Our Wynton Story
Last night, my ten year old son and I were fortunate enough to have front row seats for the Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra show. We drove over four hours from Galveston to see him and spent the night at the Westin. The cost involved with this road trip was well worth it. The band was phenomenal and the acoustics at the Meyerson were great. After the concert we thought our wonderful evening was over, and we were content to get a good night’s sleep and head back to Galveston. Fortunately for my son who is learning trumpet, our show was just beginning. As we were walking back to our room, we saw Dan Nimmer (piano) walking our direction. I told him how talented he was and he stood for a picture with my son. When he walked into our hotel I told my son, ” I bet the whole band is staying here”. So we sat in the lobby and watched them trinkle in. My son shouted their names as they walked in, (he knows them all) and they all came over to talk to us, including Walter (sax) and Victor (everything that accepts air). They were all very cordial and down to earth people. When Carlos (bass) found out that my son was studying trumpet he said, “stick around, he will be here in a minute”. My son did not have to ask who “he” was. It was already two hours past his bedtime but he wasn’t going anywhere. After about 20 minutes Wynton came in and walked straight over to us as my son’s knees were knocking together. He said that he saw us in the front row and thanked us for coming. When I told him that my son played the trumpet he immediately went into teaching mode. He told my son how to practice and to learn as much as he can by ear. I told Wynton that my son already learned “happy birthday” from one of his Wynton videos. At that point Wynton took out his trumpet and showed my son exactly how he wanted him to play it. Here’s a guy that has just played for two hours, and he’s showing a strange kid how to play happy birthday in the middle of the hotel lobby. All the while the rest of his band is at the bar eating chicken wings. What a phenomenal human being. I don’t think my son ever fell asleep. If only everyone were this dedicated to their profession. Wynton is not only one of finest musicians ever, (yeah I said that) he is the consummate educator, and he is absolutely true to the artform. The last thing he told my son was, “next time I see you, you better have that horn with you!” This morning my son took his trumpet to the grocery store. You never know.
Nice story. That is Wynton. He is always very nice to his fans, especially the children. My niece wants to be a jazz singer and well as play piano and ballet dance. She wants to have her own dance company and wants Wynton to compose a ballet score for her. When she first met Wynton, she showed him a poster she did of his work for Black History month. He was smitten as was she. He sent her jazz cds and a copy of his book Jazz ABZ, with a lovely inscription. Since then, I’ve made sure she attends his concerts when he comes to our city and she always gets to see him afterwards. I’m compiling a memory book with all the pictures she has taken with him and other members of the JLCO. They are one class act, collectively as well as individually.
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