All That Jazz

We helped bring some music to the favela, as I mentioned in the earlier post. The leader of the group was Delfeayo Marsalis. His whole family is talented and most people have heard of his brothers, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Branford was the leader of the band on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno before Kevin Eubanks.  

They played New Orleans style music, but they were not there just to perform. They were there to work with the kids from the favela and they did a wonderful job, inviting kids to perform with them and encouraging everyone to develop their own style based on their own heritage. Above you can see the student orchestra that played for our jazz musicians, showing them Brazilian style.

I am not in the entertainment business. What we want to do is to increase understanding between Americans and Brazilians. This program worked. I could see it on the faces of the kids in the audience and hear it in the words of their parents and teachers. The community will remember this for a long time. The good feelings will linger as everybody remembers the talented Americans who shared their talents and appreciated the talents of Brazilians. The good coverage we got in the media will help spread the word. It was good all around.

The American nation is greater than the American government. This was a good example. We (USG) helped bring the jazz players, but we helped defray only a part of their expenses. The musicians contributed their time and talent. They were paid in the joy they shared with young Brazilians, but theirs was an act of charity and good will. 

This is true of most of the participants in our programs. We could not afford to pay these talented people what their time is worth, but they give it freely. It always makes me proud to be in the company of such people. I tell them, but I am not sure they believe me. It sounds a bit schmaltzy, as it does when I write it, but it is the truth. The only true wealth of a nation is contained in its people. We are blessed with great people and it is good just to stop sometimes and be thankful.

Look at the joy on the base player’s face. That joy comes from losing yourself in the flow of an activity. Music is one of the most common, but it also happens in sports or any task that is a challenge that can be mastered but remains a challenge. It is important to remember that nobody can give this joy to anybody else, since it comes from the accomplishment based on hard work,  but they can inspire it in others.

My pictures are self explanatory. I took them all during the workshop. Sorry about some of the focus problems. The light was hard for me to work with.  I don’t really know how to work the camera and rely on the automatic settings.