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Everyone knows that a good education is vital in order to have a successful and happy life. The consummation of knowledge enables is to navigate our journey through thick and thin.

Education and information comes in many forms. Besides academic achievement and computer prowess, there are things that have come to be known as “street smarts,” common sense, and on the job learning, and even survival skills. If one is fortunate enough to live a ripe age, they will usually to get a handle on these essential endeavors.

The “on the job” learning curve is always better when one is working with really good people. The same is true for sports and music. On a side note, throughout my years of attending public schools in Seattle the only classes that I aced repeatedly were physical education and you guessed it-music. My two passions along with my wife of course.

It should be noted that when you engage in a game of tennis, basketball or golf the better the competition and teammates the better you get at the game. The quality and mind set of the players seems to rub off on the others. The same holds true for music as playing jazz or funk with the great musicians makes one jam on a higher level.

The art of listening and observing is also essential to the learning process. In order to learn the type of music that is dear to my heart, I have had the pleasure to go out and hear up close and in person all the great jazz,Blues, and R & B players that I could.

There are too many good memories of live music to write about, but one that sticks out in my mind is the Curtis Mayfield concert, which was at the old Eagles Auditorium in downtown Seattle.

For me, the star of the show was the master Henry Gibson percussionist extraordinaire. MR Gibson had a set of bongos between his legs and a set of conga drums in front of him His mastery included the ability to play all four drums simultaneously and it was smokin.

Although the show was some 40 years ago, the musical images are as clear to me as if it was last night. When Henry Gibson played the hand drums, I was mesmerized and it was school to me.

[Editors Note]

Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at deemst@deemsmusic.com