*Former Prince saxophonist BK Jackson joined Florida A&M University’s Wind Symphony to perform a soul-stirring rendition of “Purple Rain” during the school’s recent 2016 Spring Commencement.
Jackson, who was still in high school when he toured with Prince, spoke about the icon’s influence on his musical technique in a 2014 interview with the Tampa Bay Times:
The lessons that you learn in that camp and being around such a musical genius and icon, is literally priceless. The techniques that I get just watching him, lessons that he doesn’t even know he’s teaching- those are probably what I would consider to be the most valuable. How he conducts himself, how he conducts the band, how he interacts with fans on and off stage those are lessons that I take with me. I mean if you have to have a teacher, why not Prince.
BK, a.k.a. Bernard Kenneth, also talked about how Prince would isolate every section of the band and fine tune it until the sound was to his satisfaction; a metaphor for tackling obstacles in life.
That approach right there is how I should approach every piece of music and really life in general. Whenever things kinda get hectic and they don’t necessarily hit the way you want them too, just break every piece down part by part and watch them come back together. It’s gonna be great.
Below, watch Jackson pour our collective grief into that saxophone during FAMU’s April 30, 2016 commencement ceremony, backed by the FAMU Wind Symphony: