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"I decided

to become

full time


One day whilst I was delivering mail, I had the opportunity to meet a jazz musician. His name: Pharoah Sanders. We spoke for quite some time, to the point where I was almost late finishing my rounds. I was impressed by the fact that he didn't, as a "jazz musician", have any attitude about me playing music from a different genre than he. I find this attitude happening with many different types of musicians very troubling and definitely not healthy for musics. As it turned out, Pharoah Sanders called me to do my first jazz concert in New York City the 17th of May 1969 in the park at 120th street. And, I think, 5th Avenue. The band included Leon Thomas, Lonnie Liston Smith and Billy Hart. I will never forget the music of this concert. This concert was enough to start me thinking more seriously about how do I support myself as a musician.

I knew that I needed to continue my studies first and foremost. Pharoah continued to call me for certain concerts which in turn enabled me to meet more and more musicians. I decided to become a full time musician. Started to get many different calls and by 1970 I started doing a number of very different things from studio work to jazz gigs. Bob Cranshaw, who at the time was a regular on the New York jazz scene as well as being an Evanstonian also, helped me immensely by passing a lot of things in my direction. My most memorable job subbing for him was at a club in Harlem called "Minton's Playhouse." He called and said that he would even loan me his bass, which was a beautiful Italian bass, for the engagement. I was to play with Monty Alexander. Now, I must give you the setting.