Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 a retrospective

Well 2011 has come and gone. It is now the new year 2012. The new year always brings a fresh energy. But let's travel back to 2011 for just a bit. I'm sure it was quite a year for all of us. So what stood out for me personally this year?

So I will start with the Santa Cruz Summer Retreat. Being a part of that event and celebrating Anno sensei's 80th birthday both on the mat and at the huge gathering at the Cocoanut Grove will be a highlight not only of last year but of my life. It is wonderful when you can celebrate not only the event but the man. And to see and be a part of that spontaneous outpouring of loving devotion for someone who truly deserves it was memorable. And let us not forget the hardships Japan has undergone in the last year , with the earthquake and the more recent flooding in the Kumano region. By the way I just spoke to Anno sensei over the phone last week. It was brief but very heart felt. And let us all look forward to his coming this July.

Also a very moving experience for me was to be named to the honorary board of directors of the Chet Baker Foundation. Page one on the foundation website includes Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock....To put things in perspective I am on page 6. Chet's closest friend Artt Frank has been instrumental in filling me on not only on the fine points of Chet's playing but also about the man himself. I was able to visit him towards the end of 2010 and I hope to visit again. This is definitely not for my musical ability, but I will take the honor on the basis of what I have stood for in my life.

In January of last year I was privileged to be able to play with San Jose's jazz ambassador Eddie Gale. Just being able to counterpoint with someone of his level is an astounding thing. It would be like playing one on one with Michael Jordan. You would learn something. A dvd of that session was made, " Sounds for Peace" and is still available at the dojo.

I also want to mention the Menlo College Summer Retreat. It is always wonderful to catch up with and spend the week with senseis Robert Nadeau, Frank Doran, Hiroshi Ikeda, and of course Mary Heiny. Mary will be teaching at our dojo February 8th. And of course it gives me a chance to hang out with Dianna and Vladi, which is always special.

And I want to personally thank Robert Nadeau sensei and Robert Noha sensei. We spent the year trying to put a sizeable dent in cracking the code to Osensei's knowledge. Hopefull more of the same this year.

2011 also saw the premier of the movie "Thrive", a documentary put out by Foster Gamble and his wife Kimberly. Just after returning from the Japan trip in 2006 I was approached by Foster to have some footage of me shot for this documentary. So we did. While I did not make the final cut for the film, sections of the footage are included on the dvd, the website(www.thrivemovement.com), and on youtube. I am including one of these:


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