Wynton’s Blog

The Big Band Holiday tour in Milwaukee. Dan Nimmer’s hometown

Our first concert on the Big Band Holiday tour was at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Milwaukee is Dan Nimmer’s hometown. His parents were in attendance and he showed off for them by tearing through ‘Santa Claus’ with Carlos and Ali. The first gig of a tour is always tricky because we’re trying to work out who is going to solo on what songs, how to order each song so the concert flows smoothly, how to balance talking with playing and generally seeing how the gig plays out. You don’t know if the show is effective until it is over. Sometimes gigs earlier in the week consist of one 90-minute set instead of two halves. Tonight was a 90. They are always more difficult to program because you have to conceive of the impact of different tunes across a longer time. Though I was apprehensive, the gig was well received and Cecile was an absolute star.

After the concert we saw some old friends that love to recount the times we’ve played here. They always have some remembrance that I struggle to recall (sometimes with more success than others). Some of the cats hung with the touring company of The Lion King choreographed by our close friend and genius, Garth Fagan while Dan hung with his parents and others of us attended a reception held by the Black Arts Think Tank of Milwaukee. There isn’t always so much activity after shows early in the week.

The Think Tank services The Ko-Thi Dance Company, African American Children’s Theatre and the Hansberry-Sands Theatre Company with board leadership and administrative support. They came together to cultivate more community wide support for their dedicated organizations and Afro-American art in general. During the reception I spoke about the need for a revolution in cultural consciousness in this country. Culture through the Arts is never on the agenda in times of reform. The change that we are seeking has to, in some way, come out of our own identity. We Americans tend to look at ourselves demographically and don’t even consider the cultural solutions to our polarity.


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