As I look back over my life, it strikes me that I have had the privilege of coming into contact with 3 particularly advanced beings through my quest to play music of the spirit . In my early days as a student it was Cal Massey, who was the Bodhisattva/ Guru /Teacher/ Musician in my life. In 1975, this role was played by Sun Ra, and by the mid eighties it was Charles Moffett, who performed that function in my life.
Besides the fact that I personally was the common denominator in each of these people's lives, there were other similarities that they shared. They all understood the importance of family in the life of a creative artist. Charles, along with Shirley, his wife, was to take this idea to its natural conclusion by having a family band :The Moffett Family Band. It was this that had a profound impact on me. I met Mr. Charles Moffett in 1986. We were both hired by Frank Lowe to work at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia. This was a great musical experience. Charles and I quickly became friends after this event. Our friendship meant that I would spend time around both Charles and Shirley . The love and joy that they showed for each other influenced me beyond my own understanding at the time. I found out later that I married a woman with the same temperament, astrological sign and age differential (12 years ) as Shirley to Charles.
Monique Ngozi Nri is my wife. We met in 1991 in London, England. We were married 6 months later in April,1992 in NY and 6 months later in September 1992 at Taplow Court in the UK, My commitment to my family, my wife Monique, my sons Rashid and Shahid and now to Tara born on September 12th , 2001, has meant a great deal to my growth as a human being and therefore my ability as a creative artist . I am indebted to Charles and Shirley for helping me to realize that one can create from a place of love. Mr. Charles Moffett left this planet on Valentines Day which is significant since Shirley called him the Ambassador of Love. He touched us all in many ways.
This page is a dedication to our family, friends, musicians, performers and supporters: Tara Abudullah-Nri, Rashid and Shahid Taylor (my sons) Charles and Shirley Moffett, Lubia, Anna Bland (mama and daddy) Celeste Nri OBE, Claude Franklin and the Barbadian crew, Cyril Onura Nri, Marilyn Bland, Lorraine Logan, Helen Salters (my sisters), Mary, Cyril, and Debbie Nri, Diana Penny, Iyabode and Merakhu, Angela,Carl, Steven, Aaron, Christopher, Spencer, Carl Jr. Smith, Harold and Marcia Logan, Michelle Scott and Kyle Logan, Derrick Salters, Lisa Salters, Eric Jocellyne and Jason Salters, Chigozie and Chioma Nri and all the family in North Carolina, Boston, Baltimore and Washington DC.
Musicians, performers and supporters of this music of the spirit have included: Alex Harding, Jimmy Weinstein, Masa Kamaguchi, Louis Reyes Rivera, Wilber Morris, Frank Lowe, Chico Freeman, David S.Ware, Billy Bang, John Ore, Fred Hopkins, Reggie Workman, Charnett Moffett, Steve Neal, Michael Anthony Peterson, Booker T. Williams, Electra Curtis-Stewart, C.Scobey Stroman, Douglass Ewart, Bob Neloms, Radu, Arthur Blythe, Mickey Davidson, Atiba J.D. Wilson, Cobi Narita, Philippa Jordan and the crew at Sistas' Place - Viola Plummer, Colette Pean, Lateefa Carter, Loretta Vaughn, Omowale Clay, Roger Wareham, Dave Daniels, Louis Reyes Rivera and Coltrane Chimurenga, CBJC crew - Jitu Weusi, Alma Carroll, Bob Myers, Jaqui Woods, Michael Howard, JoAnne Cheatham and Torrie McCartney Howard.
On Thursday, June 5, close to 70 musicians from the New York Metropolitan Area were called upon by Bob Myers (Up Over Jazz Café) and Ahmed Abdullah (Sistas Place) to participate in a photo shoot at one of Brooklyn's oldest churches, The Concord Baptist Church of Christ. The musicians who showed up (among them, Roland Alexander, Cecil Bridgewater, Phil Bingham, Bob Cunningham, Billy Harper, Craig Harris, John Hicks, Harold Ousley, Jimmy Owens, Bill Saxton, Charles Tolliver, Reggie Workman, Kiane Zawdi, etc.,) represent some of the finest veterans of a particular era of self-determination in the artform known as Jazz.
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