My Wonderful Tour of Brasil
Recently I did a tour of Brazil, which oddly enough is unusual for me. I rarely play in Brazil because I don't live there, I have been in the United States for a long time, and I am more known in the jazz world than the Brazilian music scene. That is because I played with Miles Davis and Cannonball and so many other great players like Chick Corea and Weather Report, but I never really tried to promote myself in Brazil. I never even made sure my music was available in there. Of course, because Brazilian's are so interested in music and jazz, many know who I am, but most have never heard of me. The last time I played there it was six years ago and I only played one concert. That was the only concert I could get, and I understand the reason. I am never there and it is a country full of percussionists. If a promoter in Brazil wants Brazilian music he will hire a Brazilian band.
Anyway, this time I did a tour in Brazil and we played in five different cities. The performances were more than just concerts, they were also clinics and workshops. So we called them "Work Shows". The reason I did it this way is because people seem to be so interested in my history with all the jazz greats like Miles, Chick Corea and Paul Simon and also my approach to music.
In particular I talked about "Universal energy" which is the primary energy that was used by God, or whoever made this world, to bring about all creation. I talked about how this energy is still all around us, and we just don't see it. That we can still use it, positively or negatively, however we choose. Whatever kind of person we choose to be, that is how we will choose to use this energy. I'm not saying any of us start out saying we want to be bad, we just make a choice that leads us in that direction and it is hard to come back.
Now from my point of view, what I have learned is that we use energy by letting it go into and through us, and when it comes out, it is a sound. This sound goes out to the people who hear it and it affects them immediately. It is a powerful 1st generation sound. Musically, if we put out that sound just right, not too strong or too soft then everyone profits from it. In the past I would get carried away and be too aggressive and although many people love my performances that way, others were too blown away and didn't enjoy it. Now when I play no matter how charged I am, when I play it comes out beautiful and controlled. I have learned to use the energy and the audience can feel it. They love it! I feel like I can take them out of this material world into a place of splendor where it's like...WOW.....what is this place? Can you image this, to be able to bring all those people together on the same level, even if only for one or two minutes, how healing this beautiful energy is?
Besides "Universal Energy" I talked a great deal about my spiritual beliefs. Of how we are all spirits and that we are forever. We are born on this planet many times until we understand all that there is to understand about this world, and then we move on to a better place where we go through the whole thing again. Then we keep moving to the next place, always gaining knowledge and becoming wiser. The main thing to remember is that getting "There" is not important, it is the process of getting there. They say that in Heaven you don't do anything, you just sit around and contemplate beautiful scenes. I don't know if I could handle that! I need to do stuff, and I believe that the more we know the more we need to do. This brings about responsibility. Cause and effect. We have to take responsibility for whatever our actions bring about. This is something many people don't even want to know about, because they are afraid of responsibility. We have to accept that wherever we are now, it is because of the actions we have taken in the past. We can never change the past but we can take charge of our lives and let go of our egos and become better people.
So this is the sort of things we discussed on my tour, and the people loved it. They had so many questions and were very interested in all this stuff. I did several Brazilian television shows, including one with a cook were I followed him around the kitchen making percussion noises. I brought one of my instruments that was given to me by a witch doctor in South Africa and he loved it. We had a lot of fun and they said it was incredible how many calls they got. I even did an online "CHAT" which was wonderful. I was just sorry that I could not answer everyone.
After doing the television shows I played a trio concert with pianist Luiz Avallar, a great musician that I have recorded with in the past, and a bass player named Ney Assuncncao. It was a small place that was sold out both nights. Then I flew to the south of Brazil for a few concerts and then to San Paulo, which is a huge city, and gave a concert there. After that I flew to the northeast part of Brazil, to a beautiful beach town, it was glorious. It's funny but people are always talking about how the people in Brazil are so poor and how everyone is suffering. When you're in Brazil though, you see people walking down the street whistling and happy for some reason. The average people have lots of friends and have dinner together and go to football matches together. They work hard and they have to be creative to find ways of making money. I like and respect all of that.
Anyway, I finished my tour of Brazil at a great restaurant and had an incredible meal. It was 2am when I ate and 4am when I got back to the hotel and 7am was my flight to Egypt. I was exhausted, but it was a wonderful tour for me.