(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Dr. Michael Olding.)
(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Dr. Michael Olding.)
Under the tutelage of Louis Tibbs and Charlie Young, Brent Birckhead has become a dynamically versatile saxophonist of many genres. With a unique style born of his deep passion for the art of music, Birckhead has established himself as one of the bright young musical voices of his generation.
Educated at Howard University (BME, MM), Brent was named best blues/pop/rock soloist and outstanding instrumental jazz soloist by Downbeat Magazine as part of the annual Student Music Awards.
The Baltimore native’s talent earned him the honor of gracing the same stage as many legendary performers including Benny Golson, Joe Chambers, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, Eric Benet, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Earl Klugh, Bob Baldwin, Frank McComb, Wale, Dwele, Gregory Porter, Bilal, Lauryn Hill and many more. He has also performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues such as Blue Note NYC, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club, Beacon Theater, Ginny’s Supper Club, Smalls Jazz, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, 9:30 Club, Highline Ballroom, Key Club LA, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Billboard Tokyo and Osaka, and the Apollo Theater.
In 2014, Birckhead joined the faculty at Morgan State University. He currently resides in New York City.
Bashiri Johnson, mentioned briefly in the conversation with Brent, is a brilliant percussionist who will appear in a later episode.
(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Brent Birckhead.)
Zoila’s story about her child’s inner struggle and their relationship is moving and profoundly inspiring. Although English is her second language, she speaks more eloquently than one can possibly imagine.
The situation she had to face, embrace and deal with was one of enormous proportions and with various implications. And how she did it was awe-inspiring. Her story is also an opportunity to support tolerance and specifically in the transgender community. Zoila is obviously a wonderful speaker and a sort of activist in the LGBTQ community, though her message extends far beyond. And so I can’t recommend her enough for speaking engagements, interviews and whatever else it takes to help her be able to get the word out—her word out—and in a more expansive way.
And for anyone dealing with prejudice of any kind, and particularly if you are struggling with feeling different, in this complicated world, then this is also a story for you—to help you know that you are not alone and that it is possible to not only survive your struggle but also to subsequently thrive. I encourage you to “like” the Extraordinary Ordinary People Facebook page and engage in a community dialogue through the comment section.
(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Zoila Fajardo.)
Jeremy Safron is a devout champion of nature, eternal student of the martial, meditative & mystic arts and a musician, author, teacher, and inventor. Jeremy has initiated innovative ideas and alternative angles in the fields of yoga, culinary arts, fitness and sustainable living. Jeremy’s permaculture farm known as Avalon offers WWOOFing internship experiences on Maui where they host the Haunted Haiku Hike an Interactive outdoor theatre and Mythological Creature Sanctuary for Halloween as well as farm exotic fruits and healing plants year round. He is best known for his books The Raw Truth and The Fasting Handbook, and for creating the Dragon Yoga system, the Unpredictiball—a reflex training game and for being one of the founding fathers and pioneer of the Raw Food Movement.
(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Jeremy Safron.)
Windcloud is the definition of an extraordinary person. He is over 90 years old though looking at him one would never know it. Viewing photos of him dancing, you’ll see how limber he is and how effortlessly he seems to move. And his memory is razor sharp.
Being conceived, in the “summer of love,” Windcloud’s mother did not know who the father was and she sent him, at a young age, to a Catholic boarding school outside of New York City. When he was finally able to fly the puritanical nest, he joined the Coast Guard and then left to travel the world, discovering the wonders of music, which unleashed his passions creating an outlet for years of pent up emotions.
After he and a girlfriend unexpectedly had a daughter, they got married and Windcloud settled into domestic life, which he eventually found did not suit his untethered lifestyle leading to divorce. At 42 years old, he sold and gave away all his possessions, though gifted his precious music album collection to his daughter. He and a new girlfriend moved and traveled Mexico and Guatemala.
In 1967, once again alone, he moved to San Francisco and led a vagabond lifestyle until he heard about a group of around twenty-five people building a sort of education and parent-based commune in Berkley. Soon, they were gifted a plot of wild and unruly land in the mountains of Mendocino, where he stayed for twelve years.
The next step, in his journey, brought him to Willits, CA, where he worked as a shopkeeper in a small community led by a guru-sort of Indian woman. This didn’t last long and finally, at 60 years old, he found himself in Maui – his true home – where he has lived ever since for the last thirty plus years. There, he learned about living a simple lifestyle, and further delved into music, helping to connect with himself, to be present in the moment, and connect with community.
Today, he is discovering “the gifts” that come from having age slow him down. This is a man who has truly experienced all life has to offer, still is, and has accumulated great wisdom to inspire us all.
(An audio prologue to Andy’s conversation with Windcloud.)
Charles Wiltgen, who is my brilliant show producer, editor, strategist, creative partner and great friend. I honestly don’t know how I would do this show without you.
Sean Low, my business consultant since 2011 who has helped me to structure my businesses such that I can truly let my creativity live and breathe and fully experience my vision and dreams.
Rebecca Steele, my Executive Vice President of Andy Kushner Entertainment Design, who essentially runs that business so effectively that I can even give the time and focus that allows this show to exist.
Shout out goes to my friend of 40 years, Lee Silverstein, also a fellow podcaster, for inspiring me to finally get off my ass and attend my first Podfest conference, created and run by Chris Krimitsos, and then to start my other show, which led to this one.
To Cindy, my sweet and generous cousin: I can’t thank you enough for offering your beautiful home in Maui, to me, while you were away for what became a magical month for me. I don’t know if I would have had the inspiration and deep level of serendipity, that touched my heart and soul while there, which led to this creative outlet of expression for me. Thank you thank you thank you.
My mother, Lorraine Kushner, who nurtured the artist in me as a child and young adult and who continues to be a great source of support and inspiration as well as a tremendous role model for living a happy and fulfilling life.
Alyssa, who is the best daughter a father could possibly ever hope for. You make me so proud and I love you with all my heart and soul!
My brother, David Kushner, who is a deeply talented narrative non-fiction writer, journalist, screenwriter and whose love and support I am forever grateful.
To Shelley, thank you thank you thank you for all you did to help create an environment for me to continue to build my music business, and especially in those early growth years..…wow!
To the memory of my father Gilbert, a brilliant Applied Anthropologist, devoted father and role model for living a life of passion and service—I miss you deeply.
I dedicate this show to the memory of my brother, Jon, who himself was an extraordinary person. Though your life was short-lived, it was still nonetheless a life fully-lived. I believe one gift resulting from the experience of having you as one of my younger brothers and the experience of then losing you is what helped give me the capacity for a deep sense of empathy without which this show would not exist.
There are many many more family members, friends, and mentors whom I wish I could list…just know that your love and support means more than you could possibly imagine.
And last but not least, to YOU: Know that no matter what struggles and challenges you go through, that your life is indeed extraordinary and may you find continued inspiration through these recorded conversations. L’Chaim!