With the release of Epilogue on November 14th, I’ve traveled a journey that started with Departure in June of 2008, and brings me into retirement and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2023. Along the way I made four other solo recordings, four CD’s with the Trombones of the St. Louis Symphony, and a few others with various groups and individuals. When I started, the compact disc was the method of listening, now it’s downloads, streaming, and who knows what it will be in another few years.
A lot has happened during that time, but suffice to say, I am supremely grateful for so much that I’ve been able to experience during those years, on and off the trombone. As a kid growing up, there’s no way I could have guessed anywhere close to what my life would be like. I was never a good student, and music was no exception. But somehow I had enough talent, and along the way gained enough work ethic and desire, to find myself earning my way through life sitting on stage with a symphony orchestra. (a pretty good one at that!)
It happened one day at a time, one long tone at a time, one phrase at a time, and now looking back, it truly humbles me. I did my best, but I was never of the opinion I was the best. Mostly I tried to keep up with what was going on around me. My efforts to record were in large part to keep myself working to improve, and not be satisfied. Once I had my job, and tenure was secured, I wanted to make sure I earned sitting in that chair, a chair many others would have gladly taken.
Now, the solos and constant striving have been reduced, fairly eliminated. While I still enjoy playing, I’m not trying to stay current, or impress anyone anymore. If you wanted to hear my best, go back and listen to something I did on my first few albums!
The bell curve of my life is different now. But I’m good with that. I’ve earned taking it easy, spending more time hiking than sitting on stage. And I appreciate all that I’ve done. It’s been a lot. It’s not something you can see until you gain the perspective of time. And now, looking back, it’s very rewarding to think of all the concerts, cities, countries, colleagues, lessons, masterclasses, and yes, long tones!
I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I wanted to reflect that in both in the title of my newest recorded music, Epilogue, and the photo that graces the “cover”. That’s the same train station from my first CD, Departure. Seemed fitting to show it again, as I pull into the station at journeys end.
There may be another project, a little more juice to squeeze out of the lemon before I’m done, but most of my journeys are in the scrap book now. I’m happy to look back, happy to have had the opportunities, and happy to pass on the baton. It’s time for someone else to sit in that chair. I’m grateful, pleased to have taken the trip, and ready to stay in one place for a while. As was said in a movie once, Life can only be lived going forward, but only be understood looking back.