By Mark A. Moore, Senior Executive, Smooth Jazz Entertainment LLC.
Why start a company dedicated to music? I mean, do I have a deep seeded need to be a musician? Truth be told, I haven’t played an instrument in years. I wasn’t a virtuoso or a child prodigy. I can hold a note, but I wouldn’t say I’m a singer. Now my singing duties are limited to the bathroom shower, or perhaps when I muster the courage, I may attempt to serenade my wife on a midnight swoon.
When I was about 5 years old, I remember seeing a TV commercial about Chuck Berry. He had a guitar in his hands strutting across the stage while strumming the strings. I thought it was so cool. The next Christmas I asked my father for a guitar. I begged and I pleaded with him. But alas, I never got the guitar. I always wondered what it would be like to play. Later, I wanted to take piano lessons, but my mother couldn’t afford the lessons or the piano. It wouldn’t be until I got to junior high before I started playing my first instrument. I chose the baritone since my classmate told me it was “as small as a trumpet”. My teacher was delighted that I chose such an unusual instrument. When she pointed to the 40 pound leather case, I immediately thought about strangling my classmate! Aye, those were long afternoons dragging it home to practice in the basement. Although I resented the baritone’s cumbersome and weighty exterior, I loved its sound.
My father had a tremendous collection of records at our house. And under no circumstances was I allowed to touch them! (Did your father do that too? Why is that?) Hot Buttered Soul by Isaac Hayes and Standing in the Shadows of Love by Barry White were just some of the albums that graced my father’s collection. These were his prized possessions; so valuable that when he went out of town he often forbade everyone, including my mother from playing them. And it didn’t matter what he was doing around the house, those records were on steady rotation. Count Basie, Jimmy Smith, to Byron Lee and the Dragonaries, Yellowman and the Police. My father had broad and eclectic tastes. Music was always around me. I didn’t know it then, but I most certainly appreciate it now.
In high school, I was playing the tuba in the junior concert band. (My teacher asked me to try it since I was one of the few kids in the class big enough to hold it.) One day after practice, I saw a pair of drumsticks laid out by the drum set. I’d never played before, but I was pretty coordinated. So I got on the set, and started to jam. After a while, my music teacher came out from his office, adjacent to the room. Right then and there, he told me to come to come play with the junior jazz band. I was surprised, and unsure what it would be like. But I agreed and that marked the beginning of my jazz education. I would go on to learn how to play
the congas, timbales, and drums. I played solos and competed in competitions with the group. It was there I learned about Louis, Ella, Thelonious and Wynton. Now music had even greater meaning. Its influences were far ranging and intertwined.
Smooth Jazz Entertainment is the culmination of my passions, lessons, failures and triumphs surrounding my musical experiences. Music has taught me so many things. It has given me so much. This is my way of giving something back. I love music. I hope to use this blog to speak about music; to examine its inequities and to celebrate its achievements. I hope to be an advocate for the artists. I will let my thoughts guide my pen. And of course, I would love to hear from you too. If you are looking for a great show, or someplace to hear great music, please check out my website http://www.smoothjazzentertainment.net. Check out our “Upcoming Shows” and “Around Town” tabs for more details.
Thanks for reading my first entry.