A few days ago, I had a life-changing experience brought about by the actions of a man who wants little more than to inspire and bring joy to the hearts of others.
This man I speak of is Mr. Al Chez, professional trumpet player and musician extraordinaire. Al is a very talented musician, playing trumpet for over 40 years (he started when he was 9 years old!), working with the likes of Bon Jovi and Tower of Power. The fact that Al has worked with Bon Jovi made me want to meet this man, not to mention his extensive trumpet and life experience.
Now, how is it that I got the extremely fortunate opportunity to work with this incredible man?
I am a trumpet player in my school’s jazz ensemble/band, playing tunes such as Vehicle or Fly Me to the Moon. Al, who was in the area for a concert, decided to make a stop by our school to work with the jazz band.
We received the news on Wednesday that he would be coming to work with the jazz band, and that his scheduled day to come in would be Thursday… the very next day, to be exact.
Now, when my teacher informed me that he would be coming by, I had no idea who Al was. So I, being the Google addict I am, immediately took to the Internet to learn what I could about Al. The results were astonishing, and I was very excited to meet him the next day.
So jazz practice rolls around, and Al arrives right on time. We started off with Al introducing himself and some of his background, and then got right into practicing some of our pieces with him.
I feel that Al brought the level of the ensemble’s playing up significantly, but even more so I feel that he had a profound impact on my playing and my passion for trumpet. I have played trumpet for over 2 years now, and in all that time I have never truly loved the instrument. That is all different now. I, in recent days, have started to view it in a different way and I view playing and being a musician in a new light.
At the end of Al’s visit, he mentioned the concert he was in town for. It turned out we as students could go and get tickets for $10 if we wanted to attend; needless to say, I was immediately interested and made plans to go.
Come the night of the concert, I met up with a friend at the theatre where Al and his band would be playing, and we proceeded to our seats looking forward to a great night of music.
The show far exceeded expectations.
The band which played was comprised of a number of musicians from Al’s band in the USA, as well as a host of local talent who joined in and practiced with the others for a week or so before the show. The pieces were all fantastically done, they sounded awesome and we left in awe.
I write this to say thank you to Al for being such an awesome guy (can’t call him “dude,” he says it’s not allowed) and taking the time to come and work with our band. Al and his incredible passion for the trumpet has brought to me a passion I never saw in myself before.
Thanks to Al, I now play “for the whole world, every time I play.” To Al, I can only say thank you for that gift. I hope one day to be as awesome as you are.
All in all, the experience was incredible. Al has changed my life for the better, all out of the goodness and passion of his heart.
My only regret: not going up to the man and giving him a big shake.