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Wynton’s Blog

  • In this tour, we have played 19 concerts of various sizes and shapes

    Posted on March 25th, 2014 | 1

    On this tour, we have played 19 concerts of various sizes and shapes; 104 different compositions by over 33 different composers. Finally, we get to play the new SFJazz Center, five concerts (Ellington, Basie, Mingus, Monk, Traditional New Orleans Music and Recent Arrangements and Compositions by our members) in four days.   Keep reading »

  • You have to WANT to be

    Posted on March 18th, 2014

    For about one and a half hours after the gig in San Diego on Saturday night, I stood on the sidewalk outside the backstage area with about sixty high school age students, their band directors and chaperones, signing autographs, taking pictures and fielding questions about everything from, “Should I whip my younger brother’s behind for x, y and z?” to “How many hours did you practice when you were my age?”   Keep reading »

  • We travelled a few hours from Grass Valley to Santa Rosa

    Posted on March 12th, 2014 | 1

    On Sunday, we travelled a few hours from Grass Valley to Santa Rosa. This was the 5th straight gig, not necessarily difficult on paper, but when connected to 4 or 5 hour drives that become 7 due to the unforeseen, and you drive through lunch, and your room is not ready until whenever someone says, and the soundcheck is at 5, and you have 5 tunes to review, and…whew! The execution can be much rougher than the dream.   Keep reading »

  • On Nelson Mandela’s legacy

    Posted on December 9th, 2013 | 2

    We are all trapped in the unresolved battles of our ancestors, limited by our inability to conceive beyond the boundaries of our culture and education. From primal,‘survival of the fittest’ instincts to the refined segregations developed by the most sophisticated amongst us, we have a deep tradition of degrading ‘other’ human beings in the frenzy to control resources, to amass wealth and to confer status through arbitrary social constructs.The repetition of these constructs across generations produces conventions and ‘isms’  that we confuse with reality. Of the many ‘isms’ that prevent us from realizing our true global identity, racism is one of the most irrational and deeply rooted.   Keep reading »

  • And so this caravan of troubadours journey to a final jubilee in Boston’s historic Symphony Hall

    Posted on October 28th, 2013

    And so this caravan of troubadours journey to a final jubilee in Boston’s historic Symphony Hall. We left New York at 9:15am on Sunday having scorched the stage of Rose Theater Saturday night with the intention of calling out and upon the Holy Spirit.  And that Spirit was evoked with an openhearted urgency by the Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III who summoned his mastery of meaning and impeccable sense of timing to illuminate the purpose of our Mass.   Keep reading »

  • Tuesday night we played Woolsey Hall on the campus of Yale University.

    Posted on October 24th, 2013

    Tuesday night we played Woolsey Hall on the campus of Yale University. Colleges, with the concentration of intellectual pursuit and the heightened intensity of male/female interchanges, have always been fantastic sites for Jazz concerts. However, we did not play for an audience of college age students. It was an older, more patient group. They sat in the Hall with the weightiness of deep listeners. This Mass is two hours in total and, as with any long music, after a combined hour and twenty minutes, people get restless—not last night. Their attitude affected our pacing. Where we would normally feel the need to rush, they gave us the sense that it was ok to take our time.   Keep reading »

  • 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 »