Eddie spoke eloquently and at length about the giants before him and beside him and how they mentored him, particularly his beloved late brother, Charlie (who was nine years older than Eddie). His mother was also clearly a huge influence as were others in the family.
But Eddie is anything but arrogant and self-satisfied. He received a lot and is determined to give back even more. He teaches master classes two or three times a month (as his crazy schedule permits) at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also works with his star pupils – the younger members of his band. When he speaks of them, he does so in reverent, awe-struck tones – not a whiff of “ownership” of them or their skills – if anything, he conveys the sense that he is deeply impressed with their talent and their fortitude and considers himself lucky to get to work with them.
Eddie’s Lesson: Give back. Others doing so made him, so he is just paying it forward. But you can too. Eddie finds it fulfilling and exciting and a learning experience – besides, it helps keep you humble to see how talented the next generation is.
The one thing that comes clearly through Eddie’s voice is joy. He loves what he does, he loves his music, he loves to perform, and he loves it so much he isn’t giving up any time soon – even though he admitted that after a long international tour that culminated in a stretch of 20 shows in 6 weeks, he could be picked up by a blotter.
Eddie decided at 50 to start counting again from 0, so he is about to have his 31st birthday, on December 15, 2017 (when he turns 81). He is very excited about it – he seems to get a charge from defying time. He is positive, energetic, opinionated, attentive and forceful. He is just like a 31 year old but with better stories.
That said, he learned long ago to delegate the things he isn’t good at (or doesn’t enjoy), so his son is the manager of his band.
He doesn’t appear to have allowed age to diminish his love of life or of his career. The old adage “you’re only as old as you feel” seems to apply to him perfectly – and he feels 31.
Eddie’s Lessons: Have fun with what you do, but do it damn well. And delegate – you can’t do everything yourself, and when you get good help, it allows you to focus on what you do best and become even better.
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