A Visit from the Masters

This is not a story I tell many people, but I am going to tell it here.

One night, about two and a half years ago, I had a dream that seemed to be much more than that.  I was in this club that appeared to closing for the night.  I don’t know what time it was or even what city I was in.  There were a few musicians over in the stage area, so I went towards them.  All of a sudden, Sammy Davis Jr. was standing in front of me.  I don’t know everything I said up to the point where I said to him, “What do you know about Jazz?”  I looked around and I saw Cannonball Adderly sitting by the stage.  He wasn’t talking or anything,  he may have just put his horn away, I don’t know.  Sammy Davis Jr. chuckles at my question and said, “Kid, maybe I don’t know that much about Jazz, but this man does.”  He pointed to the side with his thumb, and there was John Coltrane.

At this point in my life, I was listening to the “Kind of Blue” album all of the time.  I still do from time to time.  I don’t know how to play anything on it.  It is a goal of mine to learn at least one tune by ear.  A challenge a friend of mine gave me a long time ago and I have not done it yet.

I look at him and say, “John Coltrane” and shook his hand.  He said to me, “Kid, I don’t know much.  I just know I love to play music. As you can see, we obviously aren’t in it for the money.  It is all about the music”  He went to say a few more things, I don’t recall.  I do recall as he spoke, he was so overwhelmed with passion about what he said, tears were falling down his face.  I hugged him, Cannonball came over and hugged too.  Sammy Davis Jr. patted us on the back, we were all crying at this point.  We just kept repeating, “It’s about the music”   When we pulled back and stopped hugging,  Sammy Davis Jr. said to me “Kid, you need more of that!”

That is when I awoke.  It was 2:18am.  I wanted to go back, but obviously I couldn’t.

Sometimes when it is a slow week or in some cases, a slow month, I get caught up and lose my way as to why I chose to do what I do.  Obviously, like John Coltrane told me, it isn’t about money.  It is about the music.  I forget that from time to time and I need to never forget that.  I will always remember my visit from the Masters and remember-


  1. James, I love this! Kind of Blue was the first jazz album I bought on CD in the 8th grade. Thanks for sharing this window into your heart. Jamie

  2. Sarah Brockway said:

    What a great story! I definitely believe that some dreams are more than dreams, and it sounds like this was one of them. (Mine have all been about family members who have died, but when I wake up, it feels like I’ve been visited by them, not like I was just dreaming about them.)

    I hope all is well with you. I tried to stop by to say “happy new year!” on Facebook, but couldn’t find you, so I’ll say it here instead. I wish you lots of wonderful music-making in 2013. 🙂

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