Sometimes we all need that push

Sometimes you just have to push yourself. If that doesn’t work? Hire somebody to do it for you.

That’s kind of what I had in mind when I started taking guitar lessons from Vaughn Klugh about a year ago at the recommendation of a musician friend, Van Cephus (monster keyboardist), who I ran into at a jam session down at Cliff Bell’s back  when RJ Spangler and his illustrious crew were still holding court down there every Wednesday. I have to say that was one great jam session, even if I didn’t make it down there anywhere near as often as I needed to. And now it’s gone for various and assorted reasons which I’ve heard whispers of but, well, that’s life in the city. It’s here awhile, and then it’s just not.

Anyway, I was struggling my way through some particular tune up on stage, rather tired of embarrassing myself whenever I attempted to play jazz in public. I’d been playing blues and other stuff for more than 20 years and definitely holding my own if I do say so myself, but man the minute I started trying to up my game to the jazz level was when I was forced to realize how much further I had to go if I wanted to consider myself an evolving musician and not just a blot on somebody’s rear view mirror. I knew I needed somebody to push me. Again.

Because actually the first time I made that move was more than seven years ago when I asked my lifelong friend and brother Salim Washington to help me stretch. He responded with a series of master lessons (handwritten) that I am still utilizing to this day. Still, I needed the additional assistance of somebody who was nearby, and also somebody who played my instrument to help keep that fire lit. Vaughn turned out to be that fire.

Am I still struggling? Hell yeah. But not like I was a year ago. And on and so forth, onward and upward.

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