Wow. This was a day of love and good karma. Texas has an extraordinary music scene, period.
First, the morning.
Guided by our local guardian angel, Kim Young to whom I will be forever grateful, I spent the morning at Booker T. Washington high school. Probably the nation’s most productive music magnet school, whose alums include Erykah Badhu, Norah Jones, and countless others.
A hearty thanks to our incredible host, music director Kent Ellingson, who somehow managed to steer us through the morning while juggling umpteen simultaneous commitments.
The first class was midi ensemble – a twelve piece synth-vocal-jazz-pop-funk band. Watched them run through some great original tunes. Some seriously accomplished musicians. Four-part vocal harmony over a 6 piece synth section.
Then sat down with Otis Gray (Latin music director) and a group of students to talk about music careers. Great to spend time with budding young musicians from all disciplines.
Topped the morning off with Bart Marantz and his six-piece jazz ensemble that is heading to the San Jose Jazz Festival. Packed with talent – and great to see the mentoring provided by a long time performer/educator like Bart. Advice and guidance that could only come from a seasoned player. Good luck you guys.
I was reminded of just how powerful the arts are in development and maturation of young kids. There’s so much for youth in learning to play an instrument: discipline (practice), creativity, teamwork (ensemble play), physical coordination and dexterity, planning & execution (learning new pieces), public performance…
Had lunch with Mike Orren and his partner, founder of texasgigs.com, another great music portal focused on local talent. Their userbase is growing fast and they’re adding layers of great features for artists – gig schedules, live podcasts, video podcasts, promotions tools… I think we’re going to start seeing a growing number of these companies intensely focused on serving local musicians. who don’t really have these resources.
Second half of the day to follow.