This gig is important for a number of reasons. The first is that I am somewhat of a beginner at planning events like this. Bringing in a guest artist, regardless of whether they are well known or unknown, is a lot of work and organization, which of course takes me away from all of my principal responsibilities. This is kind of a test to see if this sort of thing can be a positive experience, because I'd like to do more in the future. Secondly, it's important because it gives two of my best students, Nicole Glover and Jon Lakey, a chance to grow through playing with one of the masters. This is the best way to learn as a jazz musician, and history proves this. Sure, an academic program can teach a lot of skills, but there is no substitute for the experience of being on the bandstand trying to hang with more experienced musicians. In my opinion, Portland and many other scenes need more integrated bands; young musicians can learn from the older cats, and the older cats can be inspired by the younger cats.
I hope to see you tomorrow! Please come and not only hear great music but support live musicians, both legendary and up-and-coming. If you aren't familiar with Mike Clark, here are some you tube clips which might pique your interest: