Doug: Frank, we’ve known each other for about 10 years, and I’ve noticed that there’s nothing that you can’t do. You’re a professional level pianist and trombone player. You also play drums and bass very well. You were a church choir director, and participate in an improvising opera company. You designed and produced corporate websites from the ground up. You designed and built a recording studio in New York City, and deftly manifested a parking space out front in the loading zone. You have written and arranged albums for singers, and ran a top-notch rehearsal space.
A few months ago, you moved from Brooklyn, NY to Cary. As a North Carolina native, it makes me very proud that someone like you would choose to move here! Why did you choose North Carolina to live, and what are your goals, musical and otherwise?
Frank: Wow, well first let me let the swelling go down in my head so I can hold it upright enough to look at the screen. 😉
I am humbled indeed to receive such accolades from such an accomplished colleague as yourself. (Seriously, picking up organ inside of 2 years from bascially scratch and playing it well? Pretty amazing.) As for some of those accomplishments, lets just say I used to be a pretty good trombone player (trying to pick it back up), and can do all right on a kit but wouldn’t think of picking up a bass without some serious shedding (and never in your presence).
There are several reasons for moving to the great state of North Carolina after living in New York for 24 years. First, I just think 24 years was long enough. Spending all my time hustling to make enough money to live there and not having time to actually play music was beginning to take its toll. This is something all aspiring musicians who are considering a move to New York or a major metroplis should consider. Make sure you don’t have to completely shift your focus away from your art just to live in a particular place. That goes for anyplace obviously, but particulary New York these days.
Next, I’m orginally from the South and although I never lived in North Carolina, this area has always appealed to me. The countryside is beautiful, there are actual seasons, and there seems to be a nice population of forward-thinking people. I’m closer to my family in Alabama and Georgia as well. Also the notion of living in a place where there are actual driveways and parking places was enormously appealing to me. I always had a car in the city and it was usually a huge pain.
From a personal standpoint it was really just time to start over in another place. I was divorced in 2008 after being married for 21 years and am now in a new relationship with the beautiful and talented Angela Bingham – a wonderful jazz singer in her own right. It was acutally her suggestion that we move down here in the first place. She has a life-long friend living her and the possibility of living near her was a definite plus.
In addition to that connection, I must say that knowing you were living back down here and obviously thriving was a great incentive to get back to the homeland. Almost immediately I started playing out more than I EVER did in New York – and with some of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with (you included of course). I find myself wishing I had done this years ago, but I guess everything in its own season.
My professional goal is to really get back on track with my music. Performing, writing and working with this great population of musicians that seems to be everywhere down here is really stimulating.
I am very much looking forward to this next part of my life living and working in my new home. Thanks for hipping me to it man, I really appreciate it!