One of the most amazing things about being in NYC, if you are a jazz musician of sort, is that the biggest cats are down to hang and play with you if they are free and feel like it. This does not happen in any other city in the world. Not that I know of. But I’m pretty sure NYC is special like that.
So then, I don’t get it when young cats play only with the people they know. Over and over. Why? Some young musicians decline gigs when I offer them one because their band members are not available. What? You play jazz, no? You can’t go with the flow? Why not call people whom you admire? Why not get together with them and get your ass kicked? Learn a thing or two or ten. It’s good for you. We have a saying in Japan, “You should seek hardships even if you have to pay for it.” I don’t know if that’s a good translation but you get the idea. Humble pies are good for you.
One of the blessings of my youth (I wasn’t that young, lol, but I was young at the business) was that when I started helping out around The Jazz Gallery in 2000, there was a lot of room for errors. For different reasons. The Jazz Gallery wasn’t what it is and Dale (Fitzgerald) was totally ok with me making dumb mistakes and learn from them. So I did. I mean, I didn’t know that that was what was happening at that time. It was more like the case of, “ignorance is bliss.” I had ideas galore and I wanted to try and do all kinds of things. Some worked and some didn’t. And because The Jazz Gallery itself was still at the stage of figuring itself out, I was able to experiment and explore and then define my voice and grew into the Artistic Director that I am today. By doing and making many many mistakes. I grew up with The Jazz Gallery. My trials and errors made The Gallery what it is. I was given a rather safe place to fall on my face and get up and do it, again. Yes, I had to get up quickly and eat plenty of humbles pies but I think I took like a champ. Lol.