Giving Thanks!

Here we are again!


This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. With all the tragedy and turmoil occurring around the world, I feel that, now more than ever, it's important to be mindful of everything for which we're grateful and to cherish every opportunity we have to bring a little more positivity and love.


So, that said, I’d like to express my gratitude for you and for the blessing it has been to share music and positive vibes all over. It’s been jam-packed since September, beginning with the tour in the States and ending up with a 5-country tour in Europe.


Traveling and sharing music with so many appreciative and receptive crowds was unbelievable. I can’t thank Billy Williams, Christopher Smith, Matt Stevens, Matt Witek, Katie Thiroux, Romeir Mendez, and Evan Gregor enough for hanging in there with me and making the music so beautiful. I also can’t forget to thank my main man, Thomas Duport, for filling in for Candy when she needed a break!


One very special moment for me was performing at the Blue Note Milano in Italy. As we were sound checking, Billy let me know that there was a portrait of Cee Tee right in front of the piano. It was a beautiful reminder that Cee Tee’s spirit will always be hanging around and making sure we’re doing our jobs right!


After all that, I had the privilege of joining many of my fellow CT Ensemble bandmates from William Paterson to perform “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by a great composer, arranger, and saxophonist, Brian McCarthy. For the last year, Brian has been arranging and re-imagining popular music from the Civil War period for jazz nonet. We had a blast premiering the music in Vermont and I certainly hope that’s just the beginning. Special thanks to Linda Little and B-Mac for putting such an awesome project together.


Finally, Candy and I headed over to LA to revisit old friends at the Monk Institute, and perform during this year’s Monk Competition Vocalist Finals and Gala concert, and honoring the one and only, Quincy Jones! Getting to hang with so many jazz greats is always a treat and I’m so thankful to the folks at the Institute for allowing me to participate.


Now, I’m back in VA and especially mindful of how grateful I am for you and your support. I can’t believe how blessed I am to do this thing I love so much and share it with you. I also must say: Your willingness to make it to this point in this letter is nothing short of remarkable!! and I can’t thank you enough for that!


I sincerely hope you enjoy this holiday season with loved ones, and to see you if you're in any of these areas...it'd be great to thank you in person!


Peace and Blessings,

Justin

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