Happy new year everybody! As the new year begins, I can’t help thinking about all the great people who didn’t make it beyond 2013, including Donald Byrd, Ray Manzarek, George Duke, Nelson Mandela, Daniel Darc, Peter O’Toole, Lou Reed, James Gandolfini, Alvin Lee, J. J. Cale, Dave Brubeck, Claude Nobs, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Phil Ramone, StĂ©phane Hessel, Jim Hall, Ricky Lawson.. The list goes on and on. I’m not sure whether this was a particularly bad year, or whether I paid more attention to these passings because I also experienced loss on a personal level in 2013.

In any case, all of these people did great things with their lives, and their accomplishments serve as an endless source of inspiration to do the best we can with our time on earth. I’m looking forward to a brand new, hopefully lighter and more dynamic year, so that a year from now we can look back at a long list of great things that happened in 2014, musically, politically, economically, personally… Best wishes to all!