Growing up in America during World War Two was not so tough. No bombs, no air raids and many had a safe home and school. Yet we had a common purpose driven out of necessity . When we were asked to sacrifice and share, we did. We lifted each other up. We were connected. In Detroit this tradition has continued in our community of musicians. One artist passing on his insights and experience to the next guy, face to face. Connected. Sharing with patience and unselfishness. It takes strength to nurture the next generation who might challenge one in the future. But this is what has been taking place. That is why when we talk about what makes Detroit jazz special our first reason is its tradition of great mentors and teachers.
How does one teach something as intuitive as jazz. Jazz is interpretation. Jazz is improvising. Jazz is also constantly changing and is influenced by one’s life and place. Great jazz is discovery, learning, partnering and trust. These are the values along with the basics that distinguish the lessons of Detroit’s music teachers. Through the year I would like to acknowledge some of the many mentors and teachers active today. I would like to find out what makes the musicians coming out of Southeastern Michigan such a force internationally.
I asked Sean Dobbins to begin. Sean is a drummer, a scholar and a force of nature. If you have seen him play you know he doesn’t hold anything back. Sean is personally ebullient, he is prone to giving out a lot of hugs and he absolutely exemplifies the importance of being connected. What a teacher! Sean’s days are full. He is a first call musician who still finds the time for our young musicians. Ask Sean what his schedule is sometime. Unfortunately, he probably won’t have time to answer you. He is too busy sharing and caring.
Here are some introductory words from Sean about his connections.