I’ve just been numb all day and couldn’t comment on the loss of another giant…. He had a HUGE impact on me and I always admired him for a plethora of reasons – too many to name here. The thing I admired the most was his desire & demand for excellence in his music. Without ever knowing him, his demand for excellence always inspired me to reach higher, dig deeper, stay up a little later & get up a little earlier in order to get better at my craft & to show respect to my Creator for the gift that I’ve been given.
Michael Jackson, Maurice White, & Prince were all artists whose imprint on my life was HUGE and this, as was their loss, hits me particularly hard cuz he was just a complete bad-ass! The chasm between his amazing talent and the madness we’re left with, that they call music, has been made even wider & even more apparent. I’m starting to get really mad so I’m just gonna stop and go to bed….. It’s just not right….
As I listen to Prince all & every day, I wanted to share the desktop pic that I use every now & then as inspiration plus my one and only one Prince story:
Years ago, I was on tour with Anita Baker. Her percussionist was Sheila E’s dad, the legendary Pete Escovedo. Sheila & Prince came to see the show. Afterwards, Peter & I walked her to the waiting limo outside. As we approached the body guarded car, the window lowered and the HUGE body guard leaned into the window to be given a message meant for me. I was only allowed to get so close when the body guard came up to me and said, “Prince says he likes the sax player!”
Season 22 of Dancing With The Stars is officially upon us & I couldn’t be more excited about it! This cast looks to be one of the best ever. The first show already produced some incredible celebrity dancers and this season’s going to be a good one. Join us each and every Monday night on ABC Television @ 8:00PM. Check your local listing for time and channel.
A shot I took from the set a few days ago!
Join us every Monday night & for more behind the scenes pics, follow me on Instagram too!
Greetings from Japan where the 17 hour time difference from Los Angeles is just doing wonders for my sleep patterns…. I get to wake up every 2 hours! Frustrating but I’m used to it. That circadian rhythm thing is a real thing and when you travel to the other part of the planet, it does affect you. The best part is, we got here safely so I’m grateful for God’s grace as we travel. We’ve had a great, few days here and I’m looking forward to many more. We’re performing in Japan & the Philippines. If you’re in Asia and would like to attend a show, I have our full schedule here. Click the above SHOWS tab for detailed info on each show so you can join the fun of the Sergio Mendes band live!
Here are a few shots but the rest are on my Instagram page –
Follow me there so you can get an inside look at what we do on tour.
The men that make up Brazil 2016!
This is the view we had from our hotel’s breakfast restaurant of Tokyo Tower! Incredible huh?
The Bullet Train we took from Tokyo this morning and yes, it really is as fast as it looks!
I’m excited to be performing with the jazz ensembles of Tennessee Tech tonight! With music from Duke Ellington, Pat Metheny, Gerald Wilson & many more, tonight promises to be inspiring. I’ve had a great time with the students here all week and tonight will be the culmination of all of our time together. I’d love to have you join us via the LIVE stream.
For those wanting to watch us, the men & women of @RayChewLive, at the Grammy Premiere Event, which is the show BEFORE the televised show where all the events are being given out, it will be streaming LIVE Monday. The Premiere Ceremony will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, Feb. 15 from 12:30–3:30 p.m. Pacific Time and will be streamed live internationally via GRAMMY.com/live.
It’s gonna be a great show with incredible live performances not seen on the television broadcast! Join us if you can 🙂
In the midst of a week of great shows, I learned of the passing of one of my mentors, the great Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire. I found out after soundcheck with Sergio and had to take a moment to take it all in. It really affected me. The night’s show was particularly hard for me as I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Maurice was the chief influence on my style of record production and, when I joined the band in the 90’s, Maurice was still touring with us on spot dates. He would eventually return home to take care of his health – only to return to the tour from time to time. My last tour with him was in Japan where we recorded the memorable album, “Live in Velfarre: Plugged In And Live”. What made this so special was that this particular gig followed performances at huge arenas all over Japan and it was in a night club. Earth Wind & Fire just didn’t do club gigs – we were, logistically, too big to fit in a club! It was so tight on the stage that we couldn’t really do any of our normal choreography which, as you can imagine, was a VERY big deal! But the immediacy of the audience was palpable and we fed off of their energy like never before. Reece, returned to LA to mix the album and we continued the tour without him. He always checked in with us and couldn’t wait to send us the mixes once he was finished. As was our custom, the show was completely transformed from the short time between recording the Tokyo show and receiving the mixes from him, so we were surprised at how much we’d forgotten about that particular tour.
Of my many memories I have of Maurice, one of my favorites is of him standing in the wings on some of my solos encouraging me to keep going, keep striving for more as a player and not to settle for playing the same ole things. I asked him one night if my solos were getting too long. He said, “No. I love listening to you play. You’re interesting so keep taking your time!” I’ll treasure that forever as will I having had the opportunity to sit next to him while we recorded the “In The Name Of Love” album. I had the rare chance to watch my hero be – well, heroic! His instincts in the studio were incredible and he was always so open to teach and talk to me about production and songwriting. He gave me room to spread my wings as I wrote, sang & played on that project. He was incredibly encouraging to me about not only music but life and the journey I was about to take. The stories he shared about his life and the early days of the band were always my favorites.
He was rare and special and those fortunate enough to be in his presence would not forget their time with him. His presence was huge even though he was an incredibly subtle, soft spoken man.
As a kid, I hoped and prayed to meet him someday, let alone be a member of the band. My dreams came true on both and every night I stood next to him and played “After The Love Is Gone” my dream was renewed again!
God bless you Reece & thank you for following your dreams and blessing all of us with your gift.
I just returned from doing a short run with Maestro Sergio Mendes on the East Coast and, as usual, had a great time! We had a very successful run of shows and we’re all looking forward to an early Spring series of shows in Oakland before heading to Japan and the Philippines.
Here’s a fun shot from soundcheck that Sergio took of me!
Here are some Tweets about the shows –
For a detailed look at my schedule, please click here to access my SHOWS area. I hope to see you soon!
Hey peeps – please tune in to BET on Sunday, January 31st, for the Celebration Of Gospel. Led my my DWTS Musical Director, Ray Chew, this show promises to be a night worthy of praise. The musical acts reads like a Who’s Who of gospel music. Don’t miss this show! Check your local listing for time and channel.
I’m also heading to the East Coast from January 31st for a week of shows with the legendary Sergio Mendes. We’re hoping that Mãe Natureza or Mother Nature as we say in the good ‘ole USA, will cooperate and allow us to travel uninterrupted. For full details and schedule, please check my SHOWS tab. If you can join us, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter –
I’m so excited about 2016 that it’s not even funny 🙂 Lots o cool things going on. The studio completion is coming to a close, Winter & Spring gigs are uploaded to my shows tab and the Summer is starting to firm up. Here’s hoping that this new year, for all of us, is a year full of excitement, safety, love, peace & blessings.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
I had a great time on The Voice with Madi Davis. She’s very talented and a sweet girl. I wish all the best as her future looks bright! God bless you Madi 🙂
Click on the video below to see our performance on the show –
I was happy & excited to play on the White Hot Holiday Special on Fox Television hosted by Teraji P. Henson & Terrance Howard, stars of the smash hit TV show, Empire. We performed with Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Mary J. Blidge and a host of others. We had a blast & it was great to be in the presence of so many crazy talented artists.
I can’t believe another season of Dancing With The Stars is over… Incredible how quickly time has flown by especially since I’ve been having so much fun 🙂 It took a lot of work, but it was exciting and a true honor to be able to create music for people as they journey through a new adventure in their lives. The best part is that I was able to do it with the super-talented men and women of #RayChewLive. Congrats to Bindi & Derek on a great season of dancing and, yes, Bindi actually is as she appears – sweet and beautiful to the core! Special shout out to my brothers in arms in the horn section, Harry Kim on trumpet & Andrew Lippman on trombone.
Here are some shots from the Finale –
With all the festivities behind me I just had to take a selfie!
Me with one of the singers from the show – the lovely Kelli Sae
As always, thanks to our Musical Director Ray Chew for his guidance and ability to keep us focused but full of laughter. Here’s to next season!
I had an amazing week in New York recording for my Dancing With The Stars musical director, Ray Chew, who also serves as the musical director for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We recorded at the famed Avatar Studios in Manhattan. I had an great time working with some incredible and legendary New York session musicians. With Ray at the helm, we finished on time and my #DWTS brother Andrew Lippman and I went out to celebrate a week of music with a nice evening of food and a few tasty beverages! Tune in to this year’s parade telecast on NBC television to hear us. Check your local listing for time and channel.
Here are some pics from the sessions & my time in the city –
Hey y’all – All is well. Had an exciting few weeks of hard work and lots-o-fun, which is a combination I love! It can be tiring, but it’s so worth every minute of it. I always find that, if you want to truly live a life of passion, there’s going to be lots of work involved, but the payoff makes the work load a lot lighter. Here are some shots from that time –
In the studio with my Javier Gonzalez & my DWTS horn section brother Andrew Lippman after a session we did for Damian Marley. These tracks were KILLIN! I can’t wait to hear the finished product. We had a blast 🙂 Notice how I’m representing my Michigan School of Music…
With Maestro Sergio Mendes before a show – Love this man!
Did I forget to mention the drywall delivery for the studio??
Wow – what a trip! We landed in Rio at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, which is the coolest name for an airport on the planet. If you don’t know who he was, he was the most internationally significant composer of the Bossa Nova era composing a vast number of pieces of music, among which is “Girl From Ipanema“. We performed at the 30th Annual Rock In Rio festival for over 100,000 people. Sergio brought in Carlinhos Brown for a few songs at the end of the show and it was a night to remember! The rest of the week was spent in the studio with Maestro Mendes laying tracks for his upcoming album as he celebrates 50 years of Brazil ’66. He even had me in the studio singing in Portuguese!
Enjoy some pics of the fun and for even more, go to my PHOTO gallery here or follow me on Instagram for even more pics from my time in Brazil. God bless!