Considering he's yet to turn pro, 13-year-old guitar
wunderkind Solomon (King Solomon) Hicks has a schedule many
working musicians would envy.
On Sunday, the Harlem boy plays for morning service at The
Greater Holy Tabernacle Church in the Bronx.
On Monday, Solomon jams with the veteran musicians at the
New Amsterdam Musical Association in Harlem from 7:30 p.m.
to about 9 p.m. before heading over to the Cotton Club on
125th St. to 'round midnight.
During holidays - read that when there is no school - he and
his Momager - that's mother Holly Sampson-Hicks - will hit
the Lenox Lounge, 288 Lenox Ave., to play from midnight to 3
Wednesdays, he practices with Jim Bartow at the Harlem
School of the Arts from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Then the Holy Name
School eighth-grader and solid B student heads home to catch
up on his school work.
Once that is done, Solomon may drop by St. Nick's Pub, in
Harlem's Sugar Hill, from 9 p.m. to midnight to jam with a
sit-in band that can sometimes include some of the best
musicians in the world.
Wynton Marsalis was there the other night but we missed
him, Holly said.
Thursdays, Solomon's at Sweetwaters Bar and Grill, 139th St.
and Third Ave. in the Bronx, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. He
occasionally makes it to Boys Harbor Conservatory of Music
on the upper East Side, where he jams to Afro-Cuban beat.
On Friday, King Solomon reigns again at NAMA, this time
gigging with the younger generation musicians who bill
themselves as young bloods. He may also hit 449 LA Scat,
an informal gathering of entertainment talent held in a
Brownstone at 132nd St. and Lenox Ave.
Saturday morning finds Solomon at Wadleigh High School,
114th St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves., for Jazz Mobile
rehearsal from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They practice all
winter to play all summer, Holly said.
I'm exhausted and he hasn't even made it yet, said Holly.
It's a grueling schedule with a purpose: Hip hop is dead,
Holly said, and Solomon's generation will be the one to
bring new music to world.
She and husband Gullins Hicks hope their son's range of
experience will give him a leg up in discovering the new
Veteran musician and NAMA President Willie Mack thinks she
may be onto something.
Each time I heard him I recognized marked growth in
musicianship and stage presence, Mack said.
When he's not playing about town, Solomon is as likely to be
practicing in his room on one of his six guitars.
You can play with anyone you want to on YouTube, he said.
Solomon has been playing since he was 6 years old. He
started out learning soul music from a family friend, then
blues, then Jimi Hendrix-style funk before he even learned
to read music.
You can check out his music and pictures of his various
appearances at www.myspace.com/kingsolomon7865.