How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
Actually this project just started with feeling a groove and proceeding to compose a song, 'Tisdale. I called it 'Tisdale because Waymon Tisdale was doing a promotional tour I believe for a new CD that he had out at the time. A student and I were going to the event to check him out, but somehow I got to recording the song and the groove of it would not let me go anywhere until it was done. That took many hours and I did not get to see Waymon ,so I named the song after him.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
Well actually by the circumstance of birth, Born to humble circumstances, I felt the blues extremely early in life. I felt the kind of blues that only comes from hard knocks and when I found music, it gave me a way to express these very sad emotions. Now that I'm older this ability has really morphed into something incredible. When I'm 'on, I mean when I'm soloing sometimes I pass onto a different spiritual plane. Sometimes you can take the listening audience along with you and that's the greatest feeling. Also when your 'musical concept and your 'technique come together, that leads to creativity in it's self. Also I seem to be morphing into something that is hard to define. What I mean is that I am experiencing supernatural events.
Who are some of your current favorite artists, Smooth Jazz or otherwise?
This CD is called 'My Roots, and just below the tittle I name 'Mingus, Monk, Miles, Motown,Hendrix and Sly as my roots or influences. My music is full of melody. That's something most of the modern music lacks. I do not particularly like a lot of what's going on today. If you notice, there are few great songs written anymore that will live past the present. Mostly it's just a vamp with very weak soloing over the top. Most times you hear a song with a good melodyand you will remember it. If I were to ask you to hum five melodies from today's music, I'll bet you can't do it. That's weak music. And the 'smooth jazz r&b saxaphone syndrome' , well I hope that's finally over with. It was and is extremely boring music. I like the term 'contemporary jazz as a good fit for my stuff as I tend to move from funk to straight ahead to fusion to smooth jazz fusion. I mean 'how do describe a tune like 'Lula on the Roots Cd. A beautiful song that covers many bases. Smooth Jazz fusion is probably a good description.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
Well actually when I was about thirteen I came home from the movies and was ready to watch 'Bonanza on a Sunday evening. Well My baby brother was about three years old and he was watching the 'Ed Sullivan show and whenever I turned away from that channel he would start crying real loud. He forced me to watch Ed Sullivan and actually he was groovin' with the musical act which was the 'Beatles . I think that experience set me off on this path as I have never wanted to do anything else since then. As for recording, well I was the guy in the old days with two cassette recorders and a 'reel to reel mixing down different tracks. So I have been practicing for this a long time. I finally did my first album as we used to call them in 1993.
If you were asked (and we are asking now!) for your advice as to what the Smooth jazz format could do moving forward to insure it relevance and growth, what would your suggestion(s) be?
That's easy. I would say we need stronger musical skills that lead to stronger musical concepts. I mean these days you see people giving lessons on youtube that have no business trying to teach anything to anyone. I see kids buying their way up the ladder as opposed to developing a musical concept and earning their way. If You have money, you can buy a producer, hire excellent sidemen and pay for promotion. I have never had any of those luxuries. But I am confident that I have created some things musically that will outlive me, and for me that's what I set out to do.
When the times arise for you give back for the success and abundance you enjoy, what kinds of opportunities do you look for?
I would love to help out many of my relatives first and do some good things for as many people as possible.