Where to start? Some amazing progress has been made over the last few weeks and it's really beginning to feel like things are moving ahead.
The big news is I finally managed to get my trustees together last Monday to open a bank account for the Abram Wilson Foundation for Creative Arts (its full name). Woo! Part of me couldn't quite believe it had taken so long, but I felt a bit better when I was assured by friends and colleagues who have set up charitable organisations in the UK that it is a very slow, painstaking process. My experience has been no different. We were all super happy, having spent an hour and a half in the bank, that the paperwork had finally been sent off. All being well we should have an account next week.
A few days later, one of my trustees accompanied me to none other than the U.S. Embassy for a screening of a new American series, Finding Your Roots (a bit like Who Do You Think You Are? in the UK). The episode we saw focused on childhood friends Harry Connick Jr and Branford Marsalis, the eldest of the Marsalis clan. It was an interesting programme, but the highlight for me was when they had an opportunity to talk about the roots they were laying down in their home town of New Orleans through The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music located in the Musicians Village of the Upper Ninth Ward. It was fasinating to hear about it and the many benefits being experienced by the local commnunity, now that music is a staple in their life.
Branford attended the event and I had an opportunity to meet him at the end. He knew Abram and once he realised who I was gave me a great big Marsalis hug. Whenever I meet the musicians that inspired Abram, particularly those from New Orleans, I am always overwhelmed and moved by their immense generosity of spirit. They share so many of the wonderful qualities that Abram had, and a special unbreakable bond like nothing I have encountered before. The musicians of New Orleans are truly a very special breed indeed.
And finally, the tour! We have taken some steps forward and things are shaping up very nicely at the moment. You'll see from the images above that we have a pretty good looking bunch of musicians who will be bringing all their talent, passion and flair to a venue near you later this year. I'm very excited about it, as it will be a fantastic opportunity for Abram's rhythm section to play with two incredible saxophonists, Keith Loftis and Jean Toussaint. Of course, as well as learning on the job (so to speak), they'll also have a chance to get to know Keith who was a great friend of Abram's whilst he was living in New York.
Et c'est tout! More to follow in the coming weeks. Thank you for your ongoing support and interest, you are awesome.