I’ve had many a beautiful musical moment in my life but there’s been a magical one which has marked me more than any others.
It was a gig down at the local bar/cafe/music venue next to my place in Canberra, Australia, called Tilley’s. The group playing that night was that of Australian pianist ex-pat living in New York, Barney McCall. There was a special guest that evening and for the rest of the tour, the legendary American saxophonist Billy Harper. I remember that concert as one of the most beautiful moments, I was sixteen or so at the time, the goosebumps didn’t stop, I abandoned myself completely to the music and lost concept of space and time.
It was the best gig I’ve seen/heard in my life!! It was also the first time I’d heard such complexity conveyed with so much passion and raw groove. Everyone was on fire, especially Barney and Billy. The soul of the musicians, their abandon and their honesty really struck through to me. What I felt that night has been like a guiding light to the way I see music and what I’m trying to convey with my own performances and albums and what I’m looking/listening for when checking out a concert. Letting go, feeling, dedication and honesty. It takes a clear mind to get there whether I’m playing or listening, and it doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s magical. And the main thing is continuing to strive for it. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Fast forward to end 2014, my quintet’s Australian tour to release the new album ‘Place to Be’. Playing the bass on that tour was the ever grooving Jonathan Zwartz, the very same bass player who was playing on that Barney McCall gig that blew me away that fateful night at Tilley’s. I feel super happy to have been able to create that circle in my life, and so stoked that Jonathan loved playing my music! Here’s a couple of vid excerpts from the recent Australian tour with the man himself on bass 🙂