PRINCE 1958 – 2016
Probably 30 years ago I was seated next to a sound engineer on a flight home from LA .The flight was routed through his hometown Minneapolis. At some time into the flight he started talking about the effect that an artist named Prince was having on the Twin Cities.
I knew who Prince was. He was a rock star who used gobs of eye makeup. He wore bright purple colored tight clothes and seemed to be able to be who ever he wanted to be. I knew my kids understood his music. It turns out that I really didn’t know Prince and didn’t have the good sense to appreciate his statement of independence that kids picked up on.
The Prince that the sound guy described was an absurdly gifted musician and the ultimate team player. I learned that he turned his back on no one. When he had success, Minneapolis thrived in his wake. He remained centered in Minneapolis throughout his career. His love of music never wavered and took precedence over fame or the music business. He listened to others and was eager to collaborate. Prince turned out to be a Prince after all.
Prince will be missed as he was a fierce believer in free expression, and he always had something to say. We listened because he said it so well. He said it so well because he listened, he focused and he shared.
DETROIT HIS MANY GIFTED MUSICIANS WHO LISTEN, FOCUS AND SHARE. I AM BLESSED TO KNOW ONE IN PARTICULAR:
A REALLY GOOD LISTENER AND A FINE MAN
Luis Resto, though internationally renowned like Prince, has stayed in his hometown. Like Prince he is in a music rich environment.. They both have played multiple instruments. Luis sings and plays the piano, keyboard, organ,bass, guitar, sampler, all percussion, accordion, and viola. These guys never stopped learning. They sang wrote, produced and collaborated their whole lives. Luis is one of Detroit’s musical treasures. A winner of awards from the Grammy Awards and Oscars, Luis has played/written/produced/ influenced/collaborated music with a long list of world class musicians. He is best known for his partnerships with Marshall Mathers (Eminem), Don Was and Patti Smith.
I have some space where I can paint and store my work.. It is a magical space above Vivios Restaurant in Eastern Market. The space is only accessible by going to the third floor of Devries Cheese Shop and then passing through Luis Resto’s music loft. Luis could be anywhere, but chooses to create his art in the top floor of this very old building. He is here because of the sound he gets in this place with its high ceiling and wood trusses. I would also extend to him the International Award for being a genuinely nice guy. Luis is exceptionally generous with his time, except when it is his time to create some music. He goes deep into his creative cocoon and is completely unaware of anything or anyone around him. I know to walk quietly through his space and not disturb him when he is lost in his music. He will never look up. His concentration on his craft is inspiring to other artists.
On Saturdays when he is in town he opens up his loft to allow musicians and shoppers at Devries Cheese Shop to wander in. The public is welcome. Many folks wander in not knowing Luis and not really expecting what will likely happen next. If they choose to grab an instrument or a mike and join in, Luis will listen to their contribution and go with it. This is who Luis is: a sound sponge. Luis really listens. Luis is very honest when he talks about how important these encounters are with these Saturday intruders. He gets so much out of the diverse approaches to music from fellow professionals to kids banging on the drum set. He will listen, file it and maybe use it in his next tune.
In his loft Luis is inspired by all who enter. Here is a video of Luis and a new young friend reacting to each other. Luis can turn everything into music. These two young souls danced and made music together
MUSIC IS SO MUCH RICHER BECAUSE THERE ARE ARTISTS WHO SHARE THEIR TIME AND TALENT. THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING TO LISTEN AND THE WILLINGNESS TO SHARE IN OUR MUSIC WILL BE ILLUSTRATED THIS WEEK AT THE DIRTY DOG WHEN MICHAEL JELLICK SHOWS UP.
MICHAEL JELLICK AT THE DIRTY DOG
Michael is so gifted. He is also another example of Detroit jazz artists who continue to learn and grow. Each time he comes to the Dirty Dog he brings something new, which he will be sharing with his band mates. Come on out.