I’m surprised Beyonce liked me. I met Beyonce!!
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I have real good parents. They poor. They have regular, poor jobs and what not. They real good people and what not; I was just raised in a bad society.
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What I can say is that for may years jazz musicians had to go to Europe, for instance, to be respected and to be sort of treated not in a discriminatory way. I don’t think there is anything controversial about me saying that. This is just a fact. . Europeans really provided many venues over there and hailed the jazz artists, and a lot of musicians went over there and stayed over there for a long time. A lot of them moved over there, lived over there, and died over there.
The first jazz I heard was Duke Ellington. I was learning to play classical music, but my teacher swapped out those lessons for jazz lessons because I had started adding grace notes to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.
I’ve had those people very interested in my writing. Since I think of myself as a composer, I feel really good. I’ve had lots of guys call me up. I’ve gotten two or three commissions to write things. I’ve written lots of movie scores.
Music should not have any mandates. Jazz is not supposed to be something that is required to sound like jazz.
I don’t really look at my career in terms of highlights and low lights. I think I’m at this place right now and to be at this place right now I’ve had to go through many obstacles and lots of highs and lows and for me it’s about the entire journey.
When you are studying Jazz best thing to do is listen to records and live music as much you can and absorb everything.