Takes a Village

I sincerely hope the very best for you wherever you are in the world, and I hope you’re keeping safe and warm. I’ve spent the last month back at home in Virginia for a stream of performances in the area, and I’ve come to realize how apt this phrase has been in my musical life. 


I was extremely lucky to connect with almost every one of my musical teachers from every stage of my development, beginning with Sue Schreck who started giving me and my siblings violin lessons when I was 4.  I was also able to attend the funeral for Virginia Koun, who gave my entire family piano lessons and, along with Sue, became a huge part of my family’s life.


After visiting with or sharing the stage with Chris Brydge, Woody Beckner, Jeff Smith, Jimmy Masters, John Toomey, Liz Barnes, Terry Burrell and Jae Sinnett, I’ve realized just what a profound impact each has had and continues to have on the musician and person I am and on the person I hope to become.  Each and every one of them have played such an integral role in helping me find my way and I’ve learned much from the example they set on and off the stage.  It certainly does take a village, and I’m so incredibly grateful to all who’ve shared their time and wisdom with me over the years.


Before heading back west, I had the chance to stop by my alma mater, the Governor’s School for the Performing Arts to conduct a masterclass with some of the jazz students.  It’s hard to convey just how meaningful it was to bring things around full-circle as I took my turn at giving advice and encouragement to a whole new generation of talented young musicians.


After such a wonderful trip down memory lane, I can’t help but realize how important it is to be completely unselfish with all the training and mentorship I’ve received….a lesson so ingrained in me by the very great Clark Terry! I’m grateful for every opportunity I get to help someone else along their musical path and can’t wait to do much more in the coming years!!


Peace & gratitude!!


Justin


ps.  Speaking of Clark, many have asked how they can stream "Keep On Keepin On" (since it's no longer on Netflix).....GOOD NEWS!  If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can watch for free at:  KOKO on Amazon Prime


pps.  My teachers weren't the only ones I got to catch up with!




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