Every year Rodney Whitaker comes to Orlando to lead a jazz camp for students. I got to interview him and his colleague, Diego Rivera during that camp, right before they performed their 'Professors of Jazz' concert. When I saw Rodney and his other professors play together, I knew that jazz was what I love to do. It's what I always want to be doing. I'm not talking about the music, I'm talking about the exchange of ideas, the flow of energy. They were playing songs that were known, recorded and written. They were playing them in their own way, with their own unique contributions, making those offers right in the moment onstage, in front of an audience. To have that kind of flow within the prescribed music, they had to be in constant communication with each other -- looks, nods, feeling the groove, and sometimes talking to each other onstage, whispered picks ups or ideas, and always the encouragement of purely enjoying what the other was offering. It was magic. It was inspiration. It was jazz.
Here are some of the quotes from the conversation with Rodney that I go back to for inspiration.
On your journey: "I never made it back, but I made it back." In reference to leaving school and then becoming a professor.
On finding inspiration: "Some people it’s Jesus. Some people It’s Jazz."
On stepping out: "People are looking for you. They are looking for you; they might not know it’s you specifically, but when they hear you or they see you, they know it’s you."
I hold that as my beacon when I get lost in the work or in the fear of producing the work -- people are looking for me, so get the work done and get it out there. You can take a listen to the whole conversation here.