Musical Influences and more

No matter what genre of music one plays usually there have been others playing that music already. Listening to these folks that came before you will help shape your own interpretation which leads you to find your own voice. This may not be all there is to inspire you. Sometimes there are stories you hear about certain artists or others who perform your “type” of music that help embellish your artistry. The late great jazz bassist Leonard Gaskin told me a JJ Johnson story from way back. JJ had an apartment in Washington Heights. He would practice trombone for hours at a time. The neighbors didn’t mind his practicing. They took exception to him practicing the same scales and scale patterns for days and weeks at a time. This led to Mr. Johnson’s eviction. They just couldn’t deal. Another friend of mine was rehearsing a latin band in an apt also in the Heights. A neighbor commented, “I like your music but tell the trumpet player not to go for the high notes, they’re out of tune”. I grew up hearing stories about the Catskills and the old days of Brownsville. One of my favorites was about the custard salesman with a runny nose. He didn’t have a tissue on hand but people still raved about his custard!! Who knows….. I was a witness when an old time accordionist named Charlie Bookman worked with my dad in Florida. He was about 75 years old in the early 80’s so do the math. He showed up to a gig with torn pants.” Don’t worry” he said, ” I have another pair in the car”. He goes to change and walks back in with a pair of pants with not one but two rips!!! Should’ve stuck with the first pair Charlie!!