Fluteity is the state of my mind that combines flow and flexibility with the finesse and freedom of the jazz flute.
My Inspiration? Ever since my father, Douglas Williams Jr., “the coolest cat on the planet,” introduced me to jazz, through music reels he brought back while in the Air Force overseas, I was hooked! Partly because it was something we shared but largely because jazz is contagious, intriguing, and magical. Two of his favorites were Lena Horne and the incomparable Nancy Wilson, whom I had the honor of interviewing as former XM Radio Talk Show Host of Greatness By Design. I remember at the end of my introduction of Ms. Wilson, I mentioned that my father always said, “Jazz is better with a cup of Nancy.” While he’s no longer here, I know he’d be proud to know I am trying my hands at jazz flute playing.
When did flute journey begin? My flute fascination began while living on South Beach in late 1997. My very first teacher was Jeff Zavac, a blind alto saxophone player. We had a few initial lessons and then he referred me to a female Flutist named Elisa. On January 21, 1998 we began lessons, but by February 18, I was traveling to England including Bath, Glastonberry, and London and then to Paris, France. And yes, I brought my flute along with me but only able to play a few elementary songs, including Imagine by John Lennon. I took a few photos that I recently dug up. Shortly afterwards, I got pregnant and my focus on music changed to having and raising a healthy and happy son. He was born in May of 1999 and is now 16 in 2015. Recently, I started thinking about the flute again and soon after my 50th birthday, I was on a mission that continues today!
While I have no delusions of being the next anything or anyone of jazz significance, however I do want to be my personal best while enjoying the hell out of this jazz-inspired ride! But be clear…I am approaching this with the same fervor and focus that I approach everything I am passionate about….I commit, dive in, and give 150%!
Who are my Music Teachers ? I am honored to have been aggressively taught by Grammy Nominated Music Educator, Master Saxophonist, and Producer, Melton Mustafa Jr., a member of one of jazz’s royal families beginning with his father, famous trumpeter, conductor and educator Melton Mustafa Sr., famous saxophonist Uncle Jessie Jones, Jr., his brother Trumpeter Yamin Mustafa and his own son, Saxophonist Esaa Mustafa. My first lesson was on November 2, 2014 at the ravishing age of 50. In July of 2015, I started working with second renowned musician Randy Malcolm.
What flute do I play? I currently play a Gemenhardt that I discovered by chance at a pawn store, in great condition, so I bought it. I started with an Armstrong that I purchased from a flutist relocating and changing her artistic focus to painting.
Flute Art: During this creative process, I also bought a third flute, that was unplayable but I recycled it, painted it black, then had an artist paint a treble clef combined with a female figure and crystallized the keys in cobalt blue and white. It’s called “Blacks and Blues” inspired by my favorite flute album by Bobbi Humphrey.
Why the name Fluteity? I came up with the name “Fluteity” because it represents the continuous flow and growth that I am experiencing, exploring, and discovering. My jazz persona and acceptance of the craft that I am learning continues to develop.
My goal? Continue to practice daily, study the greats, explore the diversity of jazz through various musicians and cultures that support this amazing life improvisation. In addition, I plan to audition for a seat on the Jazz Combo band this Fall 2015 at Palm Beach State College. Wish me luck!
Update! 2015-2016 I made the Jazz Combo cut! Rehearsed weekly and performed twice with my Jazz Sextet including playing with renowned International Jazz Steel Drummer, Othello Molineaux)
This is my journey and you are intersecting with it as we improvise and synergize together!
I’m just flutin’ from the inside-out….
Blanche Williams, MS
Contact me by email email@example.com or cell (202) 497-4564.
By day, Blanche Williams, MS is President of Greatness By Design, LLC.