Super excited to be a part of the new project with the legendary Sergio Mendes. To be in the presence of a master is a gift from heaven. Maestro Mendes has been one of my most studied producers since I was a young musician finding my way through the murky waters of a life of art. I get the gift of watching him produce first hand. God is good!
This week we’re in Seattle at Jazz Alley. If you’d like to join us, all the info is in my SHOWS tab. It’s a great show with a great band playing all the hits that span the last 50 years of Sergio’s career. Brazil comes to the Coffee Capital of America! Rain, coffee & samba, what could be better? Please join us if you can and for more info on Sergio Mendes and his illustrious career, check his website at http://www.sergiomendesmusic.com/
So I’m back in Los Angeles after a truly rewarding trip to Tennessee where I visited Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and then drove into Nashville to do a show with the Black Diamond Experience. Here are some of the highlights -
I was invited by my friend and fellow Donald Sinta student, Phil Barham, who is the saxophone professor at Tech. I led a master class with the saxophone students, got to spend some time with the them at a local hang called Father Tom’s and spoke to the whole School of Music during a “Meet The Artist” session where we had an insightful Q&A session. On the last night of the week there, I took part in a concert with both of the jazz bands at the school and was very impressed with the level of musicianship and the musical exchange we had on stage. Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook wall about my time:
“To say I had a great time tonight with the students at Tennessee Tech University would be a HUGE understatement. They are AMAZING and blessed me in ways that’ll probably settle in a weeks from tonight.
You guys sounded really good tonight! The exchange we had was truly special and I can only hope that I have the opportunity to spend time with you again SOON. It was truly an honor to have spent the week with you all. I plan on seeing and hearing big things from you.
God bless you and remember, “There’s room for all of us!” I’m looking forward to watching the room the world makes for you.”
The next day I drove into Nashville for a show with the Black Diamond Experience, the absolute best Neil Diamond tribute artist in the country who also happens to be my cousin. We spent the day together before heading over to soundcheck. The show was PACKED and we all had a blast! It happened to be his birthday which made it all the more special for everyone. I led the crowd in the birthday song, which was prior to a completely surprise entry by a seven-foot clown who also came up and sang his quasi-operatic version of Happy Birthday!
On the plane on the way home I took time to reflect on my trip and the blessings I received from the students at TTU, hanging with my friend from college, meeting new friends and sharing the stage with cousin on his birthday. It was a great trip and one that I will count as a gift. Here’s to more moments like these – Cheers!