Wynton’s Blog

Passed in the blink of an eye, man

Whenever we played at UC Berkeley, California, we would always stay at the Claremont Hotel. It is a magnificent 300 room hotel and spa set up on a hill with landscaped gardens and tennis courts. We didn’t want to know about any tennis however; it was always the basketball courts at the University or somewhere in Oakland.

The Claremont is turn of the century elegant, so you always felt uncomfortable walking through the lobby all funky after playing ball for a few hours. But since it was Berkeley, you could just keep it moving and no one even looked your way.

One afternoon, it had to be in 1992, we were rushing through the lobby late for sound check after playing (and arguing over every foul for too long) and we ran right into some type of very well dressed and festive wedding party. Trying to unobtrusively snake through the crowd, I ended up in front of Dave Brubeck. With his signature smile he says, “It’s Iola and my 50th anniversary, come in and meet everyone.”

“Not looking like this.”

“You look like yourself. How is your father?” (Musicians who play the same instrument always ask about each other).

“I’ll tell him you asked.” (My father always enjoyed hearing from the great musicians he loved, especially pianists).

The party was glowing with a deep rich feeling, the hum of an important familial event, and all kinds of musicians were swinging. Dave took me around to different friends and family and introduced me with his style of natural gracefulness and warmth. 40 minutes later, much richer in experience and really late for sound check, I thought, 50 years! When I congratulated Dave and Iola on that milestone she just smiled, but he said, “Passed in the blink of an eye, man. The blink of an eye.”

- Wynton

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