If you ever get me started talking about my days at Berklee you better have a few hours to spare just so I have adequate time to warm up. The nearly four years I spent at this amazing school were among the most amazing of my life. One of the many things that resonates with me to this day are the relationships I made and the thrill it's been to see my closest friends earn success in their respective fields.
I'd like to introduce you to my good friend Chris Crocco. He and I lived next door to each other at the Hemingway dorms for about a year. I was a classically trained film scoring and composition student and he was a jazz guitar performance major. We were both relatively good at what we did, yet it seemed like success was still so far away. We were traveling down a long, long road and we were just getting started.
Chris and I would frequently stay up until dawn challenging each other to look at and listen to music in ways we never could imagine on our own. Chris would speak to me in a language I could barely understand and I would reciprocate with language that was difficult for him to understand. This is where the real "education" at Berklee existed. Not so much within the classroom, but with your peers. There were no grades, tests, or final projects. Just two friends talking for hours on end about the music they loved so much.
One night we were having a discussion about jazz harmony. I was telling him how I was taught in class how it was "wrong" to put the minor-9th interval on top of the chord. "Why?" I asked. I thought it was awesome. I actually did it all the time. It has such an interesting color. I understand jazz harmony functions differently but still...be an engine not a caboose! (I always say). Chris was sympathetic of my inability to understand but he didn't fight me on it. Later that semester I went to one of Chris' performance recitals. During one of the tunes he littered the entire piece with the minor-9th on top of almost every chord! You know what I call that? ...Badass!!
After we left school I moved to Austin to start my career as a film composer and Chris went to New York City to make it as a jazz guitarist. We both excelled. We both paid our dues. We climbed our respective ladders with deeply rooted determination and passion for our craft. As the years went by I kept tabs on Chris and what he was doing and along the way he kept tabs on me. All the while our mutual respect and admiration grew.
Today, Chris has established himself as one of the leading jazz guitarists fluent in the triadic chromatic approach made famous by George Garzone (with whom Chris has performed with for over a decade). He has toured across Europe several times and performs with some of the greatest musicians in all of New York. You know what I call that? ...Badass!!
For your pleasure I'd like to embed a clip from Chris' newest DVD which comes out later this spring. There is some absolutely amazing playing on this video. When I was hanging out with him almost twenty years ago he was an AWESOME guitar player. Now, I don't even know what to call him...