#203, Feb 12, 2020

But First, Let Me Tell You a Little Story:

"Tom, would you like some coffee? "

I was chatting with a legend. 

And if I'm lucky I'll have another one or two 
more opportunities like this in my entire life.

Many evenings back in the late 1970's found  
the two of us chatting in the  back room at 
Preservation Hall, in New Orleans.  

Kid Thomas Valentine and me.

We talked about making a living as a musician 
and about how to manage a band.

I recall one night when his "Algiers Stompers" 
were playing at the Hall. 

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 his 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, new fads become trends, which become  
standards that in time inspire new fads. 
A fad in his youth, 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 wish I knew then what I understand now!  
What questions I'd ask Thomas!  

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

How lame!  But 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."

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 
it contains an important lesson.

So here's that Tip I promised you: 
Whatever we practice -- good habits or harmful ones 
-- that's what we'll get better at.

Why am I talking about PRACTICING?

Simple.   Whatever you want to get better at, 
THAT's what you need to practice. 

And stop practicing whatever doesn't help.

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 
what 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 are tempting, so errors 
always lurk around the corner.

Keeping that in mind, I'm always practicing -- 
helping people plan music for their celebrations.   
And playing music nearly every day.

Helping people celebrate and always practicing.

Mostly at private events like weddings and parties.

And now that we're talking about 
planning wedding and party music...

Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras are just ahead, 
and you might be involved with planning an 
exciting celebration.

And if you or a friend are engaged to get 
married, you might also be involved with 
planning the wedding.

Perhaps both. 

So the next time you or a friend  are looking  for 
upbeat, elegant music,  played the way you want, 
think of us.

Where can you can preview us?  Here: 

Friday, February 14,  6:00-9:00pm
Valentine's Day Dinner
Parcel 104, 2700 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara

Reply or call 408-245-9120.  Let's chat soon.


Robbie Schlosser | Magnolia Jazz Band
"Elegant, Upbeat Music for Weddings and Parties"  
P.S.  See our  Yelp reviewsphotos of us in action on  Instagram

Now, for the "fine print":   You're receiving this reminder because you opened my most recent email, or we've worked together sometime in the last 43 years, or you enjoyed our music somewhere, or we met at an event, or you subscribed on MagnoliaJazz.com, or you read my BLOG, or you joined my friends on social media, or you read our excellent reviews on Yelp and WeddingWire .  Whew!  

However you found me, THANK YOU!

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