Obviously, the start of a new year, but also the concluding of another decade.
The “roaring twenties” …
2020 also marks 5 years since our family trip to London, UK.
It was cool and we went on several day trips with our adult children.
Many photographs in this post are from that winter vacation.
We love them and are so proud of each of our children.
They have not only grown into adults to emulate, but each one is a truly brilliant person who contributes greatly to society.
And, most importantly, they are good resilient souls.
They don’t quit or give up.
OUR NEXT DECADE TOGETHER
2020 also marks the year we will turn 65.
We actually don’t know what turning 65 is supposed to feel like yet because this year is our first time doing it.
But we collectively know we’re blessed with good health, the love of our family + dear friends, we still have our chops, and still play our instruments at a professional-level – so we are very thankful.
Playing Music Together in Germany Dieses spontane Foto wurde von einem Kollegen namens Bob Levitsky nach dem Parade-Teil unserer Aufführung auf einem Volksfest irgendwo in Deutschland aufgenommen. Das ist Terri hinter dem jungen Mädchen mit dem Schild und ich bin links von T. Das ist unser Freund Willie Driffin, der der Tenorsaxophonist ist, der deutlich gezeigt wird.
A former colleague of ours from our days in Germany in the late 1970s sent these recordings of our Army band back then performing in several contexts. This colleague, Bruce Shockley is a fantastic musician and still performs professionally. The included photographs in this post that are not taken by me or T are primarily from the personal archives of two other former colleagues, Bob Levitsky and Dan Flake.
GERMANY ASSIGNMENT TOUR YEARS : 1976-1980
What is interesting for us today is to now look back at those days and realize 1977 was only 32 years after the end of World War II, the Cold War was still a thing, and our job with the military was to go around playing music to spread goodwill.
To get a contextual idea of what contemporary life for us in Germany during those years was like visit the House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany website at https://www.hdg.de/
We thought our children and grandchildren might find it interesting to listen to us performing music when we first met (and before we were married in 1979). We were also just 21-year-old performing artists and gaining experience. Although we were playing 250 to 300+ concerts and ceremonies each year by then, we were still new professionals. Working that much builds chops and perspective.
We think this was from a Belgium Tour where we stayed in one of their military installations. We are seated in the front “jump seats” of our tour bus. (Photo: Bob Levitsky)
The first two recordings are from a partnership concert and are representative of what the concert band sounded like. In addition to ceremonial music, it also demonstrates the type of music we most often played for German civilian audiences or important functions. T plays flute and I play alto saxophone on these recordings.
I photograph of yours truly rendering a “gravely voiced” yet still largely questionable impression of the great Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong.
On the road again … Waiting on the bus between gigs. (There’s T resting over the bus seat without creasing her uniform. Another photo Bob Levitsky)
The 1st AD Jazz Band files that follow are live recordings from a concert we performed in a gymnasium for the Department of Defense (DoD) high school students of the Ansbach US military community. We played everywhere from historical concert halls to outdoor concerts for combat arms specialty troops on maneuver training out in the woods. And events that included most everything in between those two…
Photo showing some of the members of the 1st Armored Division “Old Ironsides” Band performing an impromptu concert on tour in Europe.
The song titled “Corazon” is from the Woody Herman band’s library. It also documents the first ever improvised jazz solo that I took with the jazz band in Germany. The second song is an adaptation by the famous arranger, composer and former military musician Sammy Nestico titled “Dvorak’s Theme.” Marcus Hampton is the trumpet improviser.
Two great friends, superior musicians, and significant musical mentors to me as a young artist learning jazz: Marcus Hampton (trumpet) and Willie Driffin (tenor saxophone)
I don’t remember why the rhythm section is only guitar, bass and drums on these tracks though. We could have been between the band having replacement players assigned to us to fill for those who left to go home to the USA.We performed so many gigs. Literally hundreds each year.
“Love is a better teacher than duty.”
— Albert Einstein
At more than one point during our tour,
we worked several months straight,
then had a few days to pay bills
and take uniforms to the dry cleaners
before we were off traveling again.
We found out that we truly loved music.
Senior Enlisted Leadership: Sergeant First Class Charlie Heintz was our woodwind group leader and First Sergeant Billy Patterson was our enlisted bandleader.
We were professional musicians before we met each other in the middle 1970s while working overseas for the U.S. Army’s music program. Our children and grandchildren likely associate music being created and instruments being played in our home as just a part of life while growing up and over the subsequent years. We are now ARC recording artists with several releases on the market. We document our music on recordings as part of the inherent legacy representing some of our respective musical works created during the course of the journey of our lives.
PHOTO: A ‘selfie’ we took after finishing our musical performance with the special ensemble backing the Choir from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts for Teach For America Kansas City at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.
The Latest Recording Project
Our latest recording project will be produced and released commercially on the ARC label. A recent post thoroughly describes “The Standards Project.”
But, our very first recording session was produced during our off-duty hours while we were members of the Army Band at Ansbach, Germany.
The Very First Recording Session
We have always believed in creating the type of life we want to live and that includes where our musical careers are concerned as well. We don’t wait for things to happen to us. We work to make the things we want to happen. This first recording session illustrates this fact in a very cool way. It was thoroughly planned as well.
By 1979 I was just about finished with the composition and arranging course I was enrolled in and taking from the Berklee College of Music in Boston by mailed correspondence. It took 3 years to compete. I was writing lots of “tunes” by then and had officially joined the arranging staff of the Army band. Several of my charts were being played in concerts, shows or tours.
We hadn’t a clue of what we were doing as record producers beyond basic knowledge in terms of understanding the music and how to operate the equipment we were using to record. We didn’t even consider post-production concerns or commercial distribution of the music we recorded. We were simply learning and creating something musically positive for all of us to do rather than just sit around between the Army band gigs.
Our very first recording session date was December 18, 1979We produced the recording with fellow Army musicians we worked with at that time .The images posted here are of my decades old hand-written notes, LOL! We recorded one of my originals and my arrangement of Sonny Rollins’ “Pent-Up House.” Following are the credits:Bob Henry, engineer; Larry Bennett and James McNeal, trumpet; Christopher Burnett, alto saxophone; R. Stephen Gilbert, tenor and soprano saxophones; Gene Smith, trombone; Leon Johnson, Fender Rhodes; Bruce Shockley, bass; and Dennis Butler, drums. Terri Anderson Burnett and Christopher Burnett, producers.
For some reason, it all worked out.
Forty Years Later
We are still practicing, performing, teaching, writing and recording music.