Over time I’ve learned to be a rule-bender. Sometimes a rule-breaker, but mostly a bender. A repeat-offender of a bender, if you will. How else does one find the limits without taking a few risks? As NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irving poignantly said: If you’re not cheating you’re not trying hard enough. I say this because this morning Facebook threatened to sanction me for “making friends” with people I don’t already know. Duh! Isn’t that the definition of making friends? So after reading me the Riot Act they annoyingly “re-educated” me (extra screen clicks) and permitted my return to the Land of Faces where I was met with good news for one of my unbridled grabs at friendship garnered me the privilege of discovering a musical group by the name of Nathan’s Way.
Now I had never heard of this group before that moment. I have no New York connection to speak of… until Facebook. By serendipity I happened to befriend talented arranger Gregory K. Lathan who put his group’s video on my timeline. He had no real idea of me or I of him. There’s no way he could have known that I was up all night organizing my ginormous (as in gigantic times enormous) music collection whereby the likes of 5th Dimension, Manhattan Transfer, Take 6 and other such harmonically gifted luminaries figure prominently. Yes, this group just hours ago unknown to me, landed into my cultured consciousness with a hallowed resonance not enjoyed by musicians so young, so new, and so beautiful in recent history. And what a return to jazz-infused vocalized glory they are!
Gregory K. Lathan , Kira M. Smith, Charles Murray, and Leslee Warren are, collectively, Nathan’s Way. Will they carry forth the tradition of music that transcends categories, key and time signatures, time, space, cultures? “I Wanna Be Friends.” But kids, hear my fervent plea . Where’s my digital album? Your place in my music archive is reserved. Fill my drive, guys… if you dare.
Sometimes it pays to bend the rules.