Upon graduating from the Indiana University School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in Doublebass Performance in 1975, I had $30, a bass, a ’66 Volvo and a job offer from the Orquestra Symphonica Nationale de Mexico in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Naturally, I took the job. Overall, it was a great experience.
After a year I had saved a small nest egg and moved to Chicago (near where I was raised) and began a fledgling career as a free-lance bassist. Ironically, my first job offer was to play electric bass three nights a week with a Brazilian band in a Mexican restaurant! Over the course of the next two years, I gradually became more involved in the Chicago jazz scene and gained a great deal of valuable experience as a member of a house trio at a jazz club where a different big name would come to town and perform with us. During a nine month period I was in this jazz university I performed with some real masters including, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Buddy DeFranco, Clark Terry, Marian McPartland, and the like. I was 22 years of age and extremely lucky to have been in the right place at the right time.
Many of the aforementioned artists encouraged me to move to New York and become part of arguably the most important jazz scene in the United States. Naively, I took their advice (in retrospect, I probably was not ready) and in the fall of 1978 my wife Darla and our two cats threw all of our stuff into a U Haul truck and moved to the Big Apple.