If someone told me this week I would record my 4th album and be featured on NPR’s new show Jazz Night In America, I would be apprehensive to believe the tale. But here we are…
I was told to sit and appreciate the moment but my mind was already thinking about the next step. The week started with a gig with Herman Burney on Sunday, then rehearsal, then teaching and classes on Monday, preparing (food, drinks, music, recording schedule) on Tuesday and recording Tuesday night.
By Wednesday morning I was fried but I had teaching, classes and son’s concert on the schedule. The NPR feature was Wednesday night. By the time I got to bed, I was exhausted. I woke up the next morning with a terrible headache and unable to fully function. Life was telling me to take a break and reflect.
Upon reflecting, I must say thank you God for the many blessings. Thank you to family and close friends for the constant support. Navigating life can be challenging. Having people who love and support you makes the journey more enjoyable.
NPR’s Jazz Night In America…
How did this happen? Was it my plan? No! NPR… First, I approached Omrao Brown about doing an Artist in Residence (AIR) at Bohemian Caverns. I was considering the AIR to give the band the opportunity to season the music for our upcoming recording. He said no dates were available so we worked on booking the group for a weekend date. We booked January 30th & 31st.
After booking the date, I reached out to the band members. 90% of the band was available so I moved forward with plans. I was committed to only doing music for the upcoming recording. Sink or swim, I felt it important to work on the music.
On January 18, Patrick Jarenwattananon approached me about featuring my band on NPR’s new show Jazz Night In America. Something happened and the February 11th slot became available. I agreed. Later I found out that he also spoke with Omrao and Gio (Capital Bop). Everyone thought that our gig was a perfect fit.
If I wasn’t focused on preparing for the Spiritual Awakening album, I might have changed the setlist. But we had to get things seasoned for the album. And just like that, I was told we made history. Bohemian Caverns was featured. My band was featured. And we represented aspects of DC’s diverse music scene…
Recording Spiritual Awakening
Originally, I scheduled the recording session for Spiritual Awakening on February 28, 2015. As the recording date approached, conflicts began to rise up. I tried to keep the date on February 28 but it was looking bleak. I contacted the studio and asked about available times (keeping everyone’s schedule in mind), February 10th was the best possible date for 95% of the people I wanted on the album.
Now that I reflect, this week was challenging, exciting and memorable. A true awakening. I’m thankful for the exposure and accomplishments. I think this album is by far our deepest musically and spiritually.
Allyn Johnson – piano and rhodes
Amin Gumbs – drums
Brian Settles – tenor saxophone
Carroll Dashiell, III – drums
Christie Dashiell – voice
Herman Burney – bass
Janelle Gill – piano
Kenny Rittenhouse – trumpet
Victor Provost – steel (tenor) pan
Reginald Cyntje – trombone, composer, producer