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Wynton’s Blog

  • Lew Soloff… Tragic loss for music, irrecoupable loss for trumpet

    Posted on March 8th, 2015 | 6

    Tragic loss for music, irrecoupable loss for trumpet. First Wilmer, then CT and now Lew. Damn! All I can think about is how is Jon Faddis handling this? They had the deepest personal and collegial relationship full of mutual respect, admiration and love. And each set a higher standard for our instrument, but together!......it was otherworldly. Both Lew and Jon have always treated me with so I much love and support for which I AM ALWAYS GRATEFUL!   Keep reading »

  • As the concert goes on, I feel we relax and play more inside the space.

    Posted on March 7th, 2015

    This morning Vincent led us in an 11am soundcheck/workshop at the majestic Palacio de Bellas Artes oficial. Elliot Mason was delayed getting in due to some visa complications so we recruited a 16-year old substitute, Mr. Hernan Cruz Calderon from Oaxaca, a southern Mexican state with more than 600 family wind bands! Someone should do a study to see if these families are any more or any less dysfunctional than non-band families. These bands have played for generations at family parties, state and city events and parades.   Keep reading »

  • It is always exciting to fly into Mexico City at night

    Posted on March 6th, 2015

    It is always exciting to fly into Mexico City at night. We arrived shortly after midnight. Just the endless tapestry of lighted homes and streets stretching to the horizon further than the eye can see gives you a jolt of super energy. We are being presented by DeQuinta Producciones, which means Eugenio Artistic Director and Maribel General Director.   Keep reading »

  • The community welcomes and embraces the movement for better music education and quality performance

    Posted on March 4th, 2015 | 1

    We arrived in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands shortly before 9 in the morning. Having left the hotel at 6 am for what had to be the shortest flight In the world, 17 minutes, I’m going on about 2 hours sleep. We are here to play for the United Jazz Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by the great drummer, humanist and jazz ambassador from St. Thomas, Dion Parson and master architectural and civil engineer, Vietnam veteran and charter member of the spiritual aristocracy of the world, Roan Creque, with their own funds. JALC and the United Jazz Foundation has a very healthy educational partnership that is yielding wonderful fruit, young people who can play and understand the greater value of this music. They met us at the airport and we got down to it.   Keep reading »

  • We left snowy, blustery New York City for a 4-hour flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Posted on March 3rd, 2015

    We left snowy, blustery New York City for a 4-hour flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We landed not just in another time zone, but on another planet: palm trees, radiant sunshine, thermal breeze and the communal festivity of island life.   Keep reading »

  • One-stop classes are fun but not as productive as return visits

    Posted on February 13th, 2015 | 2

    Last Friday after driving back from Strathmore in the wee hours of the morning, I got up at 7, ironed and went to Isaac Newton Middle School for Math and Science in Harlem. It was a great day, because I enjoyed speaking to a class of 7th graders there last October and returning means that Principal Lisa Nelson approved of my overall vibration and way of teaching. I love the school and the communal feeling that she, the faculty, and staff strive to establish and maintain. It’s not easy.   Keep reading »

  • Music is always so much deeper than notes

    Posted on February 6th, 2015

    It’s now 5 am and I’ve just finished ironing my suit for tomorrow’s 9:15 class after having driven back to New York with Jay Sgroi from the Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland. It is a such a beautiful facility, warm and perfectly designed to encourage the expression of communal feeling. I’m writing now to preserve the afterglow of this experience.   Keep reading »

  • I watched that game in the home of Wilmer Wise

    Posted on February 2nd, 2015 | 8

    In 1972, when the Oakland Raiders lost the AFC Championship to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a fluke last second play, which became known as the “Immaculate Reception”, I thought my life would end. The fog of depression and disappointment generated an irrational animosity towards Pittsburgh that I held on to until the 1980’s when I met Chuck Noll, the coach of that Steelers team, at a gig and discovered that he loved jazz.   Keep reading »

  • The honor and privilege of working with beautiful young musicians at the Shenandoah Conservatory

    Posted on January 24th, 2015 | 1

    The last 4 days I have had the honor and privilege of working with beautiful young musicians at the Shenandoah Conservatory. In collaboration with the fabulous Washington Performing Arts Society, we rehearsed my Blues Symphony with the Conservatory Orchestra conducted by Jan Wagner.  I also held master classes with the National Jazz Workshop All Star Band directed by Alan Baylock and the Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Ensemble directed by Craig Fraedrich.   Keep reading »

  • 1982 was my first year as a bandleader

    Posted on December 30th, 2014

    1982 was my first year as a bandleader.  Thanks to Michael and Randy Brecker, our quintet had a regular gig at their Manhattan club, Seventh Avenue South.  It was ironic because only five or six years earlier my brother Branford and I had been at home in New Orleans learning their horn parts on Parliament Records and playing Brecker Brothers songs like “Some Skunk Funk” in our high school jazz ensemble.  They took a risk on us and I’m forever grateful.  What they provided for us was what every developing band needs:  a reliable home base to work out technical aspects of music under the pressure of an audience, and a welcoming place to learn how to move a room of people with diverse and specific emotion.   Keep reading »