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Wynton’s Blog – 2009 Archives

  • That Oracle

    Posted on August 18th, 2009

    Happy birthday to my brother Ellis.   Keep reading »

  • Feijoada and Fixed Do and Flute

    Posted on August 9th, 2009

    When I first moved to New York, I studied ear training with the great Cuban maestro Alberto Socarras. I think Socarras was the first one to tell me about the master of choro—Pixinguinha (who is to Brazilians what Scott Joplin is,or should be, to Americans). Both Socarras and Pixinguinha played the hell out of the flute.   Keep reading »

  • Perspectives

    Posted on August 5th, 2009

    There is snow high on the Pyrenees. We are on a 45 min drive to Tarbes due east of that majestic range. Today we have an all day rehearsal of the music of Sidney Bechet, the Creole genius of clarinet and soprano saxophone. A hell raiser and musical hero in France after WW2, Sidney brought the emotional power and glory of New Orleans jazz to the world. We love playing this music (with special guests Olivier Franc and Bob Wilber (who studied with Sidney) because early jazz is optimistic, hardy, and always fun to play. Wycliffe Gordon is also on this concert, so Vic and I will have a great time playing 3 horn collective improvisation with him.   Keep reading »

  • Mr. Freddie Green

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009

    Today I am working on the 'guts' of one movement of my symphony….... thinking about the late great Freddie Green who played guitar with Basie for so many years. Freddie spent 5 decades of nights playing those steady springy quarter notes that undergirded everyone else's rhythmic flights of fancy. He was the key to the infectious Basie swing. Mr. Green said that his role required a lot of humility AND aggression.   Keep reading »

  • Marciac Magic

    Posted on August 2nd, 2009

    ””The JLCO playing at Marciac Jazz Festival 2009Onto the stage of the Chapiteau…... 20 straight years. Everybody cheering, Jean Louis, Marcel, Christianne, Noé, Vincent, Sammy, and pretty girls from Gascony named Celine. The seer of the American vernacular, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Miller, has scraped up enough money to get here from Bolivar, Tennessee and he's 'loaded for bear'. And here comes the band and Elliot is doing his absolute trombone thing on 'Mendizorrotza Swing' and chops are flying everywhere.   Keep reading »

  • BIG 12

    Posted on July 31st, 2009

    It is a week ago from this past Monday morning; we are recording at the Conservatorium de Musica Jesus Guridi in the Aula Magna Isaac Albeniz. Several years ago, I did a big trumpet master class in this same room with about 30 trumpeters of all ages from 6 to 67. The Jedi has been here all last night setting up the space. We are desperate to sound good because we all know this is a golden period for the band, and we want to be documented sounding our best.   Keep reading »

  • Dato Street Fiesta

    Posted on July 27th, 2009

    Last week I received the gold medal of Vitoria. Iñaki told me to make sure I was on time for the ceremony.  I was.  For all the honors I have received, I'm always embarrassed by any official type of public recognition. When I was younger I would clown during the reading of the citation. Now, I just stand uncomfortably there. At one point I wanted to just not accept any awards, but my mentor Albert Murray said, "The ritualistic giving of awards allows a community to come together in celebration of what is significant for them. The ceremony itself, its reenactment, places present day heroes in the context of past heroism and says, 'our values still resonate in the present' which gives confidence for the future." I now accept awards graciously. The last time I had an official ceremony in Vitoria, a female journalist informed me that my pants were unzipped. That was 6 years ago and I still remember it. It's hard to quietly zip up your pants at a public ceremony.   Keep reading »

  • Mendizorrotza Swing!

    Posted on July 26th, 2009

    The Mendizorrotza is packed and steaming tonight. We play with a lot of passion, and everyone wants to rise to the occasion even though my lack of planning has hurt us. But as the hours pass, chops, heat, concentration, lack of preparation and fatigue begin to congregate.  Not good. It's like the game of chess, when you see bishops and knights congregating around your king, Hmmmmm…   Keep reading »

  • Iñaki’s Decision

    Posted on July 26th, 2009

    We left Valencia at 7:30am. We are on the road again—- 5 hours from the east cost to the Basque region in the north, to Vitoria. On the way, we stop at a roadside cafe in Teruel. Local families everywhere with kids running all around. Having fun, then too much fun, then crying, then having fun crying. Teruel is on a eastern mesa in the middle of nowhere. To honor its obscure location, Spaniards have a popular saying that the town later adopted as a slogan, "Teruel Exists". In Valencia, the temperature was 22°C. Two hours later in Teruel——11°C.   Keep reading »

  • Vamping in Valencia

    Posted on July 25th, 2009

    The renowned and brilliant architect Calatrava is from Valencia. He designed a cultural complex and science center which is an iconic masterpiece. The “City of the Arts and Sciences” is the modern architectural jewel of Valencia and that artist's spectacular tribute to his hometown. This complex is on the "Paseo de Artes y Ciencias" which runs along side a magnificent, flowing 10 km park, the "Jardin del Turia".   Keep reading »