Chapter 3 FB: Why don't you tell us how you got to Berklee in the first place? BP: When I was a kid, I grew up, my mother and father were educators and we lived in Jacksonville. It's kind of a long story. But my mom worked in a smaller town 40, 50 minutes from Jacksonville, so we stayed in Jacksonville through the week. I went to school at this particular small town and when we got into the band, the band came much later, I mean it was a real rural school. When they brought the band into this educational situation at the school, I got just completely immersed in the music. One of the things I would do: I would go into the library and read all the periodicals that had anything to do with music and one of them was Metronome because this was the ‘50s or at least in the early ‘60s. And the other one was Downbeat and I just saw all these great ads and maybe even some of the catalogs for Berklee library. So I had all these dreams about, man all these guys have their saxophones and they're playing in jazz and it looked so great. It was always in my mind; it was just a fantasy. I didn't think I'd ever get the opportunity to go. I was pretty young when I finished high school. I was like 15. I didn't really wholeheartedly try to ask my parents to send me to Boston, because I knew it was economically not feasible. And it just wasn't something that would probably be possible. So I went to school after high school in Tennessee State. Tennessee, and, a historically black college. A lot of things happened: my mother and father got divorced, and yada yada yada. But, during my second year or at the end of the first year my father asked me about the college and I said, “Well, it's a good school, but it's not really what I want to do.” It was a great nurturing environment being a black institution especially in that time in the mid ‘60s ??? Rat Brown. I mean you know it was the education in a lot of ways for me. FB: High feelings and a lot of exposure to the news and... BP: Well, yeah and a level of consciousness that I hadn't considered before, a black consciousness. So that was great, that part of being there. You know the college experience in a traditional college setting; it was a liberal arts college. Musically I didn't want to do marching band or concert -- that isn't what I really wanted to do. Although at first it looked like I was going to be a music teacher at my high school, or something like that. I never considered performing would be a possibility for me. Those were early days of jazz education in high school and public schools; we had those stage bands in high school. We played the charts and we actually read them. FB: Who were you listening to? BP: Well, I was good about my situation in the small town; my band director lived next door to me. So he had all the albums, man. He had Cannonball. 'Cause everybody in Florida was into Cannonball. FB: Who was in Jacksonville later, right? BP: Tampa, but he's a Florida guy: he went to Florida and Tallahassee. Everybody who knew anything about music knew about Cannonball. So, Cannonball Adderley. Actually, Dave Brubeck was like the first music I really listened to a lot because it was so accessible. I mean Dave was such a big guy so you could go to any town and if they had records they'd have Dave Brubeck which would be next to Ray Anthony and Billy May and, you know, the kinda easy listening stuff. There would probably be a jazz record there, it would more than likely be Dave Brubeck, but I did find a record store that had some Cannonball, and some Miles. So I listened to Dave first, but when I heard Cannonball and then ‘Trane, I was like, “Wow, this is it.” This is more like what I, I mean.... FB: Not that cool martini of Paul Desmond. BP: It wasn't dry, that was fine. That was cool. Now I think about why I liked it, because it was really beautiful music, when he played it was very melodic. It was very tuneful. You know his improvisations were very tuneful. But it was something about the drive and edge of Coltrane and Cannonball and Miles that I really liked. So I mean it was a gradual thing that I kinda went through all the different players that I at least had access to. You know, when I used to visit my folks in New York I would go to the record stores and buy all this stuff. You know, I could get more stuff. I was just buying stuff I didn't know who the hell these people were but I read about them so I figured I'd try ‘em. I didn’t even like Bird. I didn't like Bird, I didn't like Sonny Rollins, when I was a kid because, you know, I was a kid. Just ‘cause I was a kid I didn't know any better. That changed later on, you know. FB: Sometimes it takes a while. BP: Once you know, it takes a while to hear what's really there. FB: My uncle gave me a Lester Young record when I was about 14, I said, “This is boring.” [BP: Yeah, it's kinda.] I want to hear Ornette Coleman.