Berklee College of Music

Here we are, doing a two day stop at Berklee College of Music, where I’ll hang out with staff and a few students to Q&A, about all things considered, regarding jazz and music today. Roya was our hostess with the mostest, and made us feel real welcome, as though I might be SOMEBODY! Smile! She was great. I can see her now, waiting there to my right. So attentive! The whole occasion was a classy operation, to say the least. Thank you, Berklee!

Everybody doing music has known about Berklee College of Music, and their wonderful jazz program, par excellance! And one my closest associations with the college came from the time of my first recordings, and playing the jazz workshop and Paul’s Mall on Boylston Street, next to Strawberry Records. . I had a close friend named Andy, a high school class mate of my wife Susan, who was in jazz school at Berklee and studying guitar etc, and he and I just delighted in those occasions, when we could get together while I was performing, and he was studying. How hip… I don’t know how many women were on campus then, but Andy had found two of them who had formed a little performing quartet, called Edna. Andy and I truly thought how hip that was. Women in the jazz program, and all.

And so, I have to admit that through the years, I’ve thought of Berklee as a wonderful little Ivy League-ish enclave of Ivy League educators and students, who were doing this marvelous work of codifying and organizing jazz studies, for a select small, but growing, group of college students, with the interest and dollars to study jazz music in an academic setting.

WELL, that may have been the case at one time… maybe not. But, it sure is far from a school of music of today with 500+ teaching staff and enrollment of more than 4,000. That blows my mind. If I’m not wrong, a student to instructor ratio of 9 to 1, approximately. That’s amazing. The community of Berklee graduates must be enormous. And the influence on American music must be incredible.

It tickled me to no end, and it touched me to tears, to share the stage and some time with Terri Lyne Carrington, and also with Jeff Ramsey, who are on teaching staff, and who also have played in my band over the years. I was so proud, and it made me at home and comfortable when we played some music together on stage during the Q&A session. We rounded things off with a little luncheon, and then headed for the airport.

I still feel the pride of receiving an honorary degree from Berklee in 1991, along with Phil Collins.

Boston has always been one of my favorite cities in the world, for things beyond music. All the stuff that an American from Milwaukee or San Francisco would be touched and impressed by.  So here I am with another beautiful memory to add to my Boston strong memorabilia. Now I get a little break and rest period at home, where I’ll take a really deep breath. And so my thanks to Berklee and Boston, and all the graduates, who have helped make music of the world a lot better.



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