Recitals used to be one of my favorite times of the year at MSU. Get to meet families, eat a lot of food and hear amazing music. It was a great time of fellowship. We lost some of the traditions due to covid but it seems things are getting back to normal. I received a very touching text from Brandon asking me to come to his recital. I was truly moved by his words and the gift he gave me asking me to attend. I told him yes because it would be the last time I get to see him play for free! LOL So proud of all these kids and have developed some life long friendships with so many. It was great to see everyone today and Brandon knocked it out of the park! You will be seeing and hearing great things from this young man with whatever he decides to do. I thought I'd post some pictures from today and a few others since he has been here, plus a view funny videos. Proud of you my Brother and thank you for everything. God bless you!
I had the extreme pleasure to once again hear the very gifted Samara Joy! I feel so blessed to be able to watch someone at the beginning of her career like Samara. So many amazing things happening for her and it couldn't happen to a nicer person. She is so genuine, has a good sense of humor, and just leaves you wanting more, not that she did a short set, it was a great length but she really does captivate you. It was an added bonus to have her father present to sing a blues about her also! This will be the 2nd of many more times I will go to see her. I'm looking forward to watching the livestream tomorrow with the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. That was a concert I flew out to CA to see but got cancelled when I was out there. I was also stunned that she remembered me from the last time I saw her and even remembered where it was. I may have a little guess at why, lol. So impressed with Samara and so happy for her! Very enjoyable evening!
Had the opportunity to once again here one of the greatest bassists of all time Mr. Christian McBride! His group New Jawn was playing in Detroit. Christian is always so kind and welcoming to me. He was my first tour at MSU so holds a special spot win my heart! Always leave in awe at his mastery and kindness to me.
Today, compliments of Jazz At Lincoln Center, we had the great Bijon Watson out. First stop was Marc's and I's old stomping grounds Northview High School. We had a great time. (Side note, I will be returning as the guest artist with Northview at the end of April. One cool thing was got to take a picture with 4 generations of trumpet players! We then headed over to Byron to work on the Ellington Music. Bijon was very direct and thorough and we were a better band when he had finished with us. I've grown up listening to Bijon play for many years as he is the lead player with the great Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. It was nice to spend a quick moment with him!
Had a really good day on Tuesday. It started way too early at 4:00 am to go teach in Holland at West Ottawa. The sunrise was beautiful and just felt I needed to listen to old school praise and worship when I got up. Had a good time teaching, then I went to visit the cemetery quick and my shadow made a cross over the gravestone. I didn't know what to make of it but thought it was cool. I like my sister Chandy's assessment of God letting me know He hasn't left either of our sides and has my heart in His hand. I'll go with that! :) then had the great Bijon Watson out which I will write about next, then I have tried to meet on a monthly basis with these two gentleman. Ralston and Tony have been such an encouragement to me during this season as they unfortunately can relate to what I've been through. We belong to a club none of us wanted to belong to, but their insight and love have been such a blessing to me, so thank you! The day finished off with a text from a former student that was very touching to me and was the perfect way to end a really nice day. Praise God!
Darren Wilson's films have been very instrumental in my spiritual growth. His latest one The God Man follows in inspiration to keep me growing. He profiles amazing people doing amazing things around the world who are yielded to knowing God on the deepest level. I'm so motivated by so many in this latest edition especially as I try and figure out next steps. Once again one of my Spiritual Fathers whom I have yet to meet is Bill Johnson and I don't think this will ever happen again with my name and him speaking on the same screen! LOL
I've been knowing Wycliffe for more than 30 years now through Wynton Marsalis. He is now part of our Byron family as we have had him at least 3 times out to work with us. He is excellence and an inspiration. It was such an enjoyable evening and always good for the soul! I was especially happy for Colin who got to share the stage with his hero!
Travel days! Got up at 9:00 am flew from Bali to Jakarta. Long lay over and will fly to Japan, then Chicago, then Detroit! My amazing friend Steve will be picking me up. He also has made this trip possible by being Mia's caretaker while I was gone. She'll be mad when I get home but not as mad as if Steve and fam didn't stop by to give her love. Thanks you guys.
Said good bye to as Johan called us the legendary trio! LOL Such a great time and will do some more reflections soon!
I have made it to Tokyo. Found this reading lounge and I know Talia would have loved that!
We closed our trip with a great day of food and fellowship and a set at the Ritz Carlton. The travel days begin! I will reflect on this amazing tour in hours or days to come based on internet access. LOL All non selfie pictures that I'm involved in either group pictures or pictures where I'm playing are by are documentarian for the trip Johan Sung. A great artist in his own right. Thank you Johan!
Johan and I got up at 3 am to travel to Lahangan Sweet Viewpoint of Mount Agung. The best time to see it is at sunrise. it was a 2 hour drive from where we are. I was doing good although I barely slept, but man the road nearing it is so curvy I was getting motion sickness. I've only had that once before when I was driving on HWY 1 north of SF. I ended up on the Golden State Bridge and didn't know it because the whole way was fog. Anyways.... it was very reminiscent of that but I made it. Then Johan and I had to hike up a very steep path which was really muddy. We had the option of a jeep ride but it struggled as much as me. LOL All of it well worth the wait. Just one of those things I keep repeating here pictures don't do it justice. It was so beautiful and pleasant up there. We stopped at a few places on the way home that were also beautiful I had McDonalds for the first time and got an apple pie which like most places in the world except the USA, they are still deep fried. LOL I did make a video for my friend Khristen. He said I honored him well! Lol we concluded the evening sitting in at to Goro Goro Kitchen! I will miss Bali. Things are winding down. The hospitality of Denny and family have been incredible. It will be nice to get home to Mia but not the snow and taxes lol
I've been having such a good time in Bali. Very humid but no complaints no snow, it's usually around 87 and humid. Denny and family have been feeding us constantly and it's all good! We have been doing some recording with local musicians and some workshops with students and have loved meeting all of them. Traffic is absolutely nuts yet (little less then Bali) Drummers bring their sets on their motorbikes which is the fastest way to get around. Continue to count my blessings!
Today Denny took us to some incredible spots. His and his family's hospitality have been off the charts. The first place he took us was his new music store. I've been in a lot of music stores but as he explained rational behind the why's of everything he did, I continued to fall more and more in love with his store. So much of what I've dreamed about he was doing with this store. It was the same feeling I had visiting D'jazz. So many dreams I saw realized in these two places. Very cool! After we spent some time at his store we went to the beach. It was incredible beauty and all my pictures very much pail in comparison to the reality of my eyes. My first glimpse was actually seemed like a slice of heaven and immediately thought of Talia and thought how much she would love this and thought maybe she is and that made me really happy. It was so relaxing and the people were so nice and the food was really good. It was hard to leave. we then made a quick trip to this famous statue and then off to see this authentic dance. But the views from this spot were unbelievable. We also got to see the two planets which I was bummed I missed back home so happy to see them here. Then there were the monkeys. Oh my! lol I had read about monkeys in some of the other countries but when I cut my trip short I thought that was the end. Well I saw most likely 100 of them. You think you are out of the way and then you find you are not. I did not have any issues but many others did. One almost ran over my foot but that was it. Anyways it was cool to see them but I don't really need to do that again! LOL We didn't go to see them, they just live there! It was so kind of Denny to show us around today! Driving still nuts but not as bad as Jakarta although we did see the results of a pretty bad accident. Great day! Day 8 all we did was eat then ate some more! LOL Thank you Lord for meeting so many amazing people and seeing your beautiful creation!
We went to a different part of Jakarta today and I had a really great day working with the students there. A lot of special moments. Their ensembles performed for us, and Lisa, Tom, and I would take turns giving brief comments. I had to get my old band director hat on, but was just like getting on a bike! LOL They had a choir/recorder class that learned my favorite things and then sang a blues for us. Then a band, jazz band, orchestra, and traditional instrument class that all performed for us. Then we played for them, and it seemed like the right setting to do what I call for cheap applause play drums and trumpet at the same time. I always apologize to the rest of the members of the band first because I have not mastered it yet but the kids loved it. LOL We were given a great lunch and then went and played for some 6th graders and they were so energetic with us. We really fed off that. I got some kids up to scat sing and then picked one student to do a little thing I do with question and answer (that I think I learned with Wess) and her name was Siena which is the name of a tune Tom wrote. He told the story behind it which has to do with the town I think he proposed to his wife in remotely, (ask him for the story) but as he told it and the romance behind it the girls all were oohing lol We were not going to do that tune but decided to do it for her then Tom gave her the piece of music and she was crying , then we were crying, lol it was just a lot of fun. Then we quick went to the classroom of one of Lisa's former students from Calvin, and did a quick question and answer with the kids and learned the world is smaller sometimes and people and kids are more alike than we think. One of the students who was very talented and played violin and actually arranged the orchestra arrangement they played for us was asking about careers in music and all the insecurities that come with that and I was like hmmm just like in America. She was very sweet. Then we went to one of Lisa's friends house from NJ now working at this school. She was very kind and we all tried some charcoal ice cream that was great. Then headed to the airport and got into Bali! We've been waiting for a segment that CNN Indonesia did on Lisa but there was a big fire and a fuel dispensary that was breaking news. But after our day today it randomly came on as I was getting ready for bed so quick got my phone and video as much as I could. So that is the still picture.
We spent the day today at D'Jazz Indonesia. They have been so hospitable. I could relate to our guides because they basically treated me like I tried to treat all our guests at MSU. Everyone was so kind! Had a really fun workshop and concert. Played with some of the kids here and they really can play. So encouraging. The space here at D'Jazz is incredible and they have such a beautiful heart and mission. The musicians that joined us the last couple of days were so great both personally and musically. Traffic is still nuts! LOL Lisa won't even sit in the front seat. It's really nuts. Mama Lisa got us all Korean food today. I think Tom said he stopped counting after he saw 70 dishes on the table. LOL It was great! Thank you Lisa! Tom and I are having a lot of laughs. Meeting all kinds of fun and kind folk. Lisa was interviewed by CNN Indonesia. I've had fun getting to know one of Lisa's sons more who is doing a great job documenting the tour. The brownie was my breakfast at my normal 4:30 am wake up call but I'll leave that there. LOL About to go teach for the day and then off to fly to Bali tonight.
I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I'm so tired! LOL Pretty relaxing day. Had our first musical experience in Indonesia tonight. We met and shared the stage with Eliezer Robby and Dion Janaparia. Both very good musicians and both very nice. They came prepared and learned all the music mostly originals and arrangements by Lisa. Jazz really is the universal language! The hospitality by Soundtrip and D'Jazz has been just great! Thank you so much! Thank you Lisa and Tom for letting me be a part of this one in a lifetime adventure! Going to bed! More to come! LOL
Max Colley III
Spirit Filled Jazz Musician