Been on this road a long time folks… no I was not “Grown” in age in 1988, I’ll let the story unfold from here.

I had just gotten hip to the music of Pat Metheny the previous Summer when this record was released. As the story goes I was in the basement of my parent’s house fiddling with the stereo receiver as I was known to do in those days. At some point I’m in between stations and I happen to hear the opening bars to “(It’s Just) Talk” suddenly I’m stuck because I had never heard anything like this in my life. I hate to use the word exotic because of how it has been used contextually to describe certain groups of people are phenomena but the sound was exotic, alarming to my ears in the best way possible. Who was this? What was this? I had to know… so, fortunately for me there would be a break-in after this song and the announcer said “That was the latest from Pat Metheny…” Bet.

That was a Sunday night. Monday I had but one mission: Find that Pat Metheny song!!! After work at the obligatory Summer job I headed out to my favorite record store and began my search. I headed over to the Jazz section and strolled right up to the M’s and lo and behold I found exactly what I was looking for and much more. I was gun shy so that day I only picked up the album Still Life(talking) which contains “(It’s Just) Talk”. It was a cassette so I was ready once I got the shrink wrap off to experience this music on the ride home. The only song that I was familiar with was at the beginning of side two, so I had to get there. It was a journey that opened a world of different music, urgent music, art, way out the norm or supposedly out of the norm for a 17 year old black kid living in a small city in the South. Whatever.

My mindset of “whatever” is the catalyst for the “YoungGrownMan” I believe. I probably was not considered as part of any demographic at any label meeting discussing the roll out of this album, but you see that’s the beauty of an actual release. Once you release art into the world you have no idea who will connect with it nor why. This music caught me at a very fertile and open period in my life, a spirit that I continue to call on today. That’s the beauty of that “grown” mentality: No one told me that I had to love this music, I chose to love it because it spoke (and speaks) to me in a very personal way.

Subsequently I went back to that record store and loaded up on all the previous Pat Metheny releases over the next year. The music was a welcome change up for whatever was popular at the time. When you view music like food, you don’t want to eat McDonald’s every night, it just gets old. This is sit down at the table and be prepared to be wowed music for me. On subsequent rides with this music it helped my head space, made me feel special, different, helped me to think and elevated my status to one of a #YoungGrownMan

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.