WWL>Topics>>3-10-14 3:10pm Angela: with Irvin Mayfield

3-10-14 3:10pm Angela: with Irvin Mayfield

Mar 10, 2014|

Angela spends the hour profiling trumpeter Irvin Mayfield.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

When you know I started the show in late September. And I have been waiting for this moment since late September. Wanting to have this man on. If there ever was a Renaissance man in the city of New Orleans. It would be Irvin mayfield. Grammy Award winning jazz musician bandleader composer college professor cultural ambassador and businessman. And in his spare time he works with such diverse groups as the New Orleans public library. The new world's police and justice foundation the LSU Health Science Center and youth rescue initiative and the list goes on. As does this young man's creativity. It all started with a trumpet as a little boy and has evolved into a forced to get things done in the city lines. Irvin mayfield is a true force of nature and how lucky we are he is hours. And I do believe that I have loved this guy for ever. 36 years -- I just said to him he has packed more life. More living more giving in 36 years than in so many people now. Altogether. Which you do have to -- A now in everything I just get a sense and -- with it just seems like that your core. Is your really love for this area. Well I think absolutely epic love is that my core. Everything that I did I've been really fortunate to wake up. Most days of my life and do an absolutely passionate about witches. Put a trumpet to my mouth and I get these two news crew eight. And for that I'm eternally thankful. And to be in a town that has created an environment where people generation after generation can continue to do that. Is very special and very unique you know I'll take it for granted but I would be really missed. If I didn't point out that the first time I was ever on television. Was on the -- legal issue. When was fourteen. Years though so this is a homecoming of sorts. You know I appreciate -- that opportunity you gave to a young kid at did you listen for creative arts and his brother back in -- I have chills. The analysts are apps you were fourteen it was fourteen and my brother was fifteen and a brother is he's autistic and he's in the -- jazz musician plays the saxophone it's the -- -- punishment but the sex from Wednesday's main instruments and he's also visual artist and chain. And yet she and on TV and talking about you know going tuned in on us and for creative arts and also. Just talking about being Brothers and playing and also my Brothers. You know disability being a kids with autism and how music -- assisted him and helped him and you know I was. Tremendous opportunity for Lincoln intimates are now. Necessary and I deserve to bring you always generous. Even going back to those into -- -- ancient times because I was a kid back then who looked like you were fourteen and we -- know your whole future was ahead of you. And then and it seems clearly now actor now twenty years. That in fact it was always charted. I am reminded of your great success in Boca. And then you essentially turned down Juilliard. Yeah on the street. And we talk about Tim Laughlin. Did the same thing and it just said to me that may be great talent from this area. Understands. What this area is environmentally. Two talented people. Well I think. The Juliet story for me and I'm not I'm not familiar with Tim's story but really. That. One important aspect of the story was almost Seles who was ahead of jazz studies at the university new laws. It was at his suggestion. That New York would be delete and it wasn't really something against -- necessary. But that New York would be delayed so I can figure out exactly what my pants should be what I want to do. -- doing something because it sounded really exciting I agree a prestigious. And so was at his suggestion that attending university -- now. Well of course I'm a professor and and and that for now going on seven years. And it was you know the right choice and right move to appoint and you know not that long afterwards. I -- find myself in New York City you know. What went Marcellus and taken all the great things that the -- can't offer blood. You know like the book by Paolo -- cool hello alchemist teaches. You know no path to success it is. A straight line in his jacket it's all over the place and you know I'm nowhere near. Close a matte finish line I would hope of the things that I want a definite for the things that I wanted to and hopefully things anyway get an opportunity. To do and so. I think. Really the way you chart. You know your -- in the direction Israel about following your passion and accepting. The fact that in aggregate all the things that you want but you get to. Do the thing that you want you get to invest in -- paying for that you know like a legacy at the start of the program on eternally grateful to have an opportunity to. How long were you in New York. Before about two years and then her and that was you that was before Katrina. -- mrs. I was a 191819. At this point. Taken in big city and really an opportunity Livan will agree -- -- Marcellus and who's obviously. Ellis Marsalis -- sun. Have an opportunity just see. Artist at -- caliber operate at the highest. Level. You know being in their home as a special. It's a special thing and that's not to say that I hadn't had a lot of great influence just before that Terence Blanchard. Tremendous. Influence of mine artistically if someone who had opportunity to meet. As young man. As well as a guy who's close in my age Nicholas Payton and the list goes on and on from teachers that bank -- junior wreckage you wouldn't. Had a lot of great instructors and teachers but. To have an opportunity to kind of. One get out of town to watch how someone's life is built around there. Careers some special about you know. Seamless like in someone's home. In binges development great friendships. In that city at that point to announce critical time for a young musician. And then when I got my first record deal I had the opportunity to return back home and you know stuck trying to things among. Trying out things on the zone stay with us is we're gonna talk about trying things out on his own right after this. Irvin mayfield at long last fitting in the studio for the next hour I am so thrilled. And he just reminded me fourteen years old you were on the -- show he makes me weepy. But that's a good thing I wanna go back. Let let's go back to. Post-Katrina which is such an. Profoundly sad time accident and I know that you lost. Your father on -- person in your life I can't even imagine the but I was reading how. The episcopal church and contacted -- to do the beautiful concert at Christ church cathedral right I was not there but I talked to people who were mean who stopped. Apps and it was such an important moment. Post-Katrina. That in essence and we will recover we will come back we will hear music he and it was just so meaningful. Kind of take me back. There for you. But now I guess getting on to close to nine years ago. That was an amazing time. None of us could have imagined. And when you try to explain it to people about Katrina thing that really sticks out to -- he has. How the human mind. -- condition to expectations and we expect things to be healthy where yesterday. I think is very difficult to the get past when things. Imminently change especially. In an. And leaving town and outlined a leaving town alluded -- before Katrina just because I happen to be gone to. A birthday party on a town left. I'm -- my family at that time. Mind mother father was still here. And my mother leaves. To go to Baton Rouge the -- that was you know like most folks in -- you know what I deal with the power outage which is what a hurricane meant pack in those days. How -- power -- and I just -- I waited out in the announced a year and you know -- win my mother taught to not follow that. Morning after the storm -- Nancy says jobs and got as a down of things. And then we on a story a few hours later there will be no contact. And he will be a victim of the of the stone victim of drowning. Very tragic. You know situation and go to an experience. Partially because it's very difficult to get closure because he was -- for so long. It was the day after that concert. I was commissioned by the episcopal church to to compose the music today after the concert. How was when he his body was found and we can finally have some level of closure which. Was really. Which is really. -- Boston know it you rather have known that no man -- obviously. And some people at that point I think what -- the same feeling which was. We really needed. We needed to be held and told that. -- hurt we were experiencing was understood. Music is agree with you -- connect concert it was November 21. 2005. We culturally. Real Tennessee in -- culture re opening with a New Orleans jazz orchestra. Willis to tell folks. That we understand pain -- -- stand her and here's a big -- From everybody year it was difficult -- musicians -- nuanced became maturity. No one was living here I was living here at this -- -- rouge guerrilla. Few homes you can live in and at that point in time some of the city still had water and it you couldn't get to some aspects. Of it. And you know was it was it was rough you'd you'd -- around I remember just the sound of military vehicles in the plains and man a night time no lights. Let's just different place but I do remember standing. Staying at this point time that the Wyndham which is now the Westin hotel now place in staying -- -- to do his performance. And looking out at Mississippi River and I was thinking to myself. I wouldn't care if this city state likeness and I would be here. With the lack of whatever things we had. Because it is loved this town -- Woman has served on the -- by the -- -- -- and I was on the board years ago. A couple years ago named -- Coleman and Helen. Agree. Lady she was chairman of the board twice in I've never forget that one about levers trees she says that she loved this town so much she loved laughter. And she said I mean literally had dared not put my hand down a -- like -- it feels like it smells like enter. And I knew exactly what she meant and I knew the feeling of the dirt. In this town the smell of it you know the smell of the -- to smell of the the bricks. And I remember standing there now in a town did have a different most instant at that point. The -- of myself. Although I lost my -- and although you know it was a to a date not in Atlanta house to live in at that point and that. You know I have a special relationship with this talent in terms of my feeling Ford and warning of the year. Cannot just be a part of what it was which is one thing that you know I want to be a part of of what it was going to be what -- what causes city other than the people. You know that the people are cities that wasn't. It's not architecture on the food Muniz -- to be with the people who made this -- -- and if you ask me one of the things I miss about it most at the things have changed most. Since Hurricane Katrina 2005. Do missed. Some of the people who we hear and some of the characters that we hear. Some who've who've just gone on too you know another place and some of those who just relocated. He can't can't get back. I even missed some Medicare to some of the folks who just got on my nerves the SA. You know this is one guy who loses actual -- has got used to do is get on my nerves. Anti one of leaving town. After Katrina it never came back in -- I missed him getting on my nerves. You when you say that but I think what's so fabulous as is exactly what she sang. It is the future. And being a part of it and you have emerged. As this incredible leader. Beyond the realm of music what you had already done creating the jazz orchestra which. Unbelievable. What you had done at Dillard unbelievable. And then post-Katrina even with the losses. Coming back and just saying we're going to be better and -- I wanna take a break and one of go to our news is our money here. What you just talked about the library. -- because it is pivotal to what has happened in the city. And you were right there front and center let's take a break in go to Don names in the newsroom. Irvin mayfield are very special guest today. We're really just talking about his life and it has been an extraordinary one. Still very young. But so incredibly accomplished. Not only as a trumpet player but as a businessman who's open to some place as any. A teacher at -- UN now for seven years. And this passion about reading and literacy. And it's got to change and your right and a couple of weeks ago -- and Wendell Pierce did this phenomenal thing. Tried to break the Guinness record with how many people all reading. Well it was 500. Students I'm educating its. First and second graders. In participating in the largest reading lesson in the world. Beautiful. And did you read to them. Well I've let windows do the -- As he's a much better -- and I would be 500 people. And I had a band now with Ellis Marsalis. And David Andrews this year and Paul. Less Anderson we had to -- had a great great man there. And I thought to myself. How -- how can -- not want to be part of a program I would wanna go they listen to that Ellis -- and it appears that rating. I you know kids just love in their energy was just amazing and you when you see poverty kids and a library is just right. It's just -- but you early on as you mentioned were on the border -- public library. And the library system had gone through some difficult times even before the storm shaky. Yeah well the history of the public library. Was it was running out of money and then the business council. Before it was a business council led by guy named Jim Bob Moffett who is chairman of Freeport Mac and. He assembled -- community leaders which turned into the discounts to. Help keep the libraries open and then created. Campaign. To have a Milledge. The libraries be supported. Yeah I love I love the public library and I learned a lot. About libraries but also just learned a lot about kind of -- systems work and a lot of things that are really outside of music. Serving as a volunteer on the on the board. You know. Public access and also. Public criticism to -- think probably the. Only real negative criticism I have felt. As. C. As an adult was probably to volunteer work which comes with you know when you and a you know you do things associated with the public. But really in the NASA various small percentage of of my experience -- mean that would say that would be 2% to 98%. It's really about understanding of you know. How the system can allow people to access to own dreams. I liked that because I really feel that as a young kid in the long ones. Having come from musical family. In jazz allow me opportunities that I otherwise would have never been able to really take advantage. And I like the idea that jazz allow me to go back you know two different day Keats and to engage in conversations with people who would no longer around but also be able to. Engaging conversations -- folks in different generations and it went when things on the budget so much is that. He's fine. Quite often young musician. Inexperienced -- You know -- elder statesman who's extremely to its. And that there's something to be gained on both sides are really loved that democratic experience an elaborate to me is a manifestation of that kind of democratic experience. Where you provide. Access. Our information. In the end everyone everyone's welcome not even in the schools a school is not as democratic. As elaborate because you have to be astute and -- to really use a school but -- collaborate is everybody. And I love that I love the learning about the process and I -- I really did enjoy. Kind of being a musician and shot at a board meeting and learn what -- is you know all about and seen an agenda. -- have an opportunity here. Figure out how to be a leader of a group of volunteers to. You know. Figure out with the community needed and at that point time. Before we had a five openings -- there is we've recently -- you know. Now two years ago of all the branches. You know you had five to six libraries -- closed but all of all thirteen branches had been damaged. And so the folks and volunteers that took on that. I mean I just you know still very thankful. Those folks and also a lot of people in communities and people in this town. Their libraries. And they love many neighborhoods and FDA in brought more you love Taylor -- -- -- you know on Napoleon you of the children recent sanity if year. You know in couch and you love the knicks branching gentility loved it. Norman -- branch and as you can -- and no way too much and I'll tell libraries get this more than ever want to know but the thing -- have learned the most. Is that people given a choice would accept quality. Any day of something that is substandard. And folks in this town understand quality really well and it's not about the new. It's not about -- shining it's really about. Down. Making an investment in themselves and investing in neighborhoods and we talked. To them about the types of spaces that they wanted an average is always about that we -- communities these wanna be to meet who want. Programs like he has wanna be able to have do different things want things to be reflective of what we have going -- neighborhood and they also. We're deeply rooted in their traditions. And -- also want to music deals that -- food also wanted to really cool things are represented the city that was really transformative experience for me. Volunteering and being a part of the four years I was I was able to. Does it causes very quickly years ago and I'm talking many years ago we had a news director who is brilliant. And had family here and love New Orleans and was doing a great job lifted us up in our news ratings. And one day calls staff meeting and sent. My wife and children Meyer leaving. Because we finally sat down and said could we raise our children in the city that was closing libraries. -- and that was during that time. I only bring that up because. Lot of people don't remember that you and it was Jim I'm -- and and company that pulled together he got to have that Anderson got to have libraries. As part of the fabric of your neighborhood. And to have someone young and dynamic like Q who's getting a great learning experience from -- being on the board. Volunteer board it is different. But does all that -- help translated into some of the remarkable step she made like opening your own club gets. Yeah. But you know the the one I did have a club before the storm. So this is my second opinion offers menu was and the world treats and a -- -- -- over the city apartment complex. With him a business partner reward to lose a part owner of the points. And so -- my first Hillary and to the club ownership once you open a club. And your club owners and although you may lose money. And you may be you know you may fail it is something about it that yes there are people who just like to do that kind of thing. And club owners get. You know. It's something he can't explain -- -- jacket preservation hall understands. When you do it you just get hooked on and I got hooked on and I love it I think that they knew of about the most. He has being a great environment. A creative environment create environments is so important is so important to -- city. People here like to do things. There. You know if you think about the -- you know is their right way to make gumbo. There's not a right way to make them as a -- You know is there really a right way to dance the second land there's no right witnesses. There's a wrong in the wrong ways and I do your thing. This town is all about doing your thing as the basis of James the bases and jazz news. If you listen to say. Tampa the genius of it chance Blanchard he's doing his own thing you know there's that bracket transplant -- -- -- that I have listened to. And I'm always amazed at how individual -- is sound and has very different from saint it was Peyton has his own genius in his own way. And his own thing about it. I love that spears of jazz I -- disputed laws we think back to those first jazz musicians like -- Boucher and Louis Armstrong the general Morton. These guys have varied different personalities all -- -- own thing. In that ties into once again it doesn't it kind of liked elaborate thing where the Laver is a space. Where you -- out to do you allowed to be an individual. You know the democratic processes about being in individual and groups simultaneously. In one she didn't have to. Really. Shouldn't have to be. Taken down for the -- to succeed. And all of that apologists you know you can be an individual when you when you latest news. And this is what I love about Irvin mayfield stay with us -- gonna continue our talk with -- right -- this. Irvin mayfield just well a Renaissance man I'll stick with my original thought. Just -- many things and doesn't beautifully. And continues to sell I want to tell me about the marketplace. But the jazz market. Is AM venture which -- just announced. Now a few maybe two weeks ago. Where the New Orleans jazz orchestra. And -- board of directors and. Performing musicians and all of our supporters have entered into an endeavor. To create the first space. For jazz in a signal and it will be a a little bit smaller than 151000. Square foot. -- whip 400 seats. Rehearsal space -- public space with folks can come in detail wife. We also have an extension of public library there. And Costin to the city privately funded. And you know we look to celebrate what makes this music great really really excited about it. I'm Tom Foreman as chairman of our board. And he's been providing a tremendous amount leadership. Obviously about his leadership we would never have been able to get this done and DD bridge toward the three time Grammy Award winners Tony winner is honorary chairman. About -- and now we have a lot of grief support for post lowered from. You know Jeff cool rain to camp and poor man. -- just wonderful leadership that we have is a -- directors and only take some time to recognize them because. It's amazing sometimes how many folks it takes to realize -- vision and how much volunteer time. How much strategy -- thinking and investment. From people who really. Don't spend a lifetime with the music right the supporters of it. And I think that this vision of the New Orleans -- market which will be open a year from now. This vision is realized. This -- Israel actors who work of a lot of folks opportunist and time to do that is a building that exist hours -- you're going to bill is the existing gators building on Martin's McCain and -- castle -- before it was the gators build them which is kind of convenient store and Dollar General for another. For another term. Before that it was actually any. A marketplace was actually folks to come and did you know a lot of black folks -- -- and by the suits him fresh fish. A lot of Jewish merchant merchants at that time -- to drive street area. They would have a lot of businesses there and has very robust until it went into decline. In the early fifties and sixties. Actually as India culprit. Integration -- folks have more places to go more options. That plays got somewhat abandoned. Because you know he had more and more places that people legally have to -- Would be reborn. Through your eyes -- you know they a lot of other great things happening in that area and you know we're gonna do gonna take another break and we're gonna hear about those two. -- -- Irvin mayfield best hour of my life thus far. We're going to have you back we're gonna talk about all the incredible music you've written and produced an award winning. And you are doll and I think Q I love the U beautiful I don't know if people concedes that I had -- -- but thank you for having me. Thank you everybody okay let's go to the newsroom and we'll be back tomorrow.