Help Your Friends Preview Their Wedding and Party Music.
Magnolia Jazz Band entertaining  at a recent mixer. Thanks for the photo Michael.

What Kid Thomas Told Me   


"Tom, would you like some coffee? "

I was chatting with a legend. 

Living history.

If I'm lucky, I'll expect another one,  maybe two, 
more opportunities like this  in my entire life.

Many evenings found the two of us chatting 
in  the  back room  at Preservation Hall, in 
New Orleans.  

Me and Kid Thomas Valentine.

We talked about making a living as a musician 
and  about managing a band.

I recall one night when his Algiers Stompers 
were  playing at the  Hall (twice a week in 
those days,  back in the late 1970s).

After their first set, the band took  a   break. 
I joined them in that back room, sipping on 
my  styrofoam cup of coffee.  Kid Thomas was 
enjoying a sandwich he brought from home.

Short, slim, and already in his eighties, 
Thomas still played his hot, bluesy, percussive 
trumpet just like he did in his twenties.  

This was the style young Louis Armstrong learned, 
before he popularized a more colorful style of 
playing that focused on bold harmonies and 
his rapid-fire solo technique.

Armstrong's newer style swept the jazz world, 
but Thomas clung to the old way he played so well.

It's the way of the world, you know:  Everywhere 
you look, fads become  trends, which become
standards that spawn new fads. 
Change is everywhere.  How many of us do work 
today that didn't even exist a generation ago?

I knew this: Thomas was one of the earliest jazz 
pioneers in New Orleans.  And his old, rough style 
still thrilled fans worldwide, me included.  

Thomas was  one of the last men to play that 
old style,  and he  still had it!  

I wondered where I'd be at his age.  And I 
quickly  put those thoughts aside.  But I still 
wonder, you know?

I wish I knew then what I understand now!  
What questions I'd ask Thomas!  To hear stories 
that now I'll never hear.

Instead I started this evening's conversation with, 
"Tom, how did you begin playing in a band?"

At the time that was the best I could do.  
How would YOU talk with a god?

Here's what he told me (in my own words, 
not his,  of course).

"Well, I got together with a few kids.  We barely 
knew how to play, and we knew only one song.  
So we practiced.  And practiced.  We played that 
song over and over.  We played it fast.  We played 
it slow.  We played it loud.  We played it soft.  
We practiced it so much we'd never forget it."

Fascinated and curious, I asked, "Tom, what 
was that song you practiced so much?"

And he replied:  WHAT?  THAT WAS SO LONG AGO, 

Hmmmm, I said to myself, a good sense of humor.  
I don't know how much of the story is true, but 
there's an important lesson here.

Here it is:  Whatever we practice, THAT'S 
what we'll get better at.

In other words, whatever you want to get 
better at, THAT's what you need to practice.

This lesson has helped me through the years 
and I rely on it every day.  To enhance some 
of my good habits and to stop reinforcing my 
bad habits.

You do it too, I'll bet, whether you realize it 
or not.  So we all need to be thoughtful about 
whatever we work on and how we do it.

It's not brain surgery. I'm sure we all know this.
It's just that shortcuts and errors always lurk 
around the corner.

Keeping that always in mind, I'm playing music 
nearly every day.  Entertaining people and 
always practicing.  Practicing.

Mostly at private events like weddings and parties.
But occasionally at public festivities somewhere 
in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you're looking for upbeat, elegant music for
an event coming up, played exactly the way you
want it, here are 2 things you can do: 
1. Preview us in action at our next public event.  
    Where?  You can catch us at this event:

Tuesday, May 24, 5:00-8:00pm
"Open House"
San Jose Clubhouse, 15480 Union Ave, San Jose

CLICK HERE  to get a reminder for our next public event.

2. See our helpful "Planning Tips": 
See our  Facebook Page, my  Facebook profile, and our 
website's  "Planning Tips" page for (guess what?) dozens
of my favorite tips  for planning wedding and party music. 
Look them over.  I bet you'll see a few you haven't 
thought of yet.   See what I mean?  Call me for more. 

Thanks in advance.

Robbie Schlosser | Magnolia Jazz Band
"An inspired jazzman playing my way through life!"  

P.S.: See our outstanding  reviews on Yelp and Wedding Wire .