Do you ever wonder how some things just seem to come together as if they were planned? This has been a common occurrence in my life, yet without explanation. If I had done one little thing differently, then something great may have never come to be. This includes such life events as going to college (rather than getting a job), learning to play trumpet, becoming a police officer, curing carpal tunnel and most recently, meeting the great jazz trumpeter Charlie Sepulveda.
Let me start by saying Charlie is an amazing musician who I have heard on many recordings, but up until now I hadn't connected his solos to his name. He played on the Mambo Kings soundtrack, in Tito Puente's band, with the Talking Heads and of course on an impressive array of his own albums. He has over a hundred recording credits to his name and his latest album, "After Hours" has me ordering more cds. This album is trumpet and acoustic guitar only and I have to say I love it! He is incredibly expressive with every vocal line and after 3 times through this album, nobody in the shop even noticed it had repeated. I hear something new with every new listen. You can check it out here.
You will never believe how I happened to meet Charlie last week. I was on vacation with my parents last week in Puerto Rico. I wanted this vacation to be free of any work so I intentionally did not line up any masterclasses or lessons, nor did I tell any of my PR friends I would be visiting. This was going to be my week of forgetting about building trumpets.
While planning our trip over the phone, I learned that my Mom wanted to see old San Juan since this was her first trip there. I recommended booking the Sheraton Hotel in old SJ to make life easier. By the time we decided this was the best place to stay it was quite late so I told her I would book the hotel in the morning. The next day I was greeted with an email from her apologizing for "accidentally" booking a different hotel nearly an hour from San Juan. She entered a low price on www.priceline.com that was too good to be true and assumed it would be denied. We were both surprised that her bid was accepted and the next step was to rent a car now that this will be a driving trip.
We arrived at the resort hotel after an hour drive to the east side of Puerto Rico near Fajardo. This place was very nice with two impressive golf courses (I don't golf), beachfront property and very expensive restaurants. After our first meal, I suggested we try a little local place for dinner that I saw earlier in the day. We started with $1 cornmeal appetizers sitting on the outdoor patio surrounded by the beautiful sound of Coqui frogs chirping in the darkness. My Dad stepped out for a smoke and struck up a conversation with the owner of the restaurant. He was a jazz fan so my Dad mentioned that I play jazz trumpet and build horns. Call it random luck or fate, but this man replied with, "one of my friends is Charlie Sepulveda, he lives just a few minutes away and I'm sure he would like to meet your son".
The rest is history as I met Charlie the very next night. The following day, he was kind enough to take me to Rene Perez's music store (Pro Music) in San Juan to meet several of his friends, colleagues and students, all of which play tested my personal Summit One trumpet. We had a great time playing horns, sharing stories and talking trumpet. I am grateful that I met Charlie and his friends and owe this honor to either random luck or something else.
I'm not a believer in fate as the successes in my lifetime have never come without tremendous sacrifice. But it makes me wonder considering the circumstances of meeting Charlie. If my Mom hadn't been messing around on the internet, we would have stayed in San Juan. And if Priceline.com hadn't booked us at that specific resort, we wouldn't have come across that restaurant. And if I hadn't suggested that specific place, since there were other options, we wouldn't have met Charlie's friend. And if my Dad hadn't stepped out and started a conversation about jazz with someone who happened to know Charlie personally, etc.
Sometimes things just happen...