Why do I do what I do? How does a professional trumpeter and Independent recording artist get to use the subtle power of sound for healing? Well, it has been a journey of sorts and I have grown to understand that this is why we decided to take a body at this time. So we can experience what we are meant to and share from what we now know through experience, humbly.
I was fortunate enough to have been raised with a strong female roll model, my mother, who was born and raised in Manhattan and was psychically aware on all levels. I now understand her as a enlightened being after my travels to India.
I grew up in Central Florida and after high school I enlisted in the United States Army as a trumpet player. I was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division Band in Fort Bragg, NC and had the honor of performing in the Jazz, Latin, Top 40 and Ceremonial bands at hundreds of concerts and military ceremonies.
As a trumpet player I also had the honor of laying to rest some of our finest American Hero’s by playing taps for over 200 funerals.
In 2000 I was involved in a car accident that left me with paralysis down both arms and a bulging disc between my 5th and 6th cervical spine. For five years I was unable to play any instrument let alone hold a trumpet.
During that time my reality was that I would never be able to play trumpet again. Chronic pain throughout my entire body from my injuries was debilitating and this realization brought me to notice I was changing in ways I thought was not possible. I became angry, disappointment, frustration and total fatigue was my new reality. During this time to get me through each day I was placed on several pain medications that included anti-inflammatories and opioids. After several years of taking these types of medications and seeking different types of therapies and pain management centers, I realized that I was not getting any better. In fact, I was getting worse. It was like taking one step forward and two steps backwards.
It took a few years, but once I realized that between the medication I was on, the pain in my body and my mind, and lack of movement, there was no getting better in the future either, not like this. Everything changed when I decided not to take any more medication; and began seeking other alternatives and found meditation. I read as many books on the topic as I could get my hands on and also studied Buddhism and Eastern Philosophies.
During this time, my sister, who had also experienced a car accident, mentioned that a yoga instructor would come after work a few times a weeks and said she found some relief in her pain from the practice. Although that sounded good, I knew physically that I wasn’t there yet, but slowly I began with stretches on the floor and became stronger and stronger. It would still be a few more years that I was able to begin a more physical yoga practice, so I began with meditation.
The day came when everything changed. In my studies I found Sanskrit mantra’s sung or gently chanted connected me back to sound and had a new realization. As classically trained professional trumpeter, I thought I understand the power of sound. Chanting these sacred Sanskrit mantras introduced me to a whole different level of the power of sound. I discover within myself the healing power of vibration and sound and I felt an immediate connection back to my soul and my true essence.
In 2005 I began incorporating yoga postures and realized that a lot of my injuries were muscular and the lack of flexibility and strength was causing me to remain in pain. January 2006 I released my first CD “New Day” and assembled the band “Sol Y Mar” with members: Juan Leon, Gary Tompkins and Ralph Gray.
Putting my next contemporary jazz CD recording project on hold I completing my first yoga teacher training in 2011 to better understand what I needed to do to stay healthy with my mind and body.