The Millennium Park Gig


This trip was one of the really good and meaningful ones. We worked hard to have a good performance. It’s a balancing act for me personally to switch hats and be keyboard player/singer in a musical situation such as this. When I work with Louie, it’s important for me to remember that I’m part of a whole body of people that make the whole thing work. 
When I’m doing Honeycomb’s music, usually, the core of the productions are all me playing all of the instruments. I always forget how much I enjoy interacting with other musicians and their styles of playing. It’s like speaking to someone that doesn’t speak my language, yet we can communicate musically. A musician plays his life’s experiences through his/her music. You can hear their experiences when they play. When playing with other people, the goal is to finish the song. To do that, one must know when to add color, when to pull back, when to listen as another musician is making a musical statement, and when to respond to that statement, when to make a statement of your own, all while watching the director who is monitoring this whole
Musical conversation. All of this is happening between 13 people on stage. If you’re not careful, the music will get muddy and too congested. The director will get frustrated. And you will have ruined a moment that was beautiful. Similar to people talking at the same time. Nothing is heard. So the players have to be extremely skillful as to not over play. 
On this gig, we didn’t use our normal players. Louie found musicians that are capable of coming in and performing the songs well. Our keyboard player on this trip was a Venezuelan brother named Silvano. The dude had a Latin Jazz feel that I really enjoyed. And he can improvise with the best of them. Our bass player on this gig was a guy named Waldo. Now at first I thought, WALDO??????
But after we talked a little, I quickly realized that he must be a real cat. We talked about my favorite bass player of all time. Jaco Pastorius. And he had Jaco stories. I knew right away that he must know the bass! And then it happened. He took his bass out of the case. And it was a Fodera Monarch. Just for your information, Fodera is a bass company that makes High End basses. Their basses start at $2500 and go up to $35,000!!!!!!!!
You’d have to be extremely serious about your playing to own a Fodera bass. It’s a bass that I ask my friends to buy me once they hit the
The dynamic uncle and nephew team, Luisito and Carlos Quintero were on Drums and Percussion. Luisito is kinda of a star player. He does percussion and drums with a very special hand for the Timbale. His resumé is extensive, from Chick Corea to Gospel great Kim Burrell! His uncle Carlos is a seasoned pro who’s played all over the world. He’s like an Uncle to us all. His playing tied the whole band together. This gig is going to be fire. 
Cindy Mizelle, the funky Adeva, and Julie McKnight and myself did lead vocals with Ramona Renea, and Biti Straughn holding down all things background vocal! This is a unit! We were feeling a little bit of pressure because of the magnitude of this event and our respect for Chicago, the birthplace of House Music. Also, our peers were going to be in the place. We want to do it right. All of you that know
Louie know that he can be a machine that needs no food, water, or rest. He was good at sharing what the vision was for this gig, and I feel like we accomplished what we came to do. 
Once we arrived, I think we were all really shocked at the venue. This place was fit for a band like EW&F, or Chicago, or MFSB(if you don’t know those groups, just google them).
This is a stage with a wooden floor. The sound was impeccable. The sound staff were very much experienced. They had all of the finest equipment. This is almost intimidating. Wow!
It would be a little while before we would actually do a sound check, but it’s kinda nice getting a little taste of the venue before having to get started. It felt nice hanging with everybody. 
Another thing I love about this group is the team love and respect for each other. There’s no room for egos with EOL. I think I may be the one who’s still a little star struck. Call me crazy, but I’m a fan of musicians that have added their flavor to songs that I love. EVERYBODY, on this gig has played on something that I listen to in my personal time in space. Think about that for a sec. I’m talking about when I’m in my car driving for a few hours to some far away place, I may listen to my Steely Dan “Live” cd and hear Cindy singing backgrounds. 
These musicians are all Uber experienced and talented. I’m a little in awe right now. 
After the sound check we all went to our rooms to get a good nap in and maybe go over our notes for the gig later. 
When we arrived for the gig, I felt unusually relaxed. I felt the spirit of love on me. Even now, as I type this and hear these words in my head, I feel my eyes begin to well up just a little. 
I’m grateful to be in tune to the point that I can even feel that Godly love like that, and I feel blessed to be a part of this. IN CHICAGO!
And the people were showing their love upon arrival. This is what I am born to do. My God is such a good God. 
I saw Reggie C, Mike Dunn, Terry Hunter, Ron Trent, Czarina from 5 magazine, Donna Edwards, Lee Pearson, Celeste Alexander, all minus Donna are from Chicago. And all have made a musical difference in this genre of music that I love. Seeing them in Chicago was an honor. I felt humbled. Celeste introduced me to a man named George Daniels who owned the first Black owned music store in Chi!! Mr. George  is an “OG” who has the respect of all in the know. I’m feeling awesome at this point. Quite a few Chicago DJ’s were present. 
I saw Jozanna Sithole in the crowd. That brother is someone we all love and I felt the love from him even from the stage. Charisse Garcia was dancing so hard in front of the stage. I could feel the passion. Kat Ayala is here from NY/NJ. When Adeva was on stage, she walked over to Kat, and that was a moment. To see Kat, our sister from home, with her famous tambourine, rocking with House music legend Adeva, during a performance, IN CHICAGO, was almost emotional for me. I know you all are probably thinking that I’m some sort of a cry baby. But you have to understand that moments like this don’t come often. And I’ve been in the industry for 30 plus years. 
Louie has a staff and sometimes when he travels, his staff, even though they are NOT working, they will travel to see him do his thing. How many employees love their employer to the point where they’ll purchase a ticket to see their employer work. Would you(the reader) fly to Chicago to check your boss out?
Well, Vanessa Cooper Honore is such a supporter from Louie’s staff. When we saw her, she had bottles of water for everybody!!!! This is the love thing that I mentioned earlier. Do you know what a difference that water made??? LOL!!!! I was so happy to get a bottle
of water from her at that moment. 
Richard Wilson, is another one who came just to see us do our thing. He’s from Europe!!! Richard is a full time artist. We’re all fans of his work. He’s our Pablo Picasso. He puts emotions on canvas. It’s a gift that not even he can explain. He’s taking photos and being very present in case we need him for anything. Again, I can feel the love. 
It was good to run into Joe Smooth!! Google him. Another Chicago gem. 
And Jamie Principal received an award. Not exactly sure what the award was for. But Chicago honored they’re own. And very very appropriate about who they chose. Jamie is a pioneer. He was doing music before any of us even knew what a studio was. Seeing him was awesome. 
After the gig was over, everybody wanted to Partay!!!!!!!!!!!
I just chilled. I didn’t go out. I have to sing tomorrow and I don’t wanna overdo it. 
I usually tell you guys all of the crazy stuff that happens on these trips. But this event is something that really had a lot of meaning and I wanted to stress the importance of togetherness that I experienced with this band and the people of Chicago. I should thank Zuleica our tour manager for keeping us all together, and making wake up calls, and sorting out itineraries and schedules and tickets, and travel and everything!!! Cant imagine what it would have been like without you. 
Thank you Louie for sharing your platform with all of us. I see the sacrifices bro. And I’m grateful. 
Thanks for reading this blog everyone. 

God bless.

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