Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wynton, come blow your horn

Some years ago in The Leopard's past, I worked for a certain well known non profit jazz organization in New York helmed by world famous jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The job eventually became life forming and one the greatest experiences of  my life, but I will never forget that fateful first week. In my capacity as Art Director for the organization, I was assigned to design a huge banner to herald the venue's upcoming season. Mr. Marsalis had mentioned to me he had just had a brand new Monette trumpet made, and I got the  idea to use a photograph of the horn as the main art. This particular instrument was completely designed and created with Mr. Marsalis in mind and was worth at least $10,000. Over a year had been spent on custom design details and development.

I asked Wynton to borrow this gorgeous horn to take it to be photographed. He loved the idea (Wynton at the time didn't much like to be photographed himself, which would surely have been the next option) and cheerfully handed it over. I grabbed a subway downtown to a location that I wasn't entirely familiar with. Preoccupied with the task at hand, I suddenly realized I had arrived at my stop. Without thinking,  I jumped off the train with a shot. But once the train doors started to close, I had a sickly feeling I had forgotten something. The case holding Wynton's golden horn was still on the seat!  I grabbed for the doors and tried to pry them open with all my strength. A good Samaritan - a young woman who had been sitting next to me - picked up the case and tried to hand it to me through the closing doors. I felt utter horror as the train began to move forward. I yelled ,"Stop! Stop!" at the top of my lungs as the train started to speed up, leaving the station. 

Finally, the door opened again about two-thirds wide and with the woman's help, I was able to pull it towards me without a scratch on the case.

As the train disappeared back into the tunnel, I'll never forget the satisfied look on the woman's face. I hope I get to meet her again some day and buy her a beer.

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