Right now, I am hunkered down in my house due to the cold weather looking back on all the great playing experiences I have had this year, the people I have met and worked with, and the opportunities that have been offered to me, and one word springs to mind: Blessed. I feel truly blessed to have worked with Lee Rucker since this past summer, and to have met the great saxophonist Eric Alexander, while working in his combo at the Aebersold Jazz Workshop this summer. I'm thankful for those whom I met, and got a chance to create music with, at Aebersold: Hannah (bass), Brian (tenor), Cole (drums), Matt (tenor), Greg (trumpet), Melvin (alto), John (pianist). We shared an amazing experience working together that week, playing the great George Coleman's "Amsterdam after Dark". Sitting in countless masterclasses by Mike DiLiddo, Dave Stryker, Fred Hamilton and Corey Christiansen, who shared their wisdom and techniques, helped to broaden my horizon of what this music is really about.
I'm blessed to be a part of Jazz Ensemble III at UCO this semester, and to be among all the great guitarists at UCO, all of which continue to push each other musically. I am thankful for Taylor Carmona, who spent countless hours texting everyone to set up regular jam sessions all summer long. She's since moved to Kansas City and set up a jam session at UMKC, and it has been a challenge to set up sessions with people since, her influence has been missed. I'm grateful for Danny Vaughan, UCO's guitar instructor, who encouraged me to come sit in at Grand House with the "old cats". He gave me the push necessary to play outside of my comfort zone with the master musicians in OKC.
I feel blessed to be working - whether it is teaching students, playing gigs, or most recently, playing guitar for People's Church OKC campus. A great deal of thanks is in order to Jemar Poteat, for setting me up with such an inspiring group of people to create music for the ultimate purpose.
I really cannot thank Stephen Schultz and Drew Wilson enough for their work on my Junior Recital last month. It was a pleasure to work with them, the ease and finesse they play with took me to another level. It was a joy being able to get together weekly to rehearse, and follow the music where it took us. I look forward to being able to play with those guys again soon.
Looking back at all these experiences, and even those not mentioned here, it is hard not to feel blessed and inspired musically. I look forward to next year, to continue playing at UCO, People's Church, and anywhere else I am needed. I hope to simply follow the music wherever it takes me.