When inspiration strikes you have to stop whatever you are doing and just go with it. After watching this classic clip from The Dick Cavett that includes Dick, Bill Cosby and Jack Benny I had to post it and offer a few words of commentary because this is GFM all day everyday.

It should be very apparent to anyone watching this that Bill Cosby is one of the greatest storytellers ever. Comedic genius recognizes comedic genius and for Cosby to crack up the master of wit Jack Benny speaks volumes. This is a treasure that I felt that just needed to be shared… we’ve got to figure out way to provide the context that will engage more people in the conversation around this great music that is truly our gift to the world.

Cherokee is definitely one of those must haves in the rep, Charlie Parker during his quest to finally be able to play what he was hearing in his head practiced a blues, rhythm changes and Cherokee in all 12 keys for hours everyday for years to get to the point where he had complete command to the point where he could speak what he was hearing through his instrument. Yes it’s that serious.

As I was typing that it occurred to me that what Bill Cosby was really talking about was a standard and how rigorous it is to meet that standard. The reason that some music sounds the way it does is because there is no standard, folks just do whatever. I believe that greatness occurs when you are able to meet the standard and go beyond, that’s when you are able to truly express yourself. It’s like in school first you learn the alphabet, then a few three and four letters words(lol, sorry I couldn’t resist that) then simple sentences, then one paragraph stories and on and on. Sometimes I think we have some people who want to call themselves artists/musicians and they haven’t learned the alphabet yet.

Please check out the clips below of Sonny Stitt blowing on Cherokee, followed by the great band lead by Max Roach & Clifford Brown.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.