Artists and Opinions

LP - Coltrane Live at Birdland

MUSINGS IN Cb: “Artists and Opinions.”
Christopher Burnett |

I recently changed the introduction statement of my profile’s professional portfolio to the following. The latest recommendation from them is to write in the first person on that business social media platform.

Here’s the first part of that update, which is pretty standard stuff:
“I am a formally trained alto saxophonist, educator, leader, and composer and started my professional career with military jazz bands “turning pro” directly upon graduating high school at 18 years old. Over the course of a forty-plus year career, I have performed professionally around the world, recorded noteworthy albums as a leader, taught at the college-level and co-founded a significant independent recording label.

I have released three albums as a leader – the latest, ‘Firebird,’ is being released first as singles on the ARC label. Additional credits include producing the debut recording of the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet titled, “Echoes of Europe.” I am an in-demand woodwind instructor and jazz clinician, serving as festival adjudicator and conductor for honors ensembles on many occasions.

I was keynote speaker for the 2016 Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Fort Leavenworth and the 2017 Black History Month celebration of Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center’s CPAC. The Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University invited me to be its very first speaker in their ‘Self-Employment in the Arts’ series for 2016.

I held adjunct professor of music positions with Missouri Science and Technology, ten years and Metropolitan Community Colleges, five years. I directed the marketing communications department at the American Jazz Museum for five years.

I am a KPA award-winning newspaper reporter and the 1995 5-Star Award of Merit Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs as a Composer.”

Here’s the not-so-standard part:
“The biggest challenge I have with most prospective employers and clients is the fact that I am a transitioned career military senior enlisted leader and, in addition to my professional specialized hard skills in the arts, I possess a diverse range of highly developed soft skills.

These soft ancillary skills include proven developed leadership abilities, systems approach management of complex initiatives, and a successful track record in arts marketing and promotion.

I am also fluent in web design, HTML coding, and social media marketing.”
The two parts of my introductory bio reflect who I am as a professional artist. The second part became necessary to articulate when the noted challenges consistently proved to be permanent aspects to address in professional situations.

As a person who is also an artist, it is also necessary and natural to articulate opinions related to life experiences. One’s life affects one’s art. The two are interdependent.

Every artist and business have a “brand” to manage, and many use the Internet – like I do to further my professional interests and express myself personally.

I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in addition to the LinkedIn platform mentioned earlier for both, personal and business use.

If people connected with me online through social media or offline in real life are uncomfortable with my addressing things other than music, so be it. That’s okay. Disconnect or unfriend away.

A funny thing about this paradigm of “artists and opinions” is if you appreciate the substance of my art, you are experiencing the content of my opinions as well.

Sometimes it’s not comfortable for some to realize that I think about other things too. But, my opinions are always purposely addressed in a civilized and constructive way. And always will be expressed in such a manner.

Like others, my art is a reflection of my life experiences and who I am personally.

These influences include my various perspectives as a unique individual who is also a black U.S. American male.

Factor in my generational position in the middle of the Baby Boomers and my opinions have further context based upon significant history I’ve experienced.

Writing these facts down may not be comfortable for some to read.

That is okay. It’s still the reality of my opinions as an artist.

VIDEO: Alabama by John Coltrane

Alabama” is a composition written by John Coltrane that appears on his album Live at Birdland (1963). It was written in response to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963, an attack by the Ku Klux Klan in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four girls. (Source: Wikipedia)

LP – Coltrane Live at Birdland