Kristina Mascher-Turner: As I write these questions, I've got your "Heart's Journey" album playing and keep getting distracted by your lush, emotionally generous playing! Can you tell us how this album came to be? What inspired you to give birth to it?

peelJerry Peel: I believed early in my career that the horn had the musical equivalency of the old Sarah Lee commercial “Nobody doesn’t love Sarah Lee.” I believed that “nobody wouldn’t love the horn” - they just needed to be introduced! It became a personal quest for me to make that introduction. I also believed that the horn had the characteristics to be a much more commercially viable solo instrument. While I was horn professor at the University of Miami in the 70’s (a great place to think non-traditionally!), I began that quest by asking a few composer/arranger/horn playing students and composer colleagues if they would be willing to write some “new” music for solo horn. Out of those collaborations came my first record, “A Horn of a Different Color.” When I moved to New York in the early 80’s I continued to plead with and cajole colleagues whose work I admired to write for me. At that point, I wanted solo horn, string quartet, and rhythm section to be the base ensemble and wanted music that could be played live. Many wonderful friends and colleagues responded in such a positive way that soon I had a library of arrangements of every style imaginable. And, yes, I did perform an evening of some of that music with some notables in the band, an evening I’m not likely to ever forget! Years later, due to fortuitous circumstances and generous friends, I was able to finance a second solo recording project. I realized then that I just wanted to record music that allowed me to do what I enjoyed the most, singing on the horn! And, “Heart’s Journey” was born. I had plans for two more recording projects. But life intervenes while one makes plans, and a bout with focal dystonia in the early 2000’s forced me to put the horn in the box, one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made. But, one that those with a true passion for the horn can easily understand.

KMT: As a young hornist, how did the strong Texas high school band tradition shape you as a player and teacher?

JP: I’ve often said how fortunate I am to have been born and raised in Kirbyville, Texas, a small town known for its fire department, churches on every corner - and its high school band! The band director, Karl Wadenpfuhl, and his wife Lottie, became my musical parents through all my school years. Luckily for me, Karl was an ex horn player - and even years after not playing, still had a really dark singing sound which he demonstrated sparingly. He was self-conscious about his limited ability at that point, but I loved listening to him. That was the sound in my young ears, only to be replaced with the Hollywood horn sound. In Kirbyville, there was very little exposure to live music, so I was captive to recordings and films to get my early impressions of that sound that both guided and frustrated my attempts to duplicate. Only, years later, did I learn that that massive horn sound on the films I loved was probably the result of 8 to 16 players! I say I was frustrated because I was never able to get that same quality of sound from my horn that was in my ears.

In Kirbyville, population at that time of around 1500, there wasn’t much to occupy one’s time, so band became the focal point of my life. Lottie was also pianist at the First Baptist Church where I became organist for my four years of high school. I never became a great player on the organ, just enough not to embarrass myself too much!! Lottie was a taskmaster (mistress?) and from across the church taught me some serious lessons in accompanying and ensemble playing. Through the tutelage, mentorship, and ultimately, great friendship of those two incredibly important people in my life, music became a lifeblood. Dr. Wadenpfuhl’s training and guidance was fundamental in its respect for discipline and the integrity of the privilege of making music. And yet, his lessons were filled with the most important aspects of living life, a value system, how the music we made was integral to who we were as human beings. Several years ago, I was asked to deliver a eulogy at Karl’s funeral. What an honor, but what a responsibility! I felt that I was speaking for literally hundreds, if not thousands, of lives that he touched. Everyone that I talked with in preparation for that eulogy impressed upon me the importance of the non-musical influence he had on their lives. After that depth of influence, there was never a question as to my life’s mission. I had to teach.

KMT: From an early age, you already combined teaching and playing. What's the story of your journey from being a junior high band director to being noticed and picked up by Chuck Mangione?

JP: After high school, I had several opportunities for study and chose Sam Houston State Teachers College (later becoming Sam Houston State University). That choice was likely one of the most important decisions of my life. Even though Sam Houston was basically a teachers college, the performance faculty members were all in the Houston Symphony. I studied with Tom Newell, who after my freshman year won the third horn job in Boston where he remained throughout his career. James Tankersley replaced him as principal horn and as my teacher. In the spring of my second year, the Houston Symphony took their first American tour of the Eastern seaboard. The assistant first horn was ill, so Tankersley asked if I would be willing to go as his assistant horn. I should note here that my training in the Kirbyville HS Band never included any orchestral playing! So, incredibly, my very first orchestral experience came with my first rehearsal of the Houston Symphony with Sir John Barbirolli conducting. First piece up was Der Rosenkavalier. Being a brash, young, still careless, Texas horn player, I splattered the D# in the second bar so badly that if you go to Jones Hall in Houston, you can probably still hear it reverberating around the back of the hall! At that point, Barbirolli stopped the orchestra, and I learned the true definition of the word “scowl”. I remember Tanksersley, out of the side of his mouth saying, “Cool it! You’re going to get us all fired!” I was never the same.

The Sam Houston Music Department Chair at that time was William F. Lee. His wife and the mother of the girl I was dating at the time were best friends. Around the time that I was getting over the trauma of the Rosenkavalier moment, Bill was accepting the position of Dean at the University of Miami School of Music. He asked me if I’d like to transfer to Miami with a full scholarship. I accepted, moved to Miami, and while playing third horn in the Miami Symphony Orchestra, finished my teaching degree. The Miami Symphony was 90% professional with a few student musicians filling the remaining positions.

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The big time is not always comfortable! In the Zamboni Room rehearsing for the
1980 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony with Chuck Mangione.

Miami at the time was the Mecca for recording the leading rock and roll and pop acts of the time. It was a goldmine of opportunity to get experience in every non-classical side of the business, and I took full advantage. I recorded and performed with every big name in the music business during those years. The University of Miami Symphony also finally broke away from the university during this time and became a civic supported orchestra. I had graduated with my teaching degree and was offered the director of band and orchestra at the junior high school where I student taught. There were several teacher/members of the orchestra at the time and it worked out really well for them all. I was having the time of my life, teaching at a junior high school with a huge instrumental music program and playing in the orchestra as co-principal horn. However, life intervenes, and the orchestra made plans to expand its season with contracted positions. This posed a real dilemma for me. What to do? Continue in my teaching position, which I dearly loved, or leave it and play with the orchestra and free-lance in the Miami commercial scene full time. I chose to leave my teaching position. I still think, looking back, that it was the correct decision because it ultimately gave me opportunities that I would never have experienced if I had stayed in my teaching position. But, I hasten to add that the years in that position and my subsequent teaching positions remain as some of the most rewarding, meaningful, fulfilling life moments that I have ever had. My most thrilling moments as a player provided fleeting notes, bringing momentary enjoyment for me as the player and hopefully for the listener as well. But the impact and influence a great teacher has on human lives lasts forever.

 

My experience in the orchestra and in the free-lance realm made me very aware of the demands and stress that ‘not knowing what you will be playing next” creates in your day-to-day practice and preparation. I developed personal strategies and little sayings that have helped provide guidance and direction throughout my career. “Opportunity will always present itself, but only the aware will identify it and seize it.” “You never know who’s listening!” “Always be prepared!” That sounds like a Boy Scout motto, but is actually a credo to follow day by day because you never know what musical situation you will be faced with next. I got a call from a contractor I had never met. He was in the back of the second violin section on a free-lance orchestra concert and heard me play. (You never know who’s listening!) He booked me for a couple rehearsals and a concert with a “trumpet player and his quintet. The quintet plays and then the orchestra plays” was his description of Chuck Mangione, who I had also never heard of. From curiosity and a nod to opportunity and preparation, I visited a record store (yes, back in the old days!) and found Chuck’s latest record, a studio release with Vince DeRosa and other LA horns. I loved the record and especially the tune with a horn solo at the beginning. So, I learned the solo and was totally prepared to play it at the first rehearsal. Of course, it was the first piece we rehearsed, and I played it pretty well. I remember Chuck’s response as he yelled “Yeah, horn”! Even though he and I had never met, after that concert, he invited me to Rochester to play a “Friends and Love” type concert and thereafter, to LA for the recording of “Children of Sanchez”, which, because of the Lullaby solo, literally changed my life! This story has many levels, but ultimately led to my association with Chuck through recordings, tours and concerts for the next twenty years.

KMT: When you got to New York, not only were you involved in jazz recordings, jingles, and the pop scene, but you were also the original horn player for the Broadway production of Les Miserables. What was it like playing this iconic chart? How did you cope with keeping your creative spirit alive while playing the same show thousands of times?

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The brass section at the Les Miserables recording session

JP: “…keeping your creative spirit alive while playing the same show thousands of times?”… Darned near impossible for me! When I moved to New York in the early 80’s, I was acquainted with brass players from my Mangione connections and some other isolated recording dates in New York. But, I was still somewhat of an anomaly since I came to town with a reputation as an orchestral first horn as well as a player with lots of recording experience. I was called to sub with the NY Philharmonic until my studio work conflicted with their rehearsals and they stopped calling. In order to get work and network, I subbed often on Broadway shows. Months before I decided to move from Miami to NY, I played a recording in NY for Jeff Tyzik, who was writing and producing his own records at the time. My solo session followed a brass section date and several of the guys hung around the control booth for my session. Afterward, I was chatting with trumpet player extraordinaire, Alan Rubin (who became the source of much of my NY work) who told me, “When you move to NY, call me before anyone else.” I did as he asked and was called for my first recording session an hour later. I never looked back until the synthesizer revolution hit recorded music and changed all our lives. When jingle houses and record producers began using synthesized sound to replace live players, the business, as we knew it, started to change. Many guys who had been the busiest players in the business for many years began to see their paychecks get smaller and smaller. Some of these same players who had not taken Broadway work for years, now realized it represented one of the remaining base jobs for free-lance players. I was fortunate that I had done a lot of subbing and had contacts with Broadway contractors. I soon was asked to play a lesser-known Andrew Lloyd Webber show, “Song and Dance” starring Bernadette Peters. It played a little over a year, and as it closed, many players on that show were asked to do “Les Mis,” coming in that spring. Brooks Tillotson and I were the original Broadway horn players. Brooks was a respected, well-liked player in NY for many years. We truly enjoyed playing the score, which ran, at that time, just over three hours, requiring an overtime payment for each show. It wasn’t long before the length of performance was pared down to 2 hours, 57 minutes. Technical problems with the turntable, however, an integral part of time passage in the show, often malfunctioned which required the show to come to a halt until it was repaired. But, for the musicians, it simply meant overtime! In regards to keeping the creative spirit alive - as is often the case with repetition - even while playing a really memorable score with first-rate musicians and an all-star cast on stage, it still became “a job”. Keeping my edge 8 shows a week, week in and week out, for years was a very difficult task. I love going into a recording session without any knowledge of the difficulty of what I am about to play. That terrifies some players, but it helps me keep my ”edge” keen and ready. I have the utmost respect and admiration for those musicians that get themselves up to play the same show each night and give it their total concentration and energy. The Broadway contracts allow one to take off up to 50% of a week. Players can take other work, develop their own projects, or just take advantage of special family occasions that would otherwise be missed. This opportunity prevents a lot of potential burnout and in some cases, actually preserves careers.

KMT: What are some of the highlights of your studio career?

As I drove across the George Washington Bridge on the way to my first official recording session after moving from Miami, I looked south to the skyline of NY City and really couldn’t believe that I was actually doing it! The session that morning was a Big Red Gum jingle date, Kenny Asher arranger. Yes, over 30 years ago and I still remember the first jingle session. My first impression was that the guys in the room were names that I had been reading on the backs of record jackets (remember those?) for many years. I was in total awe! There were four horns on the date, and I hurried to sit on the 4th chair! I quickly realized that even with my previous studio experience I had a learning curve to negotiate. A jingle session lasts only an hour, and a total of three spots can be recorded in that hour. So, time is money and efficiency is paramount. Because time is of the essence, the nomenclature of a jingle session is different and everything, including jingle language, is done quickly. Instructions, changes, re-writes, etc. were given in language with which I was not completely familiar - and there were no questions or repeated instructions, all in such a rapid, concise manner that I struggled to keep my head from spinning. It took a few sessions, but I finally got up to speed!

One of the most memorable moments over the years was an Amstel Light session. It was just brass, with a jingle house that characteristically used the very best players in town. As we began the session, the fire alarm went off and the building was evacuated. The mood was very light as we came back into the studio. What happened next was one of the most remarkable musical experiences I have ever had, and on a jingle date, yet! The first play-through was so impeccable, it was the only run-through, with every note, every nuance, and the most perfect intonation I’ve ever experienced. The spot ended with a chord straight out of an intonation textbook. Afterwards, there was complete silence. For those guys, that was very unusual. Everyone just looked at each other, stunned at what had just happened. I had experienced what I considered intonation perfection.

I can recall so many memorable recording sessions and performances. Live from Lincoln Center playing second horn on Gotterdamerung with the NY Phiharmonic; the opening of the Mostly Mozart season with three brass quintets: Canadian Brass (original members), NY Philharmonic Principal Brass with me as the horn player in the third quintet put together by Neil Balm; recording Frank Sinatra’s last studio album in one of the final sessions in NY’s venerable A&R Studios with a live studio audience of A-listers from TV, films and music; recording Barbra Streisand/Barry Gibb’s “Guilty” album alone in the BeeGees’ Miami studio with Barry Gibb and engineer, Albhy Galutin; playing first horn on “The Untouchables” with Ennio Marricone conducting, communicating through a beautiful interpreter from the Italian Embassy; recording and/or performing anything written by Vince Mendoza!; and, of course, recording the “Lullaby” for Chuck Mangione’s “Children of Sanchez” score and then taking it on the road and being expected to play a double F every night - it didn’t happen!! The story of that recording session has been discussed on Facebook threads a couple times over the last few years. Too long to include here, but still an interesting story of how one little clam can totally transform your life. (In this case, for the better!)

This list could easily go on almost forever.

KMT: When you began teaching in the public schools in New Jersey, what was it like keeping up your playing obligations? Would you say the two activities are compatible or at odds with each other?

peel recording
At the "LA is My Lady" recording session

JP: The proliferation of electronic instruments throughout the recording industry caused many musicians to look elsewhere for income sources. At the same time, I judged a high school jazz band contest in New Jersey. (Remember: always be aware of opportunities!) Out of that came an invitation to present a workshop to the instrumental music staff of the Roxbury Schools in Succasunna, NJ on teaching the horn. It so happened that a teaching position on their staff came open shortly after my visit and I was asked if I was interested in taking it. After considerable discussion with my wife, I decided to accept the position. In retrospect, it was fortuitous in many ways. When I announced to my NY studio colleagues that I was taking a teaching position, many of my friends were in total disbelief. No one had ever done that type of thing, giving up a career as one of the first call players in arguably the largest music market in America to teach school? Most could just not fathom the concept. Even contractors that I had worked for for years told me that they felt betrayed (“after all I’ve done for you”, was the comment from one of them!), and would never hire me again. I was shocked at the extreme reactions. It was more of a big deal to them than to me! My intent was to provide a solid professional base of income so that I could continue to play as much as possible. I soon found that to be more difficult than I had imagined. One of the important tenets of freelance work is that you be available when called. If you say no too many times, you will find that your phone stops ringing. Availability is paramount. But what I found most interesting was, it did not take long at all before those same individuals who were critical of my decision, were asking me how I got that teaching position and what do they have to do to get one as well.

After a few months, the only jobs being offered to me were Broadway subs. I took advantage of those opportunities as often as I could just to keep in shape and to keep my presence somewhat on the scene. Even though that plan was not as musically satisfying as I would have liked, it did provide me with yet another opportunity. I really think of myself as an educator that loves to play the horn, rather than just a player or just a teacher. I have been so fortunate to be able to satisfy both of those passions without totally giving up one or the other. Not everyone is that fortunate. At the risk of sounding pompous, which I am definitely not, one can only hope to have this kind of parallel career if one is a professionally qualified player while training to be a truly effective educator. If either of these qualities is weak, it will detract from and diminish the other. Many universities encourage double majoring in performance and education. “If you can’t make it as a player, you can always get a teaching job.” I understand the rationale but completely disagree with the possibility of teaching becoming a “fallback” degree. An insult to fine educators! And, many institutions are, in my opinion, unfortunately promoting that attitude.

An easy answer to the question is, yes, the two musical pursuits are mutually compatible, but it takes a dedicated and truly committed professional, having begun early in life with a burning fire in their bellies, to make them work together.

KMT: As we all know, the supply of gifted, capable horn players coming out of the music schools and conservatories well outstrips the demand. How have you counseled your students at the high school and university level over the years on how to deal with this? What are their realistic options today?

JP: What a conundrum! Colleges and universities must have a certain number of students enrolled to keep their doors open. Orchestras and bands must have a full and appropriate instrumentation to make their ensembles work. There is a furious recruitment process to attract the best and brightest. But, they won’t get enough of the best and brightest to fill their rosters. Second and third tier students are enrolled to fill out the spots in hopes that they will become fine players in their performing ensembles. Most times, they do. However, few of them reach that necessary plateau to compete in the world of the finest players. Many just become mediocre educators, training mediocre students, and send them to the same universities who hope to attract enough of the best and brightest to maintain their reputation as fine institutions that everyone should attend. Not a very positive spin on the process, but a realistic one. Only the very top musical schools and conservatories attract the cream of the crop. Fortunately, there are many exceptions to that rule, and those are the students that should be identified and heavily recruited. My personal belief is that the ones who have fire in their bellies, a serious dream, that will work the hardest to become the best in order to fulfill those dreams are the students I’d want in my school!

Even though I spoke rather strongly about the performance/education double major syndrome, which I feel passionate about, students capable of achieving a professional performance level or who have the skills and passion to be first-rate educators should still think seriously about a second degree. Many leading universities now offer new and exciting degrees within their music curricular structure in addition to the traditional ones. These provide the serious student with exciting opportunities compatible with preparations for a performance or teaching career. I have also counseled students to double major in other, non-musical subjects of interest to them. I have seen several success stories of students going on to be accomplished freelance players while working in the engineering field or as a financial analyst, etc. Another student paired performance with music therapy and has carved a successful career in both areas. Some of my former students have found success in university teaching jobs while playing with regional orchestras. For many, this is the ideal solution for the person who has that deep seated passion for teaching but still really wants to play. In this scenario, schedules allow both jobs to happen simultaneously. In my case, as a young public school teacher with an opportunity to play in a professional orchestra, the conflicts were too great. That exact scenario would remain a problem even today. The problem with aspiring to be a college teacher (unless you have a major orchestral position, of course) is that most colleges and universities are looking for candidates with a DMA. That raises a whole set of other discussions that would dwarf this one! Today’s music school graduate must be prepared for a difficult job market, regardless of their degree or skill level. Again, preparing for any and all opportunities is really the only intelligent path.

I also encourage students not to become synonymous with the horn, to think of themselves as “Susie, who plays horn,” as opposed to “Susie, the horn player.” A small detail, but far too often in this business, many fine players wrap their existence up in the horn to the exclusion of any other life passion. I certainly don’t fault anyone for loving the horn and making it the center of their life. However, life is too short. There are many, many areas of pursuit that are both satisfying and gratifying. I believe we owe it to ourselves to at least explore other pursuits, and that should begin early.

KMT: I'd love to know more about Jay Wadenpfuhl's piece for you, "K-Ville Skyline." As far as I can tell, your tiny hometown of Kirbyville doesn't seem to have much of a skyline! What's the story behind this piece?

JP: Earlier in this interview, I talked about my high school band director, Karl Wadenpfuhl and how his children played important roles in my life. Karl’s second son was Jay Wadenpfuhl. I knew Jay and his brothers as toddlers while spending time in their parents’ living room practicing solo and ensemble pieces with Lottie accompanying. I was a bit older than the Wadenpfuhl kids and graduated high school ahead of them. Many years later, I needed a second horn player for a summer series of concerts in Miami and called Karl, asking what Jay was up to. He was actually playing bass in a rock band in Tampa Florida and not playing horn much at all. But, he came down for the summer, and as they say, the rest is history. He stayed in Miami for several years, and his brother Ken came to U Miami to get his masters with me. The three Kirbyville horn players played together often through the next few years until Jay auditioned and won the National Symphony job as utility horn. Ken ended up in the Cleveland area and has carved a very successful freelance career. We all stayed in touch over the years. Jay soon won the third horn job in the Boston Symphony where he stayed until his untimely death in 2010. During the 80’s and 90’s I commissioned several works for solo horn and wind ensemble. Jay and I talked many times about him writing something that we both could enjoy playing. But, knowing Jay, I asked that it not be too difficult! Out of those discussions came “K’ville Skyline”, a tribute to our hometown of Kirbyville, Texas. You are correct in assuming that Kirbyville has no skyline! The highest point anywhere in town is the water tower, home of an ever-changing litany of graffiti and endearing messages of teenage love! The title was our little inside secret. I recorded a demo version at Miami with a band I collected from “off the street.” The engineer, not having a clue, thought it was simply an abbreviation, and titled it Knoxville Skyline. Kirbyville was very difficult to pay tribute to. I complained to Jay for a number of years how difficult the piece was, and he always answered by calling me disparaging names - until he played it with a friend’s college band. He called after the performance apologizing for not believing me all those years. He told me he almost didn’t make it to the end, making me feel a little manlier in my attempts! After that performance, Jay told me he intended to re-write the piece making it shorter and simplifying some of the more difficult face-killing licks. But, regrettably, life intervened and we’ll sadly never have the re-write.

KMT: A couple things that strike me about your playing are the incredible warmth of your sound and your gorgeous slurs. It's a welcome contrast to the "higher-louder-faster" mentality so prevalent in the horn world today. Can you speak to the importance of playing from your soul?

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Conducting UM Brass Choir Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, FL

JP: Your question makes me glad that I didn’t include any “higher-louder-faster” tunes that I have recorded when I picked the selections for “Heart’s Journey!” Seriously, my absolute favorite way to express myself is through singing on the horn. I loved the selections that the composers/arrangers wrote that allowed me to put on tape the way I love to play. Singing a song on the instrument is, in my opinion, the essence of the instrument in its purest form. In my early days as principal horn, the older and far wiser principal oboe took me under his wing and gave me “lessons” on the repertoire we were playing. The word I remember him using most often was “sing!” He demonstrated with just his terrible voice, but he was so impassioned in his musicality, I understood completely. It made a lasting impression on me that no one has ever duplicated. My proudest moments were when he turned in his chair and nodded his head with a smile on his face!

Listeners to “Heart’s Journey” have commented on what they describe as my vibrato. I do not think about vibrato - I simply try to express my feelings as I play. I talked earlier about the 8D sound that was planted in my ear at an early age listening to recordings and movies from the LA horn players. I chased that sound for many years, even when I played an 8D, but I never was able to hear from my sound what I had in my ear. I moved on from the Conn to an Alex for a few seasons, then to a full triple medium bore Paxman to play the Haydn Double Concerto. I modified that poor instrument until it was not worthy of its Paxman name any longer. After moving to NY, I wanted a bigger sound in the studio setting and bought Marty Hackelman’s Paxman X bell Compensating Triple and stayed with it the remainder of my playing career. With that horn, I played a Stork custom similar to a Giardinelli C8, bored to a 6 hole Even though I never quite got “that” sound, I always strived for a natural, free, focused sound. I do believe that one can and should try to modify, color, and adjust the sound through the feelings involved in the emotional creation of the music. Let the music filter through your emotions. It will open you to a fresh experience of worrying less about notes and more about what those notes are saying. As I listen to the great players of today, orchestral and soloists alike, I am struck by some identifiable similarities. The given is always a beautiful characteristic sound. The correct notes will be in place, in tune, with solid stylistic phrasing. But, what separates the great players from the fine players is that thing we call “singing”. The harder we try to put it in verbal terms, the more elusive it becomes - but our ear never fails us - it will always hear and appreciate as something very special, “singing from the heart”.

KMT: What, besides music, brings you joy and occupies your time?

JP: Music, in its many facets, has been responsible for most of the public, professional joys of my life. Private joys are the result of close friends and family and the special moments that speak to and from the heart, but still flow from music in some form or the other. On my website, I speak of my Mother’s family, she being one of ten siblings. All the brothers were musicians and the sisters, all artists. At a very young age while taking piano lessons, I was also exposed to art and the artists who create it. One of my aunts became quite well known in the Corpus Christi, Texas area. She had a building behind her home that housed her teaching and painting studio. When we visited, I would spend hours in the studio with the smells and sights I will never forget. I watched my aunt’s paintings at every step of her creative process and was totally mesmerized and entranced by it all. At an early age, I began to paint a bit and actually won a local contest with one of my very elementary works. As music required more of my life, art was relegated to a distant back seat. I dabbled a bit along the way but never had the time to become a disciplined, serious artist. Much later in life, when I contracted focal dystonia and realized that the act of playing the horn was no longer to be a force in my life, I was privately devastated and found myself void of the passion and life momentum that the horn provided. That’s when I looked back and realized that there was yet another passion that had given me great joy and was still lurking in the periphery of my psyche. I literally poured myself into painting again. I had retired from Miami and my wife was still working, so I had plenty of time to devote. I am attracted to abstract expressionism and will eventually discover how to be as expressive in that stylistic medium as I was on the horn. Passion presents itself in many guises. I can say that I did almost everything I ever wanted to do on the horn. I have left a lengthy legacy of students who have become fine players and incredible educators. I am content that I have served my piece of the landscape with dignity and class. With that being said, I am ready for my next challenge and I believe it will be in a visual style that suggests how we sing on canvas! I will attempt to have it no other way.


 Visit Jerry's website

Listen to his famous solo in “Lullabye” from Chuck Mangione’s Children of Sanchez album