Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Tearin' It Up". For Chaka Khan...And For Ray Copeland and My Dad.


Score Excerpt "Tearin' It Up" for CK

As a kid, and a lead trumpet player, I had an amazing experience with a brilliant teacher in Ray Copeland, an infectiously wonderful human being who inspired and offered spiritual, practical and musical guidance.  Ray played with Thelonious Monk amongst others.  
Ray did a clinic at my high school, Wayne Hills (NJ) and he met my dad, who while an aeronautical engineer, immediately hit it off with Ray.

Ray Copeland
About the same time I also met Thad Jones whom while at met at 17 years old, I had the unimaginable opportunity to play with him and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Village Vanguard in NYC.  

While the band, at the time, was annually ranked as the top big band in both the Down Beat Readers and Critics poll, the irony is that we all were paid $35 for the evenings' performance and we only performed together once a week.  I also had the unique opportunity to introduce my dad, the engineer, to Thad.  

Over a scotch or two they bonded as well...amazingly well.

The interesting twist is that Ray ended up teaching at Berklee College of Music which I attended and Ray knew everyone. He introduced me to Chaka Khan, whom at 20, I auditioned for her band and went on tour with her.  

Chaka had an affinity to identify the best and brightest talent and the opportunity to play with her band was transformational.  Chaka connected with every musical corner of the world from the AACM to Stockhausen.

So, I simply wrote this work as a thought...a memory...and a thank you.  

This is a work in progress.  

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