My mom & dad bought me a piano when I was 2. A toy drum kit with a Hula dancer drum head, complete with a light bulb & blue cymbal when I was 6.
A reel-to-reel tape recorder when I was 8. An alto sax when I was 10. A Ludwig drum kit like Ringo’s when I was 12.
I started a band w my brother Bob. Started writing and recording music. I played from the heart. And it felt good. I worked at a grocery store when I was 16 so that I could buy the first Arp Odyssey synthesizer. I attended the Stan Kenton Big Band jazz camp at Drury College when I was 17, along with Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. I wrote for the SK big band! I’ve been jamming since birth.
In college, I learned about music theory, Palestrina, Coltrane, Chopin, Webern, Schoenberg… and wrote/played a lot of music. I started composing with a pencil, then fine ink pens wearing white gloves to maintain a clean final score. When I was a kid story…
I was taught to have ideas, to grasp ideas, to improvise… My high school music teachers encouraged me to write and perform music. So grateful for my teachers. And a deep and soulful thank you to Dr. Roque Cordero, my music composition teacher-mentor-friend.Roque’s teacher was Ernst Krenek who’s teacher was Arnold Schoenberg. Roque taught me about great composers and ideas. He opened the door to amazing techniques for organizing sound that I had never considered. And he encouraged me to be me, to be my best. His words still encourage me today: “You must become your own teacher.”
In 1977 I decided: “Why not compose with all media? a continuum of all media and arts.” So I wrote a Master’s Thesis to explain this: “Towards an Unbroken Media and Art” at the age of 23.
I bought the first Apple Mac computer, a midi interface, performer and composer software (MOTU). Then I became an Apple Evangelist. I continued to create music, performance art, films, animation, plays…
My band Bux da Hoota was on the roster of Geffen Records. Mike, Jim, Brad & I performed original music – reminded people of Sting, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa… Had a few tunes on the radio: “Please Be Mine” (anthem) & “One Life to Live” (soap). Dude named Hipbone Sam painted my Selmer tenor sax candy apple red in ’84.
I started a multimedia production studio, UMEDIA, Inc., in 1987 and have produced video, audio, animation… all over the world. Please check out the UMEDIA web site. UMEDIA is short for “Unbroken Media.” Takes a long time to ‘splain Unbroken Media.
Fast forward: I have the privilege to perform and create with two amazing musicians in the trio Wertico Cain and Gray. Paul Wertico has 7 Grammy Awards from his work with the Pat Metheny Group. He’s recorded lots and lots of albums. We’ve made 7 together so far. Larry Gray has worked with jazz music legends like Jack DeJohnette, Ramsey Lewis and so many more. As a trio, we make music together, on the spot, without a net, building on the sum of our individual experiences and musical flow. We trust each other.
I’m focused on being true to the muse, ideas, and intuition. The genuine result of this communion becomes my art; improvisation is at once spontaneous composition. This wonderful experience of co-creating reminds me of the feelings of in-the-zone joy and excitement that I had as a youngster making music. It has come full circle.
If you are on a similar journey and feel the love, then we have a connection. I’m humbly grateful for the opportunity to co-create with you.
Peace & OM