Herb Wong was an incredible man. We met when I was performing with Clark Terry at the Wichita Jazz Festival around 1974.
In any event, I'm proud to wear the badge of jazz vocalist if that's what people want to call me; but at the same time, there are many other things I like to do.
I always say that improvisation is the utterance of one's spirit, and it dictates your life experience, and that's how you find your concepts and your way for painting your musical picture.
The music we do is weaved together through stories and life experiences. When people come to hear us, I hope they are are uplifted and that we give them a lot to take home.
Now, jazz institutions are more readily available for young people, but for me, the institutions were the bands that I was in. When I worked with Clark Terry, that was the beginning of school for me, and Harry Belafonte and Sergio Mendes, they were all my universities.
I knew what the story behind 'Dreams' was. It was about Stevie Knicks' relationship. But when I sing it, it's about sharing some sage advice with somebody.