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At age 9, I asked my mother if I could play the violin, and my parents hooked me up with a violin rental and private lessons. Shorty after, also at age 9, I asked my mother if I could quit playing violin. She said no.
In 7th grade orchestra, I switched to double bass unbeknownst to my parents; I had seen School of rock, and I knew the violin was not as cool as bass. From my very first week with that giant instrument - the feeling of the low frequencies moving through my small body, the Ron Carter Bass and I album I found at our local library - I was hooked.
Eventually when my parents saw I was serious, they once again hooked it up with private lessons from some of the baddest bass players in my hometown, Denver, Colorado. I was blessed with some immensely inspirational times with local educator Thomas Herlin, Colorado jazz legends Ken Walker and Charles Burrell, the amazing Nick Recuber of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and contemporary-music education phenom Steve Holley. In 2010-2011 I was assistant principal bassist in the Denver Young Artists Orchestra and bassist in the Colorado All State Jazz Band. I was so very blessed to participate with Paul Romaine’s Colorado Conservatory of the Jazz Arts program, and I got to share a couple amazing moments with the great Ron Miles. Ron would have a couple of us young, black musicians over to his house and even asked me to perform with him at Dazzle jazz club one time. I still put to practice the musical and life lessons these men taught me literally every performance.
I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 to attend the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Again, mind-blowing new perspectives from the likes of bass masters Darek Oleszkiewicz, Edwin Livingston, and Alphonso Johnson. I was also regularly hit with incredible lessons from great mentors and friends Aaron Serfaty, Sarah Gazarek, and Jason Goldman; each of those educators really cared, and it made all the difference.
Out in the streets, post-college, probably 80% of the work I do has been from someone I knew at USC, or went to USC before me, or someone I met bc of a mutual USC friend. I’ve been able to play chance performances and recording sessions with the likes of Bob Mintzer, Bob Sheppard, Justo Almario, and Ron McCurdy more directly because of USC. I’ve played one-offs with Munyungo Jackson, the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, Kendrick Lamar, and Theo Croker through friends of friends. In July of 2019, I perfumed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall celebrating Aretha Franklin with her music director of 40 years, H.B. Barnum, and the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA). Just as powerful as the hits with big names have been hits with the rich community of dear music friends in Los Angeles. I plan to share more here as the story continues!