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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do You Know Who Your Friends Are?

For me writing a blog is about learning. Writing brings to light the things that are of my essense, things that make me tick. And writing also helps me to understand what it is that I can do to best contribute to the good of the order, so to speak. I wish I'd started writing earlier.

In recent years, a source of great delight for me has been that I now can clearly see brilliance in my friends. Thanks to FaceBook and the internet in general, I have had the good fortune to re-connect with many extraordinary old friends from early childhood, school and college and in the music biz. And witnessing them as fully self-realized adults (sorry I missed so many years of the process) is a revelation.

My years in New York, when I was young and impressionable, were a hell of a lot of fun.  As studio musicians, we were at the center of the music industry universe. We worked hard to be the best.  As personalities, we filled the spectrum. Some of us paralyzed by self-doubt. A few self-destructive.  Some confused by having such power at an early age.  Many just grooving along on the wonderful journey. We were surrounded by great genius and madness. Love and competitiveness. And fantastic creativity.

Imagine. I worked on a daily basis with the likes of players like Will Lee, Gordon Edwards, Steve Gadd, Chris Parker, Marvin Stamm, Jon Faddis, Randy Becker, Sid McGinnis, Steve Khan, Rob Mounsey, Tom Malone and a zillion others. Really?

And singers like Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson, Luther Vandross, Daryl Hall, Gordon Grody, Irene Cara, Melissa Manchester.

These were all well-known names in the business and their extraordinary level of excellence was taken for granted. As was the fact that this was a bunch of bright, well-educated, articulate and funny 20-somethings, experiencing success at a level most cannot hope to achieve in a lifetime. And I am only considering a handful of the musicians. There were literally hundreds of writers, producers, arrangers, engineers and assistants who were just as talented. And nobody outside the industry even knew their names.

So what are they like now? Even better. Powerful, centered, wise and still funny. 

There was a young assistant engineer in the 70’s of whom we were all quite fond. A kid named Glenn Berger, with a shock of red hair and super dedication to his work. I found him a couple of years ago on FaceBook He is now a psycho-therapist and author, and still a super cool, wonderful person. Glenn’s most recent blog post is just about the best thing I have ever read.

I have attached a link for you to enjoy his work. It’s about recording with Mick Jagger, babies and life. Bravo, Glenn. You ROCK!

Boy, it’s really fun to be a grown-up.

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