Here’s a video from this past weekend at the Monterey Next Generation Festival. We won 1st place in the “Open-Combo Division” and Brett & George both took Outstanding Soloist Awards. This was our finale, “HeartlE.S.S.” which I composed as a response to my friend Jordan Miles being beaten by three police officers as an act of racial profiling. The officers were forced to take a paid leave of absence, but that is all. The “E.S.S.” in the title stands for the three officers’ last names; Ewing, Sisak, and Saldutte. As of now the situation is still unresolved. We are all hopeful and waiting on justice.
Brett Williams - Piano
George Heid III - Drums
Michael Stephenson - Tenor Sax
Benny Benack III - Trumpet
Anton DeFade - Bass
This past weekend was such an incredible experience for me. Coming back from last year, when we took 2nd place, we had to aim even higher. Last year there was so much anxiety caused by over-preparation, different inputs, and a lack of knowledge as to how things were run. This year however, everything was so relaxed and we all just trusted each other to come through. We wore suits rather than jeans, and overall gave no excuses as to why we should not win.
I want to thank my brothers in the band; George, Brett, Mike, and Benny. It’s always a great experience when we can all get together and play. You all are such an inspiration for me. I can’t wait to go back with you guys for the real Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Also, I’d like to thank Pastor Tim Smith, Peter Chace, Terry Levels, and the whole organization of Center Of Life. Without you guys we would not have been able to do any of this. Lastly, I’d like to thank George Heid Sr., Jim Heid, Julz, Isaiah, Tim jr., Wesley, and Rashaud. Thank you for coming with us on the trip, helping out in any way you could, and just generally being supportive & very entertaining.
Anyways, Hope you enjoy our finale. As always, comments are welcomed and recommended.