Focus on your craft…

and refuse to be denied…

Jay McShann Tribute Big Band

🎵🎷 another True Story …

The main photograph of this post is of the Jay McShann tribute big band saxophone section which included (left to right):

Gerald Dunn, Christopher Burnett (yes, with the large Afro hairstyle), Dennis Winslett, Bobby Watson, Ahmed Alaadeen and Kerry Strayer (not shown).

The legendary altoist Bobby Watson soloing…

I had actually met the great Jay McShann and interacted with him several times.

This tribute event was held in early 2007 at the historic Gem Theater in the jazz district of Kansas City.

Alaadeen, who first introduced me to Jay, invited me to play in this tribute – but, I don’t think he was formerly authorized to do so because the cats initially acted somewhat surprised to see me there with my horn.

Even though nobody said anything to me, I figured it out when there were three alto players during the first set. Awkward. Normally I would have left under such circumstances and not even played but I listened to my inner voice and stayed.

And since I had actually met Jay and interacted with him several times enough to have gotten to know him somewhat, I wanted to simply add my musical voice to this tribute.

It turned out to be a very nice event honoring a true master of jazz and blues.

Jay McShann was also the first professional bandleader to hire Charlie Parker.

Playing the lead alto book…

We played two sets. Bobby had to leave after the first and let me play lead the next set.

All of the players were pretty nice to me since I could play the parts and was there unawares and sincerely by invitation of a KC jazz master.

This was my introduction to the realities of life in the music outside of military bands.

Sometimes you just have to make a place for yourself in life and the music industry because others won’t do it for you. What a great opportunity and honor this was.

Those are the types of substantive lessons I learned from the late Ahmed Alaadeen along with the technical aspects of music we studied. He was my last great teacher.

My 2007 JAM cover was in great company…

I’m still going strong and have artistically established myself teaching music in addition to performing and composing.

I began my career by serving 22-years with the professional military bands system.

And 2018 marked another career milestone of being professionally active on the at-large music industry scene for 22-years after military service. That’s pretty cool.

2019 marks entry into new territory of sorts…

As my late brother who was truly a world class musician once told me:

“Focus on your craft and refuse to be denied.”

~ Richie Pratt

Visit: BurnettMusic.com

Also visit KC Area Youth Jazz at YouthJazz.us

🏈 Jayhawk Reunion

+ Degrees of Separation

The featured photograph in this post is a posed picture taken by Terri in 2012.

I’m shown here with our three eldest grandchildren at the conclusion of a visit to our home by Jesse Newman and Curtis McClinton to see our eldest brother, Richie Pratt, who had recently returned home after having lived in Hawaii for nearly thirty years.

“So, I get home from work today and there is a strange car in the driveway. I walk in the house from the garage and Curtis McClinton is sitting in my easy chair and Jesse Newman is sitting on the sofa in the living room. These two Jayhawks came by to visit our Jayhawk, Richard Dean today. It turns out that Curtis was involved in the work of initially setting up the 18th & Vine District and Jesse has been big in community advocacy and education. They plan on visiting regularly. It was cool for our grandchildren to get to meet them too …”
– – –

The three of them played varsity football at the University of Kansas in the 1960s (1960-69 Rosters). Richie ultimately had a shot with the New York Giants and Curtis went on to greatness with the Kansas City Chiefs.

And see: RichiePratt.net