John Coltrane, 14"x11", graphite pencil on Strathmore 300-series, 70-lb white Drawing paper

Monk & Mulligan, 12"x9", pen and ink on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

Julian Bream, 12"x9", pen and ink on Bienfang 70-lb white paper

My love for music, just like everyone else, started early on in life. In fact, as best as I can remember, I only wanted to be any of three things when I grew up: a soldier, a fireman or a drummer. The first two were very common among children my age. But the third one– a drummer– could only be borne out of a natural love for rhythm brought about by the fact that music was always playing in our house through the radio or phonograph that we had back then! I didn’t end up as any one of my childhood dreams. But I sure had a wild ride imagining myself as one of these growing up!

The first music I ever liked was rock: The Beatles, The Eagles, Queen, Billy Joel, The Police, Scorpions, Juan Dela Cruz Band, U2, etc. And then I got hooked up with the folk rock of James Taylor, Jim Croce and Cat Stevens. At around the same time in high school, I was introduced to the smooth guitar of Earl Klugh (shown below playing solo, and with George Benson). That’s when a whole new world of music descended upon me: Jazz! I then listened to the likes of Lee Ritenour, Ronnie Laws, George Benson, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Michael Franks, Weather Report and Jaco Pastorius. And of course the big guns: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, etc.(John Coltrane playing below, and with Miles Davis.)

Jazz is the only art form that was originated in the United States. And while not as rigid as classical music or as rebellious as rock, it is just as powerful and influential! The blues became a natural segue to my love for jazz, especially the guitar music of Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Ry Cooder, Carlos Santana, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as the work of Steve Vai and the classical music of guitarist Julian Bream (Vai and Bream shown playing below, respectively).


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