Monday, April 12, 2010

Jazz Composition: Old and New Friends

I met with two friends from Chicago yesterday. They pitched me a new stage show idea to see if I had interest in helping develop this project.

One of the friends, Dre, is a long time collaborator. Dre and I worked together on several projects including a successful children's show we wrote about Barak Obama. He also directed and produced most of the Straight and Nappy projects. The other friend, Barbara, is a woman he introduced to me via Facebook. Barbara is witty, philosophical, and sweet. Not the kind of sweet that makes you wince or your teeth hurt but the kind that makes you smile and you're not sure why.

The three of us met at Urth Cafe in West Hollywood. Dre visits LA often and Urth is one of his favorite spots. We almost me downtown but I'm so glad we didn't. Urth Cafe was packed at 1 pm with the late Sunday crowd. We snaked through the long line, ordered, then went in search of a table. As we scanned the patio for a seat I noticed a dark skinned brother reading at a table. He was with a beautiful woman who was reading my favorite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I'll come back to the woman later lets talk about the guy for a second. I couldn't stop staring at him. I knew him (and NOT in the nasty sense either). I approached the couple. The woman looked up from her novel and smiled. The man looked at me with some faint recognition. I extended my hand and said, "I know you. Are you from Peoria? Do you remember me I'm Pip." A light went off behind his eyes and a smile moved across his face like a zipper opening. One of his own tribesmen had found him.

The man, Bob, grew up with me in Peoria. He was a church keyboardist and was one of my musicians when I was music director of the Bradley University Gospel Choir (BUGC) back in college. We hadn't seen each other in almost 20 years. I knew he lived in LA. I knew he was still a musician and also a songwriter/music producer. He has done very well for himself. Very very well. He and his writing/producing partner (also a Peoria native) have won AMA awards, Grammys, Soul Train Awards. They have worked with the likes of Boyz II Men, TLC, and Monica. They even produced Sisqo's "Thong Song". Not bad, huh?

Accomplishments aside, it was great to see somebody from "back in the day." We all need people in our lives that knew us when. It helps each of us see how far we come and remember who we really are.

As Bob and I walked down memory lane, his wife and my friend Barbara forged a new path of friendship. It was strange to watch these two women babble on like childhood friends even though they had just met. At the end of their conversation, my friend's wife actually gave her copy of The Alchemist to Barbara.

I love when life works out like yesterday. Because I knew Dre, I met Barbara. Because I ran into Bob after 20 years I met his wife. Because I was with Dre and Barbara, his wife met them. Because of that Barbara and the wife are now friends. Harmony.

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