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Wynton’s Blog – 2009 Archives

  • Jazz is life music

    Posted on December 3rd, 2009

    In the past thirty years, I have had the good fortune to teach thousands of bands and an incalculable number of students in diverse settings. Though each situation is unique, students share many of the same concerns in pursuit of a more profound relationship with music and with life through music. Every style of music presents distinct challenges which demand the development of different skills. Jazz requires creativity, communication and community.   Keep reading »

  • Tour End Redux: from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York City

    Posted on October 9th, 2009

    And another tour ends. The caravan of cats moves on. And so many presenters move on to next shows, and people move on to next dates, and cats move on to next gigs.  And Jonathan Kelly and I are no longer joking or playing chess or Facebooking or anything but working on notes day and night and day and night….And Frank, Boss Bragg and I prepare to ride into the midnight from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York City…20 hrs after the last gig of the tour.  Whew!   Keep reading »

  • Turlock

    Posted on September 25th, 2009

    My kind of gig. Refurbished high school auditorium with excellent sound. Local people with an interest in culture. Just folks from the community come to have a good time and swing. A lot of cosigning and true interaction with the band.   Keep reading »

  • Eugene into Chico

    Posted on September 20th, 2009

    We open the gig in Eugene playing my arrangement of Wayne Shorter's 'Free for All'. Wayne wrote this for Art Blakey, and I always think of Bu (what we all called Art) and the integrity he always exhibited on the bandstand. So many highlights on the gig - Ali firing on all cylinders; Elliot playing so much trombone with such virtuosity and accuracy, I had to lean forward to see if it was a valve trombone (it wasn't); Vince sounding like a human voice on Horace Silver's 'Peace'; Ted Nash's pristine flute on 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'. I don't know what possessed me to sing Joe Turner's blues, but it didn't stop us from playing Duke's 1947 masterpiece 'The Tattooed Bride', and it didn't keep Vic from crooning that sweet ballad at the end and cresting that last high f concert up over the band for 6 or 7 long measures.   Keep reading »

  • Like Being in a Cathedral

    Posted on September 18th, 2009

    5am: Travelling through Washington going southwest. Farmlands and handmade signs, "fresh blueberries", "sweet corn all you can eat". We want to stop but all is still. Rolling hills in the distance and patches of communities periodically gleam on the horizon under the new, orange sun.   Keep reading »

  • Into Spokane

    Posted on September 17th, 2009

    We leave Banff at 3:45am and come back to the U.S. Rolling hills speckled and blanketed in evergreens as we pass through northwestern Idaho into Washington. The northwest is crisp and alive with hospitable people possessing the hard-edged realism of nature. We still remember a great gig in Orcas Islands years ago that had tenor saxophonist Todd Williams wanting to move there. Frank gives a seminar on hawks, eagles and buzzards. "You see, hawks and falcons don't fly over thermals. That's a buzzard." Highway 90 west. We pass a Steinway piano gallery on the left, then immediately right, a fisherman's fly shop.  A mile or so down the road, we find what seems to be the world largest junkyard…reminds me of when my daddy and I put up a too high basketball hoop in our yard years ago. We got the pipe from a junkyard and the cement and hoop from Sears. It was 10 feet 4 inches, but we were still proud of it.   Keep reading »

  • Banff Swing

    Posted on September 16th, 2009

    The feeling of jazz…trumpets, trombones, saxophones scooping, swooping and squeezing notes to life. Piano sparkling, bass homping and drums smacking skin and metal, painting with brushes. The constant stream of ideas and the strain of perpetual negotiation (under the pressure of time) excites the room.   Keep reading »

  • Back on that Road

    Posted on September 14th, 2009

    On the road again. 40hour drive to Banff, Alberta, Canada…the type of drive that makes you reconsider your fear of flying. We travel this time in a Lincoln Navigator. I look forward to this ride because I know I will get some sleep. These last weeks have been rough.   Keep reading »

  • Happy Birthday Book Nova

    Posted on August 26th, 2009

    Today is my big brother Branford’s birthday. We had some helluva times growing up. He is a musician with such great ears and reflexes that playing with him was something you could take for granted…until you played with other people.   Keep reading »

  • Long Live JK and Phoebe

    Posted on August 20th, 2009

    ””Jonathan KellyJonathan Kelly is from Maine. He plays bass.   Keep reading »