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From the Archives: 1990 Concert for Amnesty International in Chile

I remember playing a concert with Art Blakey in Chicago for a crowd that wanted to hear rock and roll. When we played they started throwing things on the stage.
I remember telling cats before we walked out on the stage in Chile, if they start throwing things on the stage be cool walking off. We started with a song everyone knew “Gracias a La Vida” I had arranged it the night before.
Then we went straight to the universal language, the blues. Cone played a phrase in his solo that sounded like a song the native crowd sang at soccer matches.

Then, and what I’m sure is the only time this ever happened in the history of music, all of the people began to sing that song which happened to fit the blues in the right place in the form. Normally a crowd has a two or three note chant but as you can hear, this song was involved and it took place over a chorus of blues. We couldn’t believe it, and the rest of the set continued in that vein. People loving the music. We had never experienced anything like that before or after.


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  1. Wow; this brings back so many memories; I’m Chilean, and I was there that night; it was incredible. At the beginning of the chants by the crowd, I was very mad because I wanted to listen to Wynton and his group; I’m a trumpet player ; but then my non musician friend made a comment about the power of music, and how incredible was the fact that the group established a musical connection with a crowd that was waiting for Sting and Peter Gabriel. I just laid back an enjoyed the set. Thank you Wynton; you had been an inspiration through my career as a performer an educator.

    Antonio on Jan 21st, 2011 at 9:17pm

  2. God bless the blues and god bless you Wynton.

    barbara Powrie on Jan 20th, 2011 at 11:55pm

  3. Paisano, knowing the hearts of the audience!

    Beverly J. Douglas on Jan 20th, 2011 at 11:25pm

  4. Sheer brilliance. This is the voice of God, and Wynton is the messenger.

    Chris on Jan 20th, 2011 at 7:06pm

  5. Bellisimo!

    Jonathan Rivera on Jan 20th, 2011 at 6:08pm