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Wynton’s Blog

  • All great music is a gift and thus an instrument of God

    Posted on October 22nd, 2013

    We participated in the inaugural season of Parmer Hall at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania last night. This is a College with the spirit of music all around it. Here’s a photo of the blackboard in the Orchestra’s dressing room; a beautiful, warm hall with acoustics that allowed us to take down the band’s microphones for the second half. A great hall is very difficult to build. This one will serve the College well. Congratulations.   Keep reading »

  • Yesterday was a travel day disguised as a day off

    Posted on October 21st, 2013

    Yesterday was a travel day disguised as a day off. 18 hours from point A to B which ended up being more like 20. One of the orchestra buses broke down and they opted to wait for the mechanic to come fix the problem. There went another 4 hours. Luckily,  that went smoothly and only cost time. Many times a mechanical problem means a day or more of figuring out how to get to the next place.   Keep reading »

  • We played to a packed house in full Saturday night finery

    Posted on October 20th, 2013

    Last night we played in the impressive Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It is an architectural marvel, a masterful piece of community development, and it is a new and defining landmark in the home of supersonic genius alto saxophonist, Charlie Parker.   Keep reading »

  • This concert was especially meaningful to us because Thelma and David Steward were in attendance

    Posted on October 19th, 2013

    Last night we were presented by Jazz St. Louis at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. This is the second year in a row I’ve been in St. Louis on my birthday. It is a city that I love for many reasons, not the least of which is the many great musicians of all generations that it has birthed. From Clark Terry and Miles Davis to Todd Williams and Peter Martin and Jeremy Davenport, to Russell Gunn, Montez Coleman, Tony Suggs, Raymond Angry and the many alumni of East St. Louis’ Lincoln High Program to young Josh Williams, St. Louis has an eloquent roll call.   Keep reading »

  • There is no greater sound on earth, than Joe Temperley on a horn

    Posted on October 18th, 2013

    Yesterday was a day off.  After an overnight drive, Ted, Sherman and I were up at 7:30am or so, sitting in the front cabin of the bus with coffee roasting and TV news wallpapering the sonic landscape as the burnished colors of early autumn provided a nostalgic freshness to the morning. Naturally, we started talking about Joe Temperley.  25 years of playing with Joe…...we called him and gave some updates on the tour and on inside issues.   Keep reading »

  • This has the feeling of the concerts we all played in the community growing up

    Posted on October 17th, 2013

    Last night we played The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas. Before we went on stage, I asked Carlos what we were looking like. He said, “This has the feeling of the concerts we all played in the community growing up. Let’s do our thing.” Our presenter, Curtis King, is a force to be reckoned with. He has created a movement towards excellence that I wish could be copied around the country. After sound check, he welcomed us with uncommon warmth and exuberance. Today, we hear from Mr. King:   Keep reading »

  • There is nothing like driving through Texas with the pit boss, Frank Stewart.

    Posted on October 16th, 2013

    We played the Long Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Texas in Austin last night. At this point in the tour, all giddiness about being on the road is long gone. You are now well into the routine of travel-play, travel-play, and with an uncommonly large group, we all have to be much more aware of each other’s sensitivities.   Keep reading »

  • Every night is Carnegie Hall

    Posted on October 15th, 2013

    Last night’s performance at The Fountain of Praise in Houston, Texas was an act of soul. Pastor Remus Wright and his wife, Co-Pastor Mia K. Wright, stayed with us and created the proper atmosphere for the stomping, shouting and co-signing that is the hallmark of the Afro-American church experience, and also for appreciation of the introspective moments, the nuanced shadings in ensemble playing and in Damien’s shaping of the choral dynamics. The choir surrounded us. We were enveloped in their warmth and intention, and the congregation lifted us and carried us all in a chariot of feeling.   Keep reading »

  • New Orleans, the home of soul

    Posted on October 14th, 2013

    Last night we played New Orleans, the home of soul. We were the last performance of a two and a half week opening of the refurbished Saenger Theatre that featured 8 different shows – a lot of work! The attendance was underwhelming, but the reception was enthusiastic. Poppy Tooker brought the trumpet section some of her world famous gumbo and we quietly devoured it. I can’t name all of the great musicians and artists that came last night, and the choir sang their hearts out. I was very proud to be up there with them. They showed a lot of integrity and resilience. As always, the orchestra, with many members having been raised by parents who played real jazz, played the music with deep dedication. Our trombone section played as if they had something to prove last night. Whatever it was, they proved it.   Keep reading »

  • Our road crew is ever vigilant. When we are off, many times they are working.

    Posted on October 13th, 2013

    Our road crew is ever vigilant. When we are off, many times they are working. Today we will hear from our Assistant Director of Concerts and Touring, Eric Wright. Eric’s family joined us for the performance in Norfolk on the 5th (seems like a year ago) and brought the love and feeling of engagement that family brings when they gather in support. Cats in the band love him. He also has a great game in all sports, baseball, football and basketball. Eric:   Keep reading »