In the summer of 2002 I was 15 and at The Skidmore Jazz Institute. It was the first time I was getting my ass kicked as a musician and it was hard. At our final concert before my combo went on they told us the President of Blue Note Records was in the front row. This actually made a bunch of us nervous because it wasn’t unheard of for kids from that program (that were much better than me) to get mentorship from Bruce Lundvall that turned into record deals.
I then proceeded to take the worst solo of my life and almost walked off stage I was so embarrassed. After the show, Bruce came up to me and asked me if what I played was honest even if I didn’t like it. I told him it was and he said, “than it was the best thing you could’ve played today.”
I still think he was being too nice, but my only impression of the guy was that he was too nice, which isn’t bad at all.