Entry from Howard Gillis, August 15th, 2020

These days it feels sometimes as if our world is splitting apart. Or maybe these tumultuous times are just what we need for our world to come together. I hope so. I can’t get over how surreal things seem as I see masked faces all around. On my darkest days it seems downright apocalyptic. And the social and racial inequities in our society, though in existence for many, many years, that have been laid even more bare during these times are the more glaringly apparent.

When They See Us

These people, ideas, and films have populated my world now in ways that I had not anticipated. And I am confronted (once again) with a damning picture of America and American justice. At times, also, these perspectives are leading me to confront a not so pretty picture of myself. But, nonetheless, I am so thankful for these influences. In the hope of a new kind of me. In the hope of a new kind of society.

Lee Morgan
Clifford Brown
Dizzy Gillespie
Art Farmer
Clark Terry
Freddie Hubbard

I’ve been listening to these jazz masters over the past few months, thinking about the debt we owe them, reveling in their musicality, enjoying how alive this music still is. I miss so much the power and immediacy of live performance with all of the amazing jazz talent we have here in the Bay Area. I miss how live performance transports me to a different place. Just what we would need for the time we’re living now, but can’t have just yet. I can’t wait to get out there and see live shows again. And how much I miss playing together with an ensemble. The connection and interplay with others that happens. Just what we need for the time we’re living now, but can’t have just yet.

Hopefully, soon…

Howard Gillis


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