This week I was reminded about the long thread that connects us to history and our ancestors, and how we are all so influenced by our past, even the past before we were born.
I come from a long line of musicians. My grandmother, Evelyn Bundy (with my dad in the photo), is considered to be the mother of Seattle jazz. Her father was a musician too and she performed with him when she was 12. The Evelyn Bundy Band was formed in 1926 and my grandmother played piano, drums, saxophone and banjo. Her band became the heart of the Seattle jazz scene centered at Jackson Street and 12th Avenue.
My grand parent’s basement was where many of the jazz greats hung out (Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles, Erskine Hawkins, Lena Horne and countless others) on tour in Seattle during the 30s and 40s and it was a second home to Seattle musicians like Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson and Buddy Catlett. And not surprisingly my dad followed in his mother’s footsteps, creating his own band, the Charlie Taylor Band that included as one of its members, the young Quincy Jones.
While I too played several instruments when I was young, I didn’t follow in their musical footsteps. The music in my genes laid dormant while I focused my career on business. But my passion for music eventually bubbled to the surface about 10 years ago when I started creating technology and business models to help musicians and artists earn more from their creative content. I don’t think we are ever very far from our heritage.
Quincy Jones is in town this week for two events, two tributes to his decades long musical influence. And he is on the road promoting his new film, “Keep On Keepin On,” a documentary that gives us a window to one of his mentors, another jazz legend.
A couple of nights ago I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Quincy and a few of his friends. I told him I was wearing my grandmother’s earrings. “She was an incredible woman,” he said. Quincy is my last link to my father and grandmother. He is the last link to an incredibly rich history of many of the greatest musicians in history.
Just as musicians are passed the baton from those who come before them, children can be given the love of music by their parent’s. Love and appreciation, like passion, can pass from generation to generation. I am a huge fan of Quincy Jones, not because of my personal connection to him, but because of how he has honored all that came before him by continuing to create and share such beauty in the world.
Fans are all about sharing the love and the heritage. We are all fans of someone or something. And as fans, like family and old friendships, our shared history is the thread that binds us to each other.