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Wynton’s Blog

  • Creole Contradanzas and Habanera

    Posted on September 28th, 2015 | 6

    These two pieces were written around the same time in the spring of 1995. They share the same ground rhythm, the Habanera. It is a rhythmic coefficient common to South and Central America, Cuba and the Caribbean Islands, many cultures in Africa, India, Pakistan and The Middle and Near East. A syncopated three beat pattern, I learned it growing up in New Orleans. We employ it in everything from traditional jazz to Mardi Gras Indian chants to Creole songs to funk tunes and on and on. We used to beat this rhythm out on anything available and invent rhymes on top of it like Handa Wanda Lil’ Mama.   Keep reading »

  • Performing with the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain

    Posted on August 15th, 2015 | 2

    Yesterday I had the honor of playing with the great trumpet section of the under 13 year olds of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain.   Keep reading »

  • When Marcus arrived, the quality of human substance elevated and the level of interaction deepened

    Posted on May 27th, 2015 | 1

    This has been a rough year for trumpet players. We have lost many giants: Clark Terry, Wilmer Wise, Lew Soloff and this Sunday we said goodbye to Marcus Belgrave.   Keep reading »

  • My 1986 encounter with Miles Davis in Vancouver

    Posted on April 28th, 2015 | 1

    I have recently been asked about my 1986 encounter with Miles Davis in Vancouver. Though I have not thought about it in years, the interest in this incident and the inaccurate recounting of it in Miles’ book (which I addressed publicly before his passing) has for some reason resurfaced. Just for the sake of truth, I called the three men who could verify what happened: Jeff Watts, Robert Hurst and Marcus Roberts. I asked them to comment on a statement of the facts leading up to the impromptu meeting, and they all agreed. Now, almost thirty years has passed. We don’t get the chance to speak that often but shared a good laugh recalling the events of that day. The story and their unedited statements appear below. As you will see, although all three have different feelings about it, not one of them disputes the facts.   Keep reading »

  • I knew that Recife was going to be exceptional

    Posted on April 2nd, 2015 | 2

    As soon as we landed at Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport, named in honor of their homeboy Gilberto Freyre, I knew that Recife was going to be exceptional and the perfect place for the final leg of our month-long tour. An airport named for an intellectual who encouraged Brazilians to embrace the Afro side of their cultural heritage and nature? Criticisms of Freyre aside, it’s an unusually enlightened posture in the New World. But from the moment we stepped off the plane, this wonderful and welcoming city graced us with warmth and the finest hospitality.   Keep reading »

  • After driving all night, we arrive in São Paulo at about 9am on Saturday morning

    Posted on March 30th, 2015

    After driving all night, we arrive in São Paulo at about 9am on Saturday morning. People who have slept on an overnight car trip look hung-over. So we crept into the hotel looking like we had been through something, while everyone we encountered was brimming with energy in their best morning sunshine. As Chris checks us in, I try to remember that we’ve actually done nothing to be ashamed of.   Keep reading »

  • We finished our beverages and started our journey down a long stretch of Brazilian highway.

    Posted on March 27th, 2015

    We landed in Rio last Friday feeling the excitement in anticipation of participation. Everyone knows about its rich and fertile culture, but Rio also has a mythical significance in the Jazz world so we knew our time there would be meaningful and well spent.  Our presenters, Chris Street and Monica Moreira of Dueto Produções greeted us at the airport. They have already been wonderful partners and Clarice Philigret, who has been our point person for this leg of our Brazilian tour, has put in countless hours to make it happen. They are on top of every detail and instantly establish a climate of warmth and familiarity. This in itself is a highly specialized skill of great value. We arrive at the hotel and some members of the band head immediately out to enjoy the beach.   Keep reading »

  • One night in Buenos Aires is not enough. I can’t believe we didn’t see Fats

    Posted on March 25th, 2015

    When we left Montevideo last Wednesday the weather was spotty. We were set to travel by ferry to Buenos Aires and ended up being delayed by about an hour and a half. As we waited for the skies to clear, we sat in the spacious chairs and had the chance to fellowship with each other. The conversation ranged from a Shorty Rogers record, to the schedule of our next concert season. Due to the fragility and state of support for the arts today, I’m always cautious when speaking about an upcoming season. I’ll mentally substitute the word ‘if’ rather than ‘when’  just to be safe.  Once on our way, the ride is easy and soon we are pulling into Buenos Aires at 3 pm with a 5pm soundcheck and an 8 o’clock gig. Not a lot of time but just enough.   Keep reading »

  • Upon arriving in Montevideo we are met by Philippe Pinet and Remigio Moreno

    Posted on March 24th, 2015

    Upon arriving in Montevideo we are met by Philippe Pinet and Remigio Moreno, who tells us that he goes by the name ‘Tato’. Just the name ‘Tato’ lets us know we are in good hands.  Both native Uruguayans, Philippe is of French ancestry and Tato is of Andalusian. We head off to have a good meal and discuss family, nations, heritage and the next day’s events and objectives.   Keep reading »

  • “Jazz is a magical language”. The JLCO in Santiago de Chile

    Posted on March 22nd, 2015

    We arrived in Santiago de Chile last Thursday and were greeted at the airport by an elegant and beautiful lady named Veronica. She is with the Teatro Municipal de Santiago and before she could even say ‘hello’ she informed me, “Your friend Pepe is waiting for you right outside.” Now, Jose ‘Pepe’ Josiason is 83 years old and a true aficionado of Jazz, and I’m so happy to see him.  After tussling to get the luggage in the car, our driver Manuel began what would be a long, congested journey into the city, and Pepe and I had the chance to catch up on family, music and the state of all things important and trivial. It was great to have the opportunity to talk but whew, that Santiago rush hour traffic!!   Keep reading »