12 For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully,
even as I have been fully known”
(1 Corinthians 13:12).
As 2016 begins to lose its edge, it would be wrong for me to not acknowledge the grand old time I had as many moments of it thrilled my heart, before the year makes its last hurrah. With great affection, I celebrate the 365 days God made that he filled me with an amazing amount of energy to exercise more artistic freedom than I ever thought I’d fashion.
I know that I am still a work in progress, but the mere fact that I was able to let the real me shine through wherever I was and whenever I was, pleases my heart to realize how God loves me like nobody has ever loved me.
2016 was a blaze of knowledge and understanding and I am still learning and growing as the journey through this year comes to an end. Realizing that I will have another journey to make through 2017, the idea of it is growing in my heart. I feel an unwavering certainty that the new set of 365 will be another arena of learning and growth outside of my control. But before we start to make our way in that direction, I just want to reflect on some of the highlights of this past year that will stick with me the rest of my life. The most wonderful example to show evidence of God’s love, power and wisdom over my life is that I saw the beginning of it as a total different person than I am now, 362 days later. There are no probing questions I could pose to even deny that fact. That is enough to feel a complete state of nirvana and satisfaction to say that I triumphed over every mountain that came my way but, here are some other things God allowed me to see, as the months moved along, that I am celebrating as the year comes to an end:
- January: Bass player, Billy Grant invited me to perform live with the band Deep Cover at Trattoria 632 in Purchase, NY to take in the beginning of 2016. It was cold outside, but inside was toasty and an oasis of hot music. And so the year began.
- February: I got a chance to portray the role of the First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, in a Black History Month Celebration of Rhythm and Soul and it was such a beautiful stage play. I got to sing and pretend to tap and tried my best to fit into the role of one of my favorite singers of all-time.
- March: I recorded one of the seven songs featured on my album that was released just months later entitled, “Finally JNote.” I love writing songs and getting into the recording booth to do lead and background vocals and to create vocal melody to music because that is when I can truly spread my wings and be as creative as the unique pattern of a butterfly.
- April: I came up with a crazy idea to start a soul band and that is when the JNote band was born with some of my favorite musicians and we have been doing some nice performances together ever since including a summer weekly run at El Toro which is a waterfront restaurant/club at the Nautical Mile in Freeport, NY.
- May: After years and years of pursuing my college education, I completed my studies and crossed a goal off my to-do list. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Medgar Evers College and received my degree in English/ Professional Writing.
- June: Sadly, Muhammad Ali died. I was excited however, to be able to celebrate his life on my one year anniversary of my radio show, Jazz on the JNote, which was a show I started when trying to write my college thesis on Jazz & Racism, conducting research to write the 30-paged paper I had to complete in order to graduate.
- July: My first night at Maliblu Oyster Bar on Lido Beach in Long Island as a musical duet with the incomparable keyboardist Wayne Holmes that lead to a summer residency there, every Tuesday evening through the summer which I continued with the JNote Trio,.
- August: A beautiful night of music under the Archways of the Manhattan Bridge at Dumbo. Funny thing, the flyer said rain or shine which I did not understand until I got there and the band started to play and it was pouring outside, but under the archways which was also outside, but under the protective covering of the arch was jazz music provided by my jazz band, the JNote Quintet thanks to the Harlem Swing Dance Society who also taught some pretty neat jazz dance steps to the crowd.
- September: The Fort Greene Park Jazz Festival put together and hosted by Eric Frazier was held in the latter part of September and I was the featured vocalist of the event and it was such a nice way to do what I love to do the most.
- October: I did my first ever music tour which was also my first ever trip into Europe. It was in Russia to be exact and I did a ten-city tour around the beautiful country. I saw more than I’d seen in my lifetime in sixteen days and that was the most different thing I had ever done.
- November: This was my third year having the opportunity to encourage the runners at the TCS 2016 NYC Marathon and once again it made me happy to see the runners moving and simply trying to make it to the end at the pace that they were able. It was inspiring to know that even turtling through, you can reach your goal if you never give up.
- December: NYC Parks Department put together an evening of jazz and dance featuring the Harlem Swing Society who taught some neat swing dance steps to music by my jazz band, the JNote Quintet and it was such a beautiful event at the St John’s Recreational Center. Something about doing any event in Brooklyn that brings me joy.
I could go on miles and miles about the good things that happened. I could even talk about the days of rain, though I rather flood you with conversation of those moments that shined to keep things positive, in hope, that maybe you will smile for me. I guess you can say it was a year that was filled with building character. I learned from the best moments and the worst moments.
And as we clear the way for the moment when we will yell, scream and holler, happy new year, and step lightly into 2017, I want to wish to you a year filled with a lot of love, opportunity and pulchritude. May you prosper in all your endeavors and may whatever you do Integrate harmony into your life. I hope you never feel slighted and that your days will be surrounded by joy. That worry might not steal away your time and instead that hope may keep a vision of heaven at your fingertips. And lastly, that you might be able to triumph over each situation you are faced with and that bright sunshine over despondency will remain a constant in your days ahead so that you might have unanimous acclaim when 2017 begins to wither and 2018 is in view.
Happy New Year to you all!