When I feel stressed, I set aside my aspirations and ambitions for awhile to focus on other people, get out into nature, or spend time with friends. And when chaotic and competing demands overwhelm me, I just sit still and do nothing.
Counterintuitively, inaction is often the best course of action. In the silence, clarity may be restored before the dance begins anew.
Like many independent jazz labels, Monarch Records was a labor of love. None of us got rich, but we had fun and were able to make available some quality music by Cedar Walton, Dave Ellis, Eddie Marshall and others. We released dozens of recordings before the company was sold. I'm most proud of our live recording by Art Farmer, one of his last and our best.
As a bandleader, I think it's important that we rehearse, develop repertoire and refine our ensemble sound and style. At the same time, I try to emulate the Miles Davis approach: hire the best cats, give them lots of freedom, and embrace the music, wherever it leads.
Amina Figarova can play faster and with more energy than any horn player. I tease Amina and the "crazy Euros" about their intensity, but I admire their joie de vivre and their work ethic. They challenge me artistically and every performance is a party. Amina is a world class pianist and is one of the most distinctive jazz composers in Europe today. I met her at the Monk Institute's summer jazz colony in Aspen a few years ago and we hit it off. In the years to follow, our international band became like a family, touring and performing all over the world together and having a great time always. ~DM