Play What You Know

A few weeks ago, i sat next to a table off story-tellin Black men at a local coffee shop.  Man, these fellas had jokes for days (too many of which, i was the unfortunate ass).  Anyway, the conversation eventually turned to music, where i discovered that i was in the presence of Detroit Brooks, guitar player to the stars.  He told me he plays with Charmaine Neville (right!  The sister of the Brothers) every Monday at Snug Harbor, a famous Jazz club.

So, in the interest of relationship building, i went to check him out.  After a great set, he found me and we were talking about this and that when he said, “you should come sit in with us.”

My eyes shot open.  “umm….i’m good, thanx.”

“No, man.  Whenever you ready.  Just play what you know.  We ain’t got nothin to prove to nobody.”

It’s true.  But still, i wasn’t with it.  No way.  i ain’t gettin up on THAT stage with YA’LL to pluck my little guit-fiddle.  Don’t you know who you are?  As time passed, however, i knew that if i am truly serious about being a guitar player, i need to do the things necessary in order to make it happen.  Anything less is just a hobby.

Look what i was doing monday:

It was good having my man Suave there.  But by the time he got on stage, i was already comfortable.  This is the second song i did.  The first was a little more of a challenge.  As soon as i got on stage, Charmaine said, “i love to have young people on stage.  This is what you call ‘Baptism by Fire.’  What type of music do you play, amari?”

Soul and funk.

“James Brown.  ‘Man’s World’ on three!”

Whaaaaat?!?! i’ve never played that song in my LIFE!  Luckily, the piano player, who happened to be from Jersey, yelled “G minor.”  And we started rollin!  Took a solo and everything!

Fear is a muthasucka.  It retards our movement, if we allow it.  Here i was, stressing over something i had no business stressing over.  This is what i do.  And i ain’t got nothing to prove to nobody.

To top it all off, i ran into Detroit the next day and he was all compliments…and not just tryna gas my head up, neither.  This could be the beginning of a beeeaaautiful friendship!


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4 Responses to Play What You Know

  1. Mona Johnson says:

    Proud of you son!
    Love, Mom

  2. Omilade says:

    Awesome experience. Right on time! Thank u.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How long have you been playing in total, anyway? Not just professionally, but when was the first time you picked up a guitar?
    (I ask because I’ve been reading about the 10,000-hour theory lately, & i suspect this fits in)

    • amari says:

      i played for about three years when i was a kid, but took a 10 year hiatus that ended in January of last year. i am faaaaaar from 10,000 hours!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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