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10. Ya Do What Ya Gotta Do

Updated: Oct 24, 2020

The title of this post may as well be the title of my working life. The next stop on my journey to pay the bills was a wholesale electronics distributor on 45th St. in Manhattan between Broadway and 6th Ave. called Portnoy's. The owner, Abe Portnoy had been a musician at one point in his life. The proof was the saxophone mounted on the wall of his office where I had my interview. It was a good reminder for me to keep my eyes on the prize.


Oddly enough though, even this job led to some musical projects and excursions. While working there I met the son of a successful professional jazz sax player who played flute and sax himself. We got together at my apartment to play some jazz and work on an original I wrote for him called Kinetiscope. I also got talked into trying to form a band with the guys in the Portnoy's warehouse who were all from El Salvador, but unfortunately knew very little about music. I ran another round of ads in the Village Voice which got me some work writing transcriptions, a few auditions, some arranging and piano rehearsals with a fusion sextet in Soho, and an arranging/piano gig with a funk/soul vocal group whose lead singer unfortunately ended up missing rehearsals due to being incarcerated at Riker's Island prison. I also played with a guitar player and a sax player I met while commuting on the Staten Island Ferry.


I continued my education by taking a course in Arranging and Production at a school run by Paul Simon's look alike brother Eddie, who was summoned to listen to my Herbie Hancock and George Duke audition selections. After that I signed up for a weekly music curriculum of theory, ear training and piano being offered by a DMA and local composer who had studied with Roger Sessions. I was also starting to consider whether I should pursue teaching so I took the New York State college proficiency exams in the history and psychology of education which could open that door for me.


Around this time I wrote and performed an original organ work called, "Oh What Light Of Hope" at a Christmas Mass, wrote a piece called Saxafras for the sax player I met on the ferry, and was starting to formulate some piano preludes based on books while continuing to develop material for my first musical The Skyladder.


I was learning that achievement and success don't necessarily mean the same thing.

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