Friday, March 11, 2016

A jazz trombonist who thrives in her two worlds

Louise Wilson
Pianist Mac Chrupcala's quartet concert on Thursday, March 10, in the South County Jazz Club's matinee series at the Venice Art Center introduced most in the room to a new face on the Southwest Florida jazz scene.

Trombonist Louise Wilson is spending the winter and a good chunk of the spring on the Gulf Coast. This snowbird is making the most of her playing opportunities until she and her husband head back to Colorado in May.

Mac Chrupcala, John Lamb
In Venice, she blended seamlessly with Chrupcala, bassist John Lamb and drummer-singer Dave Morgan in a two-set performance of jazz standards. There was another great treat: watching and hearing the joyous musical partnership that has developed between keyboard marvel Chrupcala and former Ellington bassist Lamb. 

Afternoon highlights included WiIson's poignant feature on trombonist J. J. Johnson's classic jazz ballad "Lament" and the band's romp, complete with Morgan's vocals, on Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's blues "Wait a Minute Baby."
Dave Morgan

After studying trombone with Ashley Alexander while growing up in in Los Angeles, Wilson earned a nursing degree, but soon found she was missing her music. So she pursued a jazz performance degree at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth while working as a trauma nurse at a nearby hospital.

While she has been a nurse for about 30 years and now works in hospice care, Wilson says she draws energy from her parallel passion for jazz.

"I can't explain a lot of what comes out of my horn," she says. "Being a nurse and taking care of people, seeing them right before they die, knowing I had a chance to make a difference for them, brings out a lot of emotion in my playing."

Wilson said has worked with three different jazz bands in Colorado, but there is no longer a jazz scene where she lives about three hours south of Denver. So she's digging her opportunities here in southwest Florida, primarily sitting in at jam sessions and playinging in big bands. Florida's older demographic means there are a lot of jazz fans, as well as fine players who have retired from winters up north.
"I can’t believe the music scene here, it’s how LA used to be," she marvels.
Mac Chrupcala, John Lamb, Dave Morgan, Louise Wilson

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