Many of the Bucaresti musicians and artists have marked down last night as when the banner was passed for jazz music in this country. After hearing maybe the best jazz concert ever heard here, Johnny Radacanu, the king of Romania jazz stepped up on stage to embrace Professor deFulbright Scholar Tom Smith. Since everybody knows what a character Johnny is, professor Smith accepted the stunt with good graces. But, it made the right impression, because Johnny knows what everyone else also knows. After producing all parts of last night and by disciplining the usually incorrigible Radio Big Band the week before, the new king of Romania jazz is an American.

Last night’s concert was a History of Jazz, where Ruxandra Todiras narrated jazz music’s development as a social affector of culture and creative thought. The band on the stage of a packed Arcub, was Smith’s latest creation, something he calls the National Jazz Ensemble of Romania. It contained 23 musicians with some alternating their posts to let others participate. People were on the stage that no one would ever have believed could perform together. But they did perform together, making for the best jazz heard in Bucaresti.

There were so many great spots that it is hard to remember them all, although Allyn Constanciu and Garbis Dedeian were great. Also Mircea Tiberian and Cristian Soleanu, and of course Johnny who played two wonderful solo compositions. Let us not also forget Smith’s great trombone playing either. The last composition was a long suite called Birds of Paradise composed by American Carla Bley. It featured the young George Dumitriu on violin, who was superb throughout. Before the performance, Professor Smith joked that this was the hardest piece of jazz music ever played in Romania. When it was over, no one disagreed. The work was dedicated to the astronauts of the American space shuttle Columbia, and was a perfect tribute.

Next to Ambassador Guest, Tom Smith is probably the best known American in Bucaresti. The US Cultural Center sponsored the event, so many Americans were present. His contribution to culture in this country is large. His rich compliments made about his musicians were deeply felt and most appreciated. It was an unforgettable evening of music.

Philosophy of Artistic Leadership

A very wise teacher (my students want me to come clean and name names) said that “empowerment is easily attained, but not so readily assimilated.” I took this to mean that humanity can assume it has the answers, but the self- actualization necessary for validation was another thing entirely. Over the years, I have used this little morsel of wisdom to humbly expand upon professorial “chalk and talk,” so as to implement the components inherent of critical thinking and social learning. Socrates, Bandura and others did not invent these transformative constructs. They are derived from the same divine sentience that discovered fire, created the wheel, and invented baseball.

They are those infintesimal shards derived from the same energies that make possible the innovation derived from constructive thought assimilation (also known as retention of subject matter). These are important considerations for the creative artist, since one is incapable of innovation until there is a true actualization of independent thought; and without said independence, an artist can never lead. I almost always attain a sense of bemusement when students engage in some long discourse about how I taught them how to think.

Of course, the ability to perform said functions were internally ingrained all along. I merely showed them those old road maps that were in their back pockets the whole time. Musical leadership in the so called “educational pantheons” is not all that different from the dialogues that create those initial realities.

The principle differences are most applicable when recognizing the importance of forging professional relationships, and taking all salient points into account. When these vaunted actualizations are immersed in the collective energies of a plethora of independent thinkers, many wondrous possibilities become quite real. Still, there must be a refinement derived from the manifest intentions of so much collective thought. At that time, the chosen bearer of responsibility must edit, hone and strengthen. Only then can a true innovative process be both acheived and retained.