As I was walking over the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City Queens to catch the 7 train into Times Square yesterday, I had a thought about my experiences at and after both my years at Camp MMW. Of course, the five days that I spent there, were absolutely incredible. I loved every riddim that I clapped and every note that I played. I have nothing but fond memories and inspiration to take away from my time spent in Big Indian learning from my favourite jazz trio of all time. However, the thought that occurred to me on my way to work was that I didn’t allow myself the time or freedom to allow my lessons from camp to truly sink in. Let me explain.
In both 2009 and 2011 I attended Camp MMW in the first week of August. Since August is one of the worst months to spend in New York City, my girlfriend and I planned vacations to visit friends and family for 2 weeks in our hometown of Seattle no more than 10 days after my return from camp. I consider myself lucky to be able to take nearly 3 weeks off in the middle of summer but my time away from my home in New York after such profound musical experiences had adverse effects on me.
In both years, I returned from Camp MMW inspired, and ready to do nothing but play music and compose spontaneously. However, with two weeks of vacation only ten days away I had to put my musical ambitions on hold and focus on making money at work to finance the trips out west. After making enough cash to float me through my trip, I packed up my bags and spent two weeks away from my bass, amp and recording studio.
While in Seattle very few, if any, opportunities to play music presented themselves between travelling to visit friends and family throughout the city and the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula. Both years, by the time I came home to Brooklyn, that inspiration that was coursing through my veins upon my return from Camp MMW had subsided underneath the experiences of my time at home. After taking the better part of August off from work, I was in debt and had no more days off which further limited my ability to pursue the lessons I had learned from the Jazz trio. After both my experiences at camp I felt as if my inspiration was stalled and my motivation to play and teach others what I had learned had subsided.
I guess the only thing to do now is to go again next year and take the following week off to do nothing but play improvised music. Let’s hope I can make that happen this coming August!