Rick DellaRatta is now considered by many to be one of the finest Singer/Pianists performing today and one of only a handful of Jazz Artists who can make a successful musical presentation to a large audience without having to abandon the true art form of Jazz.
Through his life long endeavor to help advance people to their highest potential through the understanding of Jazz as well as spreading peace worldwide through his “Jazz for Peace World Tour”, Rick DellaRatta is considered to be an innovator and a visionary.
His unique and original piano playing and composing has been compared in print to Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Keith Jarrett, Joe Zawinul, Horace Silver, Oscar Peterson and Thelonious Monk, while his signature vocal sound and style has been likened to Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Joao Gilberto, Ivan Lins, Michael Franks and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity radio.
Stone Payton: [00:00:15] Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. This is going to be a unique and special conversation. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Jazz for Peace. Mr. Rick DellaRatta. How are you, man?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:00:37] Hey, Stone. Very good. Thank you so much.
Stone Payton: [00:00:39] Well, it is such a delight to have you on the show. And before we even dive into the conversation, I wonder if you would give us the treat of sharing a small piece with us.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:00:52] Okay, we’ll do. Actually, what I’m going to do is it’s fall here. It’s kind of fall everywhere in the United States. So but especially here in New York with all the beautiful, you know, the the the leaves and all that stuff. So this is just a little intro of a French song called Autumn Leaves that’s also famous in America, and that’s going to segway into a little thing called three J that I just make up. That’s also very short. And then I’m going to recite the poem Jazz for Peace, because a lot of people ask me on the show, What are those words to that poem that kind of started it all. So I’ll just get right to it here for you.
Speaker1: [00:01:34] Say.
[00:01:37] To see on the song. That’s on Blu ray. They said.
Speaker1: [00:02:01] They me.
[00:02:10] They launched a new song. Song? Look.
Speaker1: [00:02:25] Job he name.
[00:02:38] Oh, since you went away. The days for long. And around here. Oh, well.
Speaker1: [00:03:01] So.
[00:03:08] But I miss you most of all. My darling. When autumn leaves start.
Speaker1: [00:03:33] And.
[00:04:38] But. He’s. But.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:05:20] I hear jazz for peace coming through the tree In my heart it fills me like celebration. I see the lights and I want to follow. Inspired by the past contributions, those that came before and laid the groundwork for us to build on in this universal language that is the gift for all mankind. When we speak it.
Speaker1: [00:06:08] People are enlightened by the creativity and artistry that for peace and love.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:06:15] And humanity and intelligence and the terrific potential that we have in our souls so we can remain conscious. It’s a gift of giving. It’s our greatest.
[00:06:31] Privilege. Hi there, Charles.
Stone Payton: [00:06:50] That is absolutely beautiful, man. Thank you so much for the work you’re doing, but also for for that piece right there. And that is fantastic.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:07:02] Thank you so much. I appreciate. You know, it’s very unique just for your show. There’s no other show that will have this exact arrangement. I do something kind of special so that people from other shows can come and get hip to what you’re doing and vice versa.
Stone Payton: [00:07:15] I love it. All right. So a good place to start this conversation, I think maybe is mission purpose. What are you and your organization out there trying to do for folks, ma’am?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:07:26] You know, basically, Joan, we’re trying to define the role of what peace is, because, you know, the reason I recited the poem is so you could hear the poem that I wrote on 911 that all of these people had contributed to peace and kind of gave us this incredible foundation to build on people from Gandhi to Martin Luther King to, you know, musical greats like John Coltrane and all of these people. And so now we have this incredible foundation. And what we’re doing with peace is we’re helping outstanding causes, because we believe that by using this great American art form of jazz that’s spoken all over the world and that transforms all barriers from culture to race to religion, to creed to language, you name it, we’re able to address and help the world’s most outstanding causes all over the world. And by doing that, we’re not only helping that specific cause, but all of the people that they reach. And not only are we addressing problems of the present, but we’re helping to stop problems of the future at the same time. So it’s a lot of good that that all takes place one after another through this benefit concert series, which is also an instrument donation program and is also an educational program in the school.
Stone Payton: [00:08:47] So how did this pursuit, how did it all get started for you personally?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:08:53] Well, honestly, I have been traveling all over the world and I had done so many things to be just as myself. Rick Tyler Out of the Artist. I had traveled a lot as a sideman, played with bands from the Platters, the famous band, the 1950s to the Artie Shaw big band, to the opening act for Dizzy Gillespie. Then my CDs came out and I traveled a lot with those places, you know, places like Brazil and Europe and you name it Asia. And then I learned that music had an incredible quality to unite people in a positive way, to heal people and to bring people together for good purposes. So I knew all that when 9/11 hit. But watching it myself on the building where I was living, which was less than a quarter of a mile away down in the Lower East Side from those Twin Towers, I realized that it was really up to me to actually help the world to find out about this incredible power that music has. Maybe they already knew it, but I don’t think they realized the potential. And so when I started doing these benefit concerts, helping us standing causes, I started to get letters from people all over the place.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:10:10] I don’t know where you’re located, but I recited the Jazz for Peace poem in a Southern state. I love your southern accent, by the way, because my mother was from and my cousins all, and I used to imitate them. I just love the accent. So anyway, Savannah, Georgia, was where I recited the Jazz for Peace poem because it was only a couple of weeks after 911 that the country opened up and I was able to even get to that jazz festival. And then, like I said, the benefit concert series, I started to get letters from people, starting with the mayor of New York City at that time, which was Michael Bloomberg saying, Hey, I get it, this is fantastic. You got to keep going. And I thought I was done. I thought I’d just make my stamp with six outstanding a handful of outstanding causes. I didn’t realize there were causes all over the world to address every problem we have. And all we have to do is identify the ones that are really the most dedicated and help them.
Stone Payton: [00:11:05] And you’ve applied some real structure, some discipline, some some rigor. I guess I could even call it a methodology. You have a specific set of steps that you walk these folks through to to help them access some of these resources in very short time, don’t you?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:11:25] We do. And I’m so glad you brought that up. So this is called an empowerment tree. It’s a fundraising model. And this model is I have to give a lot of our credit to the model because this model works every time we follow the model and it works. And what’s so cool about it, it’s patterned after a tree. And when you look outside your window there you see trees. Not one of them looks alike. We all call them trees, but they’re all unique. It’s the same thing every time we run this model. Every event is completely unique to that organization that we’re helping. You can see our one of our recent events in Nigeria, which was our ninth time to Africa. You can see events that we’ve done in Atlanta. I’m just saying that because I’m not sure where you are, but I know you’re in the South, but all over the place, Alabama, Florida, any state and every continent and country. And they’re so unique. Yet they are an empowerment tree that we grew, starting with the roots, just like a tree. What the root is, it’s basically a comment from someone who, let’s say, listens to this podcast down the road and they they say, you know what? Wow, I like that music. I like this interview. This was fantastic here. I’m going to send them an email So they write an email to info and they can say whatever they want. Hey, I listen to Stones interview. You know what? This could be really good for our outstanding cause. That’s such and such and such and such city or town. Great. That’s called. That’s a seedling from a tree.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:12:54] Now what we’ll do is, you know, many seedlings fall, you know, only a few of them become trees. But that one, since there’s an outstanding college attached, we’ll work with them to grow that into roots simply by creating a document that they approve. Go back and forth to make sure it’s just what they want to show their board members, or if they’re a nonprofit or they’re they’re their team members who, whatever they are, show all those team members and show some of your supporters and show them all and get their comments. Those comments make the roots of the tree okay. From there, we will help them expand that because we want to bring in new donors. We want to bring new energy into this into this organization. And so when we help them expand that, now we have the roots of the tree. From there, we get their paperwork submitted into and get it approved here at Jazz for Peace so that we can grow the empowerment tree that starts with local business sponsors. On the local end. We want to get them really ingratiated with their community so that these people will support them year after year. From the local business sponsors, we were able to go to publicity and awareness and you can click on that interactive tree on our website and you can see, you know, you can see me on television, actually on NBC on that specific interview on NBC-TV promoting that organization. But there’s all kinds of publicity and awareness that are of that can happen from publicize this event. From there you can go to other things like major corporate sponsors, new and prestigious supporters, and we share fundraising tips and techniques that we’ve learned from all of the big names because we’ve worked with all the big names.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:14:35] And so all of these things amounts to an outstanding cause. It’s not only better funded, but that’s one piece of the puzzle. You just can’t fund them, but you can’t throw money at a solution and fix it because they’ll burn through the money. They’ll be right back where they were. But we want them to not only be more funded, but also more publicized. We want them to be more befriended. We want them to be more sponsored. We want them to be a more prestigious organization moving forward. And all of that adds up to a helpful step forward. And that’s what we that is our goal. And we realize that goal when we receive a testimonial letter from them, as we always do after the event, and go to Jazz for Peace, WordPress.com, the WordPress page forward slash about. So it’s Jazz for Peace dot org is our website Chesapeake dot WordPress.com for about. And you can not only see the Empowerment Tree interactive and click on it, but scroll down and you’ll read quotes from a lot of people that you know who they are, a lot of famous people. But then keep going. You’ll see the testimonials and you’ll never get to the bottom of that because there’s hundreds and hundreds of them from all the people we’ve helped. And like I said, I have to give a lot of credit to not only our staff and volunteers, but that fundraising model.
Stone Payton: [00:15:49] This has got to be this must be incredibly rewarding work, man. What are you enjoying the most right now?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:15:58] You know, I enjoy feeling like a trillionaire. Not on the outside, but on inside. You see what I’m saying? You feel? I mean, a lot of people never get to know what it feels like to be whatever a billionaire or a billionaire. But I do know how on the inside, because these people have filled me up with joy just knowing that I made a difference from them in their word. How are you going to argue with someone that writes your letter and said, Hey, you really made a difference for us? And you know, they’re an outstanding cause that’s really dedicated to their mission.
Stone Payton: [00:16:33] So what’s next for you guys? What’s on the on the horizon for you?
Rick DellaRatta: [00:16:38] Well, I’ll tell you, you know, I don’t know what this podcast thing has taken off, but there’s just been a lot of activity with that. And these podcasts like yours, you know, we’ve been hearing from the podcast now, hey, you know, our our message is blew up or people listen to it. They love what you do. And and I’m getting to meet a lot of those different kinds of people. But also at the same time, we are again, working with people on their you know, on their getting them ready to grow their empowerment trees. We recently came back from Nigeria, and that was the 20th anniversary of the United Nations concert we didn’t even have time to talk about, but maybe on another one, we’ll talk about that. But that was the concept we did the United Nations. This was the 20th anniversary of it. And you can see all of the sponsors that we were able to get for that organization on this giant wall. Because I think, you know, when you see the stars or whatever and they take their picture, it’s always in front of a backdrop of sponsors, right? So we had those giant walls. It was like 15 feet high because it had all the sponsors listed.
Stone Payton: [00:17:41] Oh, man, this is just marvelous. Okay, let’s make sure that our listeners know how to get in touch with you if they want to have a conversation with you or someone on your team, if they want to tap into this process. So let’s leave them with whatever coordinates you think are appropriate. Website, email. I just want to make sure they can connect and tap into this work. Man.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:18:04] Absolutely. So first and foremost is that email address because like I said, you can send us an email just with a comment from revealing. And by the way, we stumbled all into this. The we, we got this idea from someone who sent us an email and we’re like, Who is this person? This is an incredible comment. And it turned out it was a woman that was helping at this time. Now, because this has already been solved this problem, but it was a problem they were having in China with young girls and they were not educated. They were not going to school and they were they were doing a sponsorship program for them. And we were raising the funds here from their organization and we ended up doing four concerts for them, for them across the United States. But anyway, the email address is info, just simple info at Jazz for peace. Jazzy f0rpee dot org. That’s the email address. Of course, our website Jazz for Peace dot org. If you make a mistake and you write jazz for peace dot com because so many people are they think in dot com you’ll still get there. And then of course there’s my name Ric Dealer.com and you can kind of see who I was before Jazz for Peace got launched because like I said we’ve had so many events with Jazz for Peace that there’s no place to fit them on that site. So you can click highlights as a lead. See all the things I did before that.
Stone Payton: [00:19:25] Well, Rick, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon, man. I sincerely appreciate you investing the time and the energy to visit with us and keep up the good work that what you’re doing is so important. And we sincerely appreciate you and your team, man.
Rick DellaRatta: [00:19:44] Thank you so much. Stone It’s been a pleasure.
Stone Payton: [00:19:47] All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Rick del Prado with Jazz for Peace, and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.