For the longest time I have been a fan of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – this is no secret to anyone who knows me.  I never did get to see them live, however a friend of mine went to New York and saw them at a club – while they were playing she called me and left a message of them playing one of my favorite tunes – one by one – very nice – very thoughtful.

It was a few years after that that I got the opportunity to study with Curtis Fuller  – THE trombonist with the group – no matter which version of the group you listen to (my favorite is from 61-64) Curtis is the best trombonist Art ever played with – hands down.  Regardless – Curtis was coming to the school I attended and he needed a student assistant – I leaped at the chance, and with the help of fellow Canadian Steve Fisk (killer guitarist) I picked him up at the train station.  Here is as close as I can remember what the meeting was like:

Short dude, very concerned and very chatty.  He immediately found me (I was holding a sign) and we did the usual pleasantries.  Once I got the stars out of my eyes, Curtis asked for the pre-arranged bananas and two bottles of water – (hmmmmmm very odd to me that this was a request but we complied)   Once he had the food and drink – he pounded a banana and proceeded to talk about his travel and performance anxiety, he said that bananas are the key to keeping it together – mentioned Coltrane a lot and how bananas were very important to keeping his system balanced –

OK at the time this was kind of weird – but guess what?  I tried it  – it works, bananas before a gig – try it – you’ll like it.

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