Walker West Music Academy (WWMA), 760 Selby Ave., St. Paul, will welcome saxophonist De’Sean Jones & Detroit Music Factory this Saturday (Dec. 7).
Jones will be performing along with his longtime mentor and friend Solomon Parham. The 7:30 p.m. concert is free and open to the public, with complimentary food and drink from Revival starting at 6:30 p.m. This event is the third of four concerts in The Rondo Community Music Series, sponsored by The Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts, The Rondo Community Land Trust, and Twist Davis Group.
In preparation for his first visit to Minnesota, Jones spoke with Maya Beecham, Insight News contributing writer, and shared the honor and responsibility he holds in utilizing music as an act of service and a mechanism for healing.
What have your experiences taught you?
What my experiences have taught me is the value of being an artist but in the greater context of just being a human being, just being a person. Yes, we have traveled the world, yes, we have made some money, yes, we have made some music and people might love it and respect it but at the end of the day I’m no different from the next person. And you know you can step foot in Paris, Berlin or Shanghai and people treat you like royalty, and you step foot in your own city and people act like they don’t even know you. That is beautiful to me. It keeps you humble. You realize that that’s not the point. You realize that you are in service to the people. This isn’t about you it’s about the people. You need to give them something that is going to be healing. I think that is what the art is really about. It’s a healing mechanism, it’s a way of bringing people together. That’s where the privilege comes from.
What are some impactful experiences you have had with people in your audience that proved you provided healing?
The most consistent thing that occurs is when somebody approaches you at the end of your show or they message you a week later and say the night I came to your show I was contemplating ending my life, and after your show I felt like I had something to live for. That’s when you realize how tremendous of a responsibility. The privilege is in the responsibility. You don’t know what people are going through you don’t know who is in the audience. Often, they teach us as young musicians, you don’t know who can be in the audience because that could be your next big break. It’s like no you don’t know who can be in the audience because you can be somebody’s breakthrough … That is where the responsibility comes in. It’s like are you aware of what you are playing for? Are you aware of why you are playing? Are you aware of what you are projecting in the music that you play. I think that is where the responsibility and where the service to people really comes in to play.
When people come out to see you in Minnesota, what is it that they can expect?
Sometimes people need a lot of energy, and sometimes people need a still quiet and consistent energy. It’s my responsibility to lock in with the vibe of the room, and the vibe and the energy of the people … I’ll always bring my best. I’ll always be playing from a place of sincerity. There will be no wasted notes that night. I want people to have a good time. I want everyone to have fun and say that was an amazing experience. To leave uplifted or leave in a better position or place than they were when they walked in. I think that’s the most you can ask for out of people. It only takes one person. If one person was moved by the performance than I have done my job. I’m really humbled at the opportunity to perform for the Walker West community. I’m really excited to come. I count it a privilege to be invited.
What is next for you?
What is next for me is a continuation of what I have been building. When you are building something it takes time, but the whole point of building is that you complete the work. The completion of my work is a global task. It is something I have to focus on in a real way. So what’s next for me is continuing to put out more music, put myself in a position where my music can reach more people. And put myself in position where I can continue to grow and receive good mentorship not just from those that have already been in my life, but also from those that I may not have even have encountered yet to help guide me ... I am in the legacy building phase of my career, where everything I do now is less for me and more for my family, and my generation to make sure they are set up. That’s a huge work. And not just my kids, my blood, but for the next generation. I want something set-up for them in a real way…Your gift, if it can make room for you, it should be able to open doors for others.
To RSVP for the concert call (651) 224-2929, or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.