My Mom Was A Marcher

This is a recently-discovered letter that my Mom wrote, describing her decision to march (along with my aunt) alongside Dr. King in Montogomery, Alabama. I was around six years old when this all went down, and really have no memory of it. Reading this gives me a clear snapshot of a whole other era, and […]

Spitting Image

A couple of fellow ten year-olds and I were coming home from school one afternoon in 1968 when we spontaneously decided to see who could spit the furthest, in a kind of round-robin tournament as we walked. A car drove past us and then pulled over to the curb. A guy got out and stood […]

Not That You Asked…..

Here’s what I have decided: If I am going to enjoy an artist’s work, it is essential that they be good at what they do. Seems obvious, yes? But, to elaborate, I really want to be able to detect a certain amount of craftsmanship. I want to know that this person makes the requisite commitment […]

Upson Downs

I am frequently reminded that I need to resist getting either too low or too high, based on the situation at hand. This was an extreme example from several years back: I had the great privilege of playing in an orchestra that backed up Joni Mitchell when she toured to promote her recording of classic […]

Tempos? Fuggit.

The following is based on observations and experiences from my own very specific world, but I’m kind of thinking and hoping that it can be extrapolated into a wider context. So, here goes: A sizable chunk of the music that I perform is taken from what is affectionately known as the Great American Songbook, and […]