My first exposure to music was as a first grader, my mom got me some accordion lessons. That didn't last long, I managed to avoid music until high school, where I got my first exposure to playing jazz tunes and improvising over form, as well as learning to read music. I did the usual high school/ college thing of playing electric bass in rock to fusion bands while taking classical theory and harmony at the local college . Until I met a guitar player who uttered the fateful words Didja ever hear any Clifford Brown? which got me at least listening to more straight ahead music (and some acoustic free-bag), if not actually playing more straight ahead. I did a boat gig in the Mediterranean for about a year with that guitar player and began playing more jazz tunes. The boat gig put me in a good enough financial situation to buy an upright and attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. I ended up cutting most of my legit classes to play, though. I was fortunate enough to play in the ensembles of people like Ken Pullig and George Garzone and do sessions with Klaus Suonsaari, Ian Froman, Dave Kikoski, Tim Williams, Donald Harrison and others. I returned to Augusta GA in 1983 and was able to work with not only local players like Tyrone Jefferson (ex-Slide Hampton), Terry Rosen (ex -Woody Herman) but also Clifford Jordan, Junior Mance, and Bill Barron, who came through town. At this time I was also chosen to attend master classes given at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (in New Smyrna Beach FL), one with Elvin Jones and one with Charlie Haden.