Are we lucky or what? Being a longtime fan of jazz music I was thrilled to hear that our own South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center would be featuring a show called “Live at Birdland.”
Some time ago I, as many others have done, got to go to Birdland in New York and see Dizzy Gillespie and his band play some incredible music. I never dreamed since moving to Cutler Bay that I would be able to practically drive around the corner, park my car in a huge parking lot, and walk into a magnificent theater to hear an incredible band that took me back to the exciting days of my youth.
The bandleader was Tommy Igoe, a drummer the likes of which I haven’t heard since Gene Krupa or Louis Belson. Each of the 15 musicians got to play their own solos to standing ovations from the crowd. These guys play every Friday night at Birdland in New York.
How great to be able to hear them without the fuss of driving downtown or to Fort Lauderdale or some other place that was difficult to get to and where parking is a nightmare. Admittedly the crowd was primarily from the older generation and an era when being a musician required incredible skills and motivation.
I was so inspired by the performance that I noticed the woman sitting next to me changing seats. My wife informed me that I was tapping my feet and hands so much so that the floor underneath me was shaking. I just couldn’t help myself! (Sorry, Mrs. TAVSS) I am sure that I am not the only one who was tapping his/her feet but I tend to be a little more animated than most. The bandleader, Tommy Igoe announced “that of all the venues that his band has played in, the acoustics at the Cultural Arts Center were the best by far.” I was happy to see practically every seat filled for this performance.
Of course, I tend to appreciate the skill of these musicians even more having made several attempts in my early life to become one of them. I tried playing the clarinet and then the drums for several years and, although I enjoyed it, I knew that I was not quite good enough to join a good band. It was a shame because both of my older brothers were professional musicians. I guess I was the black sheep of the family when it came to music. I do manage to appreciate how wonderful these people are from having attempted it myself.
Every so often I am asked to speak to students at the various schools on career day. The thing I always advise them to do is to try as many things as they can at this early age because they never know where they will be years from now. By attempting various art forms and other challenges, at the very least they will appreciate what the professional artists are actually doing.
Another good example: I tried at one time to become a great actor. I did appear in several local theater productions and didn’t have to be told that I had better keep my day job. Somehow I was never able to lose myself in the character plus I had difficulty remembering my lines.
I did become quite creative on the stage but, of course, my fellow actors were waiting for the actual cue lines as they were written and I wasn’t able to help them. I do now have an above average appreciation for people in the theater, again because I tried it and know how difficult their tasks really are.
As most of you already know I did in fact have my own radio talk show for many years. As a child growing up this was the furthest thing from my mind, but having been a ham radio operator and eventually a salesman for unique electronic devices, I found myself in demand on the radio talk show circuit. Who knew?
Here I am now, an elected official of all things. Who would’ve thunk it? The truth is that I am now required to use all of the skills that I have developed over my many years and combined them in my effort to make my town a better place. It is not an easy task but I try my best.
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