This is Rob Hayes, and I have been touring some of Berklee’s most inventive student bands for more than a decade. It’s been great fun, extremely rewarding. I’ve met lots of great young musicians, and quite a few of them remain in regular touch through the music, have become good friends.
There is a supreme rush in hearing these people play, and seeing the reaction as they wow some pretty sophisticated audiences, in places like Monterey, Newport, the Kennedy Center, and the Blue Note New York, where we’ll be tonight — I never tire of it.
Three days ago, I was invited by trumpeter Christian Scott, an alumnus of one of these Berklee traveling bands, to hear his group’s recording session at the legendary Van Gelder Studio, across the river in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Man, to see Christian, with fellow alumni Matt Stevens, and Milton Fletcher, working in the room where some of the greatest records in the jazz canon have been made over the last 50 years…it’s hard to describe how that feels. Milton was playing the very same Steinway that McCoy Tyner used on A Love Supreme.