Home» Wynton's Blog

Wynton’s Blog

  • Into Spokane

    Posted on September 17th, 2009

    We leave Banff at 3:45am and come back to the U.S. Rolling hills speckled and blanketed in evergreens as we pass through northwestern Idaho into Washington. The northwest is crisp and alive with hospitable people possessing the hard-edged realism of nature. We still remember a great gig in Orcas Islands years ago that had tenor saxophonist Todd Williams wanting to move there. Frank gives a seminar on hawks, eagles and buzzards. "You see, hawks and falcons don't fly over thermals. That's a buzzard." Highway 90 west. We pass a Steinway piano gallery on the left, then immediately right, a fisherman's fly shop.  A mile or so down the road, we find what seems to be the world largest junkyard…reminds me of when my daddy and I put up a too high basketball hoop in our yard years ago. We got the pipe from a junkyard and the cement and hoop from Sears. It was 10 feet 4 inches, but we were still proud of it.   Keep reading »

  • Banff Swing

    Posted on September 16th, 2009

    The feeling of jazz…trumpets, trombones, saxophones scooping, swooping and squeezing notes to life. Piano sparkling, bass homping and drums smacking skin and metal, painting with brushes. The constant stream of ideas and the strain of perpetual negotiation (under the pressure of time) excites the room.   Keep reading »

  • Back on that Road

    Posted on September 14th, 2009

    On the road again. 40hour drive to Banff, Alberta, Canada…the type of drive that makes you reconsider your fear of flying. We travel this time in a Lincoln Navigator. I look forward to this ride because I know I will get some sleep. These last weeks have been rough.   Keep reading »

  • Happy Birthday Book Nova

    Posted on August 26th, 2009

    Today is my big brother Branford’s birthday. We had some helluva times growing up. He is a musician with such great ears and reflexes that playing with him was something you could take for granted…until you played with other people.   Keep reading »

  • Long Live JK and Phoebe

    Posted on August 20th, 2009

    ””Jonathan KellyJonathan Kelly is from Maine. He plays bass.   Keep reading »

  • 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 »