the Muses, drawing inspiration from them and the arts they had mastered. Who knows where the inspiration for a song begins for mortals? A rhythm that you cannot shake, a clever phrase or idea that could serve as a hook, an ear worm of melody that begs development, or even a person. For Hoagy Carmichael, that person was his sister, Georgia.

Epicureanism? Hedonism? Materialism? Once you have touched, and tasted, drank and held, beheld and owned all the stuff of your hearts desire, yet the longing in your heart persists still, what then?

Hank Williams was the inventor of Country music, as stark, simple and true mode of expression. considered a parallel mode used often by white rural Americans early on as was the Blues was for rural American blacks. Where the Blues groaned and wailed, with genius simplicity and provided the essential space that allowed the refinement of soloing skills in short one bar bursts, Country music told a story, garnering no less a fan than BeBop legend Charlie Parker. Both of these sincere elements helped to develop the basis for improvisation in Jazz.

Unrequited love? Not quite! It has inspired art enough!

What about love that is won and lost? Abandoned, discarded or misplaced? Moved on or upon?

The difference is clear: one lives only in the ethers of imagination, the other in a palpable memory that resonates within the confines of touch and taste and smell.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind has been a beautiful supporter of the arts and a vital charity for many. They may be contacted for a donations or to volunteer at miamilighthouse.org

If you are going to compose just one musical, you could do a lot worse than “The Music Man”, by Meredith Wilson. A tour de force of melody and Americana, the song that seemed to find the most success on the charts was “‘Til There Was You”, although we are partial to “76 Trombone”-not sure why!

This is a soulful, yet clever and light blues. The Blues can be both mournful and cheerfully cathartic. Sign us up for the second with this tune!

The depths beyond imagining…

Yes, and pretty good saxophone playing, too! What an advantage this must have been to Mr. Charles as the leader of a big band for so many years. Do you think it was the playing of the great Hank Crawford who inspired Mr. Charles to take up the saxophone?

No one. Please read it again. No one, can traverse ALL the numerous styles from Swing, to R & B, to Country to Rock and Roll ‘n’ beyond as well and authentically as the great Ray Charles. He made each style his own and America’s. We are blessed to have lived during his career or after it and to have heard one of the most startlingly original artists of all time.

America is beautiful yet, and a great blessing.

ALbum VI

It is still somewhat difficult to find great Jazz and Commercial Music Concerts that are friendly to some expressive moments for the bass trombone and feature writing that allows it to soar with section trombones and shouting brass, especially live! Dozens of concerts I shared with artists from Stevie Wonder to Steve Lawrence were unrecorded-fortunately this one was captured! This is what I would have been looking to listen to when I was a boy…Album VI Bass Bone Sideman!

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