This is a follow up to my gig the other day for the “Marian Anderson Awards” here in Philadelphia. The night went flawlessly and everyone had so much fun. The honoree for this evening was Wynton Marsalis, the legendary jazz artist who has won Grammy’s for classical music as well as jazz. There was an array of talent that night and I apologize for not being able to remember all the names, but it was my distinct pleasure to play for gospel great “Kim Burrell” and jazz/R&B great “Lalah Hathaway.” At sound check Lalah walked in saying hello to everyone and asked us all to forgive her because she said she was coming down with a cold. Considering the way she sang, “ALL vocalists” should be blessed to come down with that ailment. We rehearsed her songs, and she simply said that she was “very pleased” with the music. Next up was Kim Burrell, and rumor had it that she could be “very demanding” when it comes to her music (which is not easy to play or figure out…Her music is “very” intricate). As bad as Anita Baker’s reputation was, Kim’s was said to be “worse.” Well, that night we started off with one of my favorite tunes of Lalah’s, and that song was entitled “When your life was low.” It was done “perfectly” and the crowd loved it, but we were not finished there. She went into doing one of her father’s classic songs (Her father was the legendary Donny Hathaway) simply entitled “Little Ghetto Boy.” I loved doing this song because I could stretch out on it and at least 4 times in the song I even had small bass guitar solos. When Kim Burrell came on we started off with her “very intricate song” entitled “Father I stretch.” We knew that if this song wasn’t played perfectly for her we would hear about it. Well, after all was said and done, Kim was “ecstatic.” She loved it. This night was truly magical, and backstage we also had a beautiful fun moment with Wynton as he had his horn and started playing for us privately in the corridor. All is all, this event was priceless, and it was my honor to be a part of it. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my experience with you today, and as always, I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Wynton Marsalis (in the middle), Brett Jolly and Stan Brisbon