Monday, September 14, 2009

New jazz-world-blues CD!

The whole group (minus Michael Kora, drums) Left to right: Ted, me, Steve, Jack, Christian, Milledge

About the CD, Sometimes Things Work Out, Steve Pinkston and Friends

Back in 2006, I began searching for my birth parents, seeking medical information to explain why at 34 years old I was having so many issues with my health. Very early in the search, however, it became much more than that. My birth mother was very difficult to locate, even after I had been able to unseal my adoptive records and receive the name from my real birth certificate. Eventually, I found her picture in a Manhattan High School year book, and then, finally her current address and phone number in another state. I had never expected to be making contact, but it was necessary. I fully expected that she would not want contact with me, since it had been a closed adoption. In fact, the first time I made the call, she denied that she had given birth to me. I certainly understood. After I provided proof of who I was, and the adoption record etc., she changed her mind and we were able to talk for a little bit.

Christian Botto, guitars

Right away, she expressed that she was grateful I had contacted her and that she was relieved I was okay. She had wondered and worried about me all these years, and even tried to find me once. I never could have imagined it that way. She had never had any other children, because she didn’t want children. In fact, I am the same way. I have never wanted children either. She was apologetic and ashamed. But I emphatically told her that she had absolutely made the right decision in giving me up and that I have had a wonderful life with great parents. They were high school students, both planning to go to college in the fall to study music. I was born their first fall semester at college.

Early in that first conversation, my birth mother gave me my birth father’s name. Steve Pinkston.

Steve Pinkston, bass and composer *** Steve's Blog, The Fretful Bassist

Dawn Blair (me!), cello

Right away, after getting off the phone with her, I did a Google search on the internet and found him. I look just like him, and over the past few years have discovered I am just like him in most ways, although I do share my mother’s genetics in the humor category. They were both musicians, she a violinist and he a bass player. Both were very talented classical musicians. In fact Steve had been a cellist, just like myself, through his high school years, and then switched to string bass as soon as one became available. He played jazz on electric bass and began writing his own music. Eventually Steve left Kansas and moved to Hollywood where he played jazz and rock through the 70’s and produced three albums. Steve is a brilliant musician as well as composer. When we first met, in Portland, he brought his records and hours and hours worth of recordings of music he had written. CD’s of music he had recorded with his music partner, pianist Paul Bass, who unfortunately died of cancer ten or so years ago.

Milledge Bennett, percussion

Jack McCreary, flute and alto sax

Steve had wanted to make a CD of some of his favorite compositions, but hadn’t really done much with it up to the point when we met. After I had played cello for him over the phone one night, he decided he should do the CD and include me on it, with his other wonderfully talented musician friends. In August of 2007, we began recording. That visit to Portland was the very first time Steve and I had gotten to play together. It was an emotional, life changing moment for both of us. All my life, I had known they were musicians, and as a young girl and teenager, I used to fantasize that someday I would be somewhere playing and they would be too, and that we would figure it out, and somehow know…

Ted Clifford, keyboards

A good portion of us in the recording session.

We finished my part of the recording in Kansas City in July of 2008, and Steve got to meet my parents for the first time. It was amazing how much he and my dad had in common, swapping stories of playing at Ft. Riley and all over Manhattan and Kansas City. Steve had the chance to express to both my parents his appreciation of the sacrifices they made raising me, and I think that provided some closure for both Steve and my parents. The CD went into production this winter and now is finally published. This is a fantastic, quality CD featuring jazz, blues, and world music, and is the most meaningful project I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of.

On the cover: This is a photograph of Steve’s bass and the card I made to give to him when we first met in person. Notice the puzzle piece in the center. My feelings about finding my birth parents, my birth father in particular were that of having found the missing piece of the puzzle. There had always been a part that was missing in my life. I was never truly sure of who I was or where I was heading in life, because I never knew where or who I came from. You must know where your journey started, I feel, in order to know where you are on the path of life, or where you might stop and rest, or aspire to go to. When I met each of them, a part of my life was solved. The mystery of why I am so different from my parents and family. Although my dad is a trumpet player and also a brilliant jazz musician himself, and my mother crafty and artistic like I am, our personalities and ways are so vastly different. We don’t understand each other or why I am like this and they are like that. Knowing why, and that it is largely genetic, was the missing puzzle piece. Now I am not grabbing at straws trying to figure it out, because I know now.

Dawn Blair (me!) outside recording studio dock

When we met in that hotel in Portland to meet, Steve played the song, the title track of this CD for me. One of the lines in the song is, “.and it’s like a puzzle, when you put the last piece in.” We both wept meaningful tears as I listened to that song. It was a true reunion. Something that we had both longed for over thirty years, he had realized and I had not until that moment. The pain and wonder, questions and doubts, and for Steve, the worry, all melted away in that moment. The burden of not knowing was lifted from our shoulders and a new life of completeness was begun. We are both on a surefooted path and we communicate through the internet nearly every day now. ******************************************************************************************* To find out much more about the CD and where to purchase it, visit Steve's website Fin de Mundo Music ********************************************************************************************


WonderfulWire said...

Wow Dawn..... what an incredibly beautiful and inspiring story!! God bless you!! It's amazing how personalities, little nuances and such, get passed on from generation to generation... just a wonderful story... Thank you!

Kieran Andersen said...

Wow, what a fantastic and interesting story.
You are so incredibly talented! Amazing all the wonderful things you do!

It's interesting the connection you have with your birth parents, how genetically you are so connected. I think it can work both ways... I sometimes feel I couldn't be any more different from my own parents. Life is so amazing, puzzling and interesting.....