On Thursday, I had a session with world-renowned producer, songwriter and percussionist, Narada Michael Walden. Narada’s studio is such a peaceful, warm space, and I so appreciate all of his excellence, encouragement and guidance. You’re beautiful, N!! I love you! : >
Thanks to everyone who came to my shows last week! I was invited to perform with Papa Gianni and the North Beach Band at the most recently opened Caffe Trieste on Piedmont in Oakland on Saturday afternoon. It was just me and the 2 Daves (Sturdevant on guitar and harmonica and Baioni on accordion) in the band, but Papa Gianni and many of the regulars entertained the crowd with stirring renditions of popular Italian-American love songs and classical arias. I was thrilled to see Rev. Lois, Bruce, Tony, Nancy, Alexis, Mandolin and Soriah in the audience, having a good time. Later that night, I joined Kymberly Jackson and the Urban Legends band at Oyster Reef in Oakland. It was a packed house! We entertained two groups of people celebrating high school reunions (from St. Mary’s and Holy Names class of 1984), and my fabulous family members as well! Thanks to William, Carla, Debra, Cecil, Jan and Dwayne, as well as my friends Dwayne, Michelle, Evan, Nancy (2 shows in one day! Yay!!) and Aaron. You all (and of course Kymberly, Brian, CQ and Mark) made it such a fun gig!
On Sunday, my friend and colleague, Amy, and I decided to attend a concert at Yoshi’s SF, featuring the Stanley Clarke Trio. On this occasion, the trio consisted of Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Hiromi Uehara. I’d seen the trio with Chick Corea only 3 weeks before, and with Ruslan Sirota back in March, so I was curious as to what the difference would be. As expected, some of the same pieces were performed as in previous concerts, including “Paradigm Shift” (which I heard with Ruslan on piano), and “3 Wrong Notes” (which I heard with Chick on piano). Each concert was distinctly superlative and beautiful, and tear inducing. At one point in the concert with Ruslan (during “Paradigm Shift”), I cried. I cried during the concert with Chick (on their rendition of “Overjoyed”, by Stevie Wonder), so elated and inspired was I by my piano hero. And in this weekend’s concert, during Hiromi’s solo on “No Mystery”, I cried. Hiromi played with such excellence JOY and emotional connection that the whole room was lifted. I could not contain myself!
I’ve had the chance to meet (and work with) some of the world’s greatest musicians. How utterly awesome is that? I feel compelled to do my very best to achieve my own personal level of excellence in music, body, intellect, compassion, spirit, love, etc. Excellence has been my dictum for most (if not all) of my life. It’s a journey, and I’m loving it!
“I don’t feel no-ways tired. Come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me the road would be easy. I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me!” : > Stay blessed, grateful and beautiful, my friends…