Sunday, September 11, 2011

Little pink houses for you and me.

(all the house look just like this in Nantucket.. lovely..)

Hey there good people!

So there I was yesterday in another airport ;-)
On my way to a gig in Nantucket, if you're overseas and unfamiliar, it's a
little island in Massachusetts. This state is known for it's quant little islands,
all very rustic and romantic. I'm doing a wedding for the family of Susan Tedeschi,
an amazing blues singer, if you don't know her, look for her music on iTunes. Maybe
she'll sit in on a tune, that would be awesome.. And it'll be nice to see the
scenery for a day.

A sweetheart of a girlfriend of mine (Hey Jill), who works at Jet Blue hooked me up with a free ticket, so I'm all set. Just found out my flight is delayed, so I've got time to roam the new and improved JFK Airport, it's quite impressive. The design is very streamlined so you don't have to wait in lots of long lines and, some of it is set
up so you go straight thru security directly to your gate, lots of cute shops and
restaurants, etc. And of course Jet Blue has become so large that they have their
own terminal.

I had a room at a bed and breakfast which I LOVED. Hubby and I have been talking
about a vacay in the fall, now I'm thinking it would be quite lovely to do a bed and
breakfast tour up the east coast for a week or two. Lots of them have fabulous
restaurants, and if you go in the fall, the discounts would be great, but knowing my
boy, he will want to go to the sunshine. He is a true boy of summer, you know, the
ones who start wearing shorts in May? He would try for flip-flops if I didn't catch
him at the door.

Although fall is my favorite season, and I really do love the fall with all of it's
colours and smells and textures, the sweaters and tweed blazers coming out, it's so
special.. but this year, I'm really sad to see summer go.. It's taken many years but
in the last few years or so, I've really come to love the summer too, and have
become more in tune with the whole timing and pacing of life and it's seasons..
Planting and growing and blooming and dying and rebirth. Maybe it's because last
winter jut seemed to go on and on forever. It's just feels like life shouldn't be
that hard, shoveling feet and feet of snow in the freezing cold. Maybe it's because
this summer seemed really short with all the rain, I dont know. I just know I crave
more sunshine... So maybe Chris has the right idea..

Anyways, lots of you have been asking about the live show today, and of course I
should have written before now, BUT here's an update. The show is postponed until
the first week of October, so sorry to disappoint you guys, I really am but it was
just impossible to get all the people I wanted to be involved with everyone's
schedule being so hectic, so I though moving the date back a few weeks might be a
good idea, but don't fret, it is STILL going to happen the first week of October and
of course I'll post it everywhere and keep you all in the loop. I just want it to be
special, so hang tight.

I will however, be doing a live radio interview today and I'd love if you guys
all tuned in and even called in with questions. The name of the show is "The
Conversation"!!! LIVE!!!! Hosted by Klarque Garrison. It airs this Sunday at 4pm
EST, and the call in number is (917) 932-1078 or listen online at

Listen to internet radio with Survive 365 on Blog Talk Radio

If you're waiting for part 3 of my last blog, I will post that next week, in the
meantime enjoy the sunshine, enjoy your loved ones, ENJOY LIFE!

Love to the families of the victims of 9/11 <3

PS here's a little something from the show, enjoy!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Hey guys,

Just a little note to thank all of you who came out to the show last Sunday.
It was a fabulous, fabulous show. In fact, it may have been my best show ever! The band was fantastic and the turnout was awesome! People were dancing, singing and having a good old time! So thank you everyone, for supporting us and making this our best show ever.

If you missed the show, you’re in luck! We’re doing another show next month. It will be a Live Broadcast via the internet, and we’re holding a contest so the viewers can pick the time, date and price of the show.
Stay tuned for the details, or look to the left to vote on the particulars:

Part 2 of my latest blog is below..

Thank you again, and remember.. music can change the world..
Enjoy the summer..


"Now… Back to the story!

We needed singers, so we put out the word in our ‘Hood’ that a spot was open. I can’t remember who, but someone suggested “‘Lil’ Vivian from 200” (200 was the building Vivian grew up in). She had sung in our class production of “The Wiz” and she was GREAT!!!
At first her mother objected (I’d later find out that her mother sung professionally also), but I guess with a little nudging from Mrs. Evans, she landed the role of Dorothy. When we held auditions for the singing spots Vivian blew the other girls out of the water!!!! We had our Star!!

One problem though, just as when she starred in our school play, Vivian was still afraid of singing in front of people. Well, unbeknown to a few of the guys and me, Vivian would quickly lose that fear.
At the beginning of her first practice with us, Vivian walked in the band room guided by on of the biggest, smoothest dudes I had ever seen around our side of town. It was her Uncle Lincoln. We started out pretty slow, but needless to say, by the end of that practice we’d all done pretty well.

Within two weeks we had about 5 songs down pat. The tightest of them all was Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover”. Vivian sang the “----“ out of that song. And, of course, I held the bass line right in the pocket, LOL.

During those days, trips from NYC to Atlantic City were well awaited when summer hit. Mr. Byrd gave an annual bus ride to AC every year. Since he’d given us access to a room for rehearsal, he considered us to be “His Band”, so he often checked in on us. Well, it was during one of Mr. Byrd’s unannounced visits, that he brought us some of the best news a bunch of kids from the projects could ever expect to hear: we would be the opening act for Marvin Gaye (at the old Coliseum) in Atlantic City.

I will never be able to explain the excitement we all felt; I’ll say this though, it was over the top. We practiced hard, and though I honestly don’t remember the set we’d put together, I remember it being tight! We reached out to some of the guys in the projects who were already playing professionally by that time and they made sure that we had it right.

Julian had his brother Tim (who was already a guitar virtuoso, touring Europe with a Funk band), Everett had his oldest brother Freddy (who had started out playing in the same band as Tim, but was doing a lot of keyboard work in the studios at that time) and I had the help of two bass players (John – who had begun his bass career playing funk with Tim and Freddy, but had crossed-over to Gospel when he got Saved, and Jerome, who was touring Europe with Tim).

Kenny was a natural and his ear was amazing! Though he couldn’t read a lick of drum music, Kenny could pick up the drum line – stroke for stroke- by listening to the LP’s. Yeah, we got it right! We got it tight!! Besides Vivian, we had two other girl singers. If I’m correct, one’s name was Valerie and the other was Caroline. To be honest, they were only there to fill in space because Vivian had the vocals locked!! LOL!!!"

Stay tuned for part 3


Wednesday, August 3, 2011



Hello, Hello, HELLO!!

It’s been such a long time I know! All I can say is, I miss you guys so much!

I’ve run into so many of you around NYC, I’ve gotten emails, etc, asking, “Why haven’t I been getting emails from you? When are you performing? Where have you been?”

Well, here I am ;-) Actually, to be more accurate, I’ve been keeping my head down making headway with this new record, which I’m not even going to talk about since I don’t have the new record in my hands ready for you to hear (guilty).

I have been busy though. I toured with Joe Cocker last summer in support of his new record, “Hard Knocks”, which I also submitted songs for (none of my songs made it, next time though..).

After that I worked with Cher at Caesars Palace in Vegas in the fall. Then I did the Capitol Jazz Cruise.
In the spring of this year I did a workshop for a new play directed by THE Bill T. Jones (Fela). So I have definitely been busy.

In fact, I have a show coming up this very weekend at the lovely Feinsteins Nighclub. This will be my first show in two and a half years and I’m hoping to see all of you there..

The information is below.


This Sunday, August 7th, 2011 – 8pm
540 Park Avenue (corner of 61st Street)
$20. Advance/ $25. Door (Dinner required)

Chris Parks - bass
Sherrod Barnes - guitar
Ron Thompson - piano
Eric Brown - drums
Tim Ries - saxophone
Mark McGowan - trumpet
Clark Gayton - trombone

The show is called I Am Music. I called it that because I still love music as much today, as when I was a kid sitting in front of the record player.
I’ll be featuring new music from 2 different records, songs from the last CD, Sunny One Day, and music I’ve written for other artists.

I have a KILLER band and you guys know I don’t do things halfway, so you know we will be JAMMING up in Feinsteins. Make your reservations quick because tickets are going fast.

‘Til Sunday, here’s a little something (further below) for you to read, my latest blog post, written by a childhood friend of mine, Gerald McDonald, about our first band together.
See you Sunday, and remember, music can change the world..


"Where I’m From (Pt 1)..

Without mentioning the year, Id like say that the culmination of this event took place during the summer of my last year in elementary school.

I’d always loved music and wanted to play and instrument badly. So, in the beginning of that school year I joined the P.S. 92, Mary McCloud Bethune School’s Orchestra. I had no idea what instrument to choose.
The music instructor, Mrs. Stratfield, suggested the cello, and I agreed.
From cello I went on to play bass guitar.

A great friend of mine, Julian Green, who lived in the St. Nicholas Projects (I lived in Lionel Hampton Houses), and his brother, Tim Green, had already been playing guitar professionally in Funk bands and performing all over Europe. Well Tim began to teach Julian guitar and me Bass.

We learned pretty quickly too. By the end of the spring we’d formed a band with two brothers, also from the St. Nicholas Projects: Kenny and Everett Veasley. Their older brother Freddy played Funk keyboards professionally. He taught Everett keys, and Kenny taught himself to play drums – by ear - and he was funky. After joining forces we still needed a place to practice and someway or another, we got Mr. Byrd to give us open access to a room in the St. Nicholas Projects Community Center, of which he was in charge.

By mid summer we’d already had a few songs “down pat” and were pretty tight! We added a percussionist, “Big Larry” to the band and were well on our way to stardom, LOL!!! The only thing that we needed was singers.

Before I go any further, I must take you back to the beginning of the school year. Our teacher that year, Mrs. Judy Evans, was amazingly educated and Afro-centric. She taught us as if she were teaching adults, giving us the gumption to reach for whatever we wanted in life. We were the “TOP” class for that year.

Well, a couple days after the school year had begun, Mrs. Evans made an announcement to the class that we’d be having a new student, that had been skipped a couple of grades, joining our class. You can imagine the chatter in the room. Seemed as if no one wanted a “Nerd” joining our class and we were about to give this new kid hell! But, on that day, in walked the cutest, prettiest little girl I’d ever seen. She was scared and timid to the point of being terrified. But,… She was beautiful. That was the first time I had ever set eye on “Vivian Sessoms”.

Now,… Back to the story!"

Check back next week for Part 2.. ;-)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer, Summer, Summertime!!

Come out and celebrate with us! It's SUMMERTIME!!
First off, I've got some new digs..
I'm doing Sunday Brunch at a new place called O'Hara's Grill in downtown Jersey City -
June 12th - featuring Miss Rosalyn McClore on piano
June 19th - featuring Chris Parks on guitar &
June 26th - featuring Chris Parks on guitar.
Then Thursday night, June 23rd - Rock and Soul jam at O'Hara's
featuring Chris Parks on bass and Maurice Watson on drums, with special guest Mark dollar on guitar.

Then come on across the water Friday night, June 24th and catch me up in Harlem at Billie's Black for their anniversary party with a fabulous list of performers including:
Ra Re Valverde
Kimberly Nicole
Gloria Ry'ann
Adina Nyree
Mike Hammond
Lorenda Robinson
Russell Taylor
Abby Dobson
Chester Gregory
Kevin Anthony
& Darius Booker
You REALLY don't want to miss this!

Lastly, you can catch me a few nights a week at The Darby (244 West 14th St. Bet'n 8th & 9th Ave), formerly known as Nell's, with the magnificent Ron Grant and Kimberly Davis, along with a who's who of musicians and singers stopping by to round out the evening. When I tell you I know a place and WE WILL TAKE YOU THERE, I am NOT playing. If you're ready, come go with me..
June came in with a bang and it's gonna be hot and heavy y'all!!
Have a great summer babies!


Monday, March 7, 2011



i want -my god given right to choose who represents me
i want my god given right to live the life i call free
i dont want to see any more naked black women on b/e/t
i want black men to stop talking about how they don’t respect me

why should we let anybody tell us who we are
only we know who we can be
i will say these words til I’m dying
cuz i wont stop, i cant stop- ‘til you hear me

people have lived and died so we can stand and walk tall
they feared for own their lives but somehow they kept going.. strong
do we feel we owe nothing to them but to dress fly & party on and on?
i am so sick and tired of us living as though we are invisible
look at the life of the man
who fought & lived from day to day
trying to figure out how to lead his people
to the promised land, the PROMISED LAND
leaving behind his young wife and children
wrapped up in our pain and suffering (the world of living)
how do we repay him for all that he gained
by grown women clappin their asses
and grown men refusing to take stances
maybe this is a necessary ill
maybe we’re just lettin’ off steam
but i can’t see how this is the answer
my people, this can not be the way

i’m talkin’ to our mothers, fathers, sisters & brothers
i’m talking to our children
i’m talking about - black pride
where is it?

by any means necessary, if necessary
by peaceful means when we can
i’m asking if we think we are past fighting for our civil rights
as though the movement has ended
when in fact it has only (truly) just begun
if our leaders of yesterday were here today, we would have marched to new orleans
BUT FIRST, we would have marched after the 2 bush elections
are we not tired of being taken for granted in voting fraud scandals and by pop personalities who speak so cavalierly of lynching and nappy headed hoe’s?
of students who hang nooses from trees for sport, cops who maim and murder in the name of the law.. irate comedians who resort to racial slurs and epithets in a moment of panic
and loss of self control, calling people nigger..
nigga? please
you know what?
i hereby refuse to call another black person nigga

in my dreams i often see the image of a black cat
and in her resides the spirit of nefertiti
like an angel she comes to me
and softly chides
“you were not sent here to simply just.. be
but to fight, raise hell and rebel for that which you believe

things haven’t really changed for people like you and me

young men sent to fight for a country that would rather see them die than educate their minds
young women raising families without fathers is another sign of our times
we have the highest rate of aids, but are the ones who can least afford to see a dr
we shop the most yet own the least
1 out of 9 black men is in prison..
but none of that will stop me from trying to make YOU // hear ME..
why should we be so familar with defeat?

i want -my god given right to be protected by the police
i want my god given right to have honest and fair representation by my govenrment
i -want -my -for -ty -ac -res -and -a -mule
don’t you?
we live in a land where we still encounter racism every day
yet so few speak for us in a way that is not sensational but instead rational and with intellect and poise
we forget that this fight is not over
that the revolution MUST GO ON
because the revolution will STILL be televised

our heroes are dying

or else
they are slandered, ridiculed, and brought down before our very eyes
yet we stand unmoved, unphased and unprepared
the elders of our tribe disappear before us
as our last line of defense
but it is easier to build a monument than to start a movement
there is a pain in my heart that is hard to describe
it is not unlike the feeling you get when love has betrayed you
except it is a country that has failed me, failed all of us..
so i guess you could call it heartbreak

it will begin with me
let the movement begin


the time is now to take a stand..

Friday, January 21, 2011


Sometimes.. I marvel at little things and big things.. Things we take for granted, for instance, I was thinking today about how amazing human life is. Don't you think it's a miracle that 2 people can come together, fall in love, mate, and out of that union can come another human life? A tiny baby can come from 2 people falling in love?? How amazing is that? How amazing is it to watch a person grow, and learn and grow more and be shaped by their families, and friends, their surroundings, their education, and watch them become who they're going to be?

The only part that is difficult is watching people die. Still haven't been able to wrap my brain around that one yet. I once read a story, that in the very near future, disease had been conquered, there was very little crime, people could live as long as they wanted and they chose when to die. The interesting thing was, you would think people would choose to live forever if they could, but once all their family and friends began to die, staying around didn't have the same appeal and people eventually began to feel lonely. Even though their children were still around, even though they could make new friends, there was something comforting about having at least a few people in your life who knew everything about you, people with whom you had shared memories and experiences. In some small way, I guess I could understand that.. But life is quite amazing, isn't it?