Onward & Upward

It's hard to believe that it's been over 2 years since I sat down to write a blog post. The world has somehow started to get back to the order of normal business, and yet things cannot be more different than they were before. People are still getting sick. People are still fighting. The world seems to be spinning a little more out of control than it has for a long time, but people are starting to move again. We're getting busy again. We're playing together and seeing each other and running into one another again and being busy again has started to become a real thing in the world so long after we forgot what it was like. The rest appears to be over and my new chapter is pretty unbelievable.

My YouTube channel has really started to grow. After experimenting a little with my titles and length and content at the end of last year, I went from 5k subscribers to 20k to 50k within about 4 months. The feast-or-famine nature of social media has been exciting, frustrating, and enlightening all at once. I'm still learning and trying to enjoy it as much as I can. I still love putting together content. I may not have as much as time on my hands as I did a year ago, but I live for editing (LOL). I still look up to the Beatos and Neelys of the world, but I feel a little closer than I did this time last year. I've also gotten to connect with real people that have seen my stuff--which is really amazing to me. Like I told a fellow musician this week, maybe I've found my third act (playing and teaching being the first two). We'll see. I really love doing it.

My playing career is also taking a big leap this fall. I'm playing a gig with the great John Pizzarelli in a week. I'm recording an album with one of my favorite pianists in town at the end of the month (the great Alton Merrell), and in addition to my regular teaching, I've been asked to take part in a world premiere show, Sugar Hill, based on the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn Nutcracker with all new arrangements (by the great John Clayton) and choreography. This whole process will include rehearsals in Newark, NJ, followed by opening the show here in Pittsburgh for two weeks in October, recording an album, possibly taping it for Netflix (!), and performing it for two weeks in New York City in November. It will no doubt be one of the highlights of my career, but alas I have no time to sit and contemplate that. It's on to the next gig, on to the next video, on to the next lesson. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it and try not to let myself get too nervous now.

It is pretty cool, though.