The Man and His Music

I don’t mean to brag. But my husband is a trumpeting prodigy.

You wouldn’t know it if you met him. He’s very reserved and very humble. But my husband… He has a gift. Please enjoy this write-up from Modern Aficionado magazine last year. It’s a treat.


Meet Mr. Church

By Raymond “Mac” Jeffries

Jazz Critic, Modern Aficionado Magazine

If you met him, you couldn’t place him. But if you heard him, he’ll take your breath away.

I’m talking, of course, about Mr. Church. This trumpeter has made quite the name for himself. His origin story has a modest beginning, but that’s true of all great men.

Church got his start in the Detroit area in the 1980s. Even as a young man, he took naturally to trumpeting. “It just came to me. Easy as breathing.” He said, leaning back in his chair. “Though the air gets pretty foggy in those old, hazy clubs.”

“I remember I used to do it anywhere I could. My parents got tired of it at home, so I took my act to school.” He recalls having spent a lot of time performing in class, but the boisterous sound of his bubbling instrument was disruptive and he was frequently moved into the hall.

“I just couldn’t be stopped.”

He goes by Mr. Church, a rather formal moniker for this kind of talent. But his fans, known as “Church-goers”, love to come by and listen to him “preach”.

“It’s incredible. When I hear him, I feel so many things. I’m surprised, I’m delighted… Sometimes I feel a little sick, even,” said Marissa Flenderson, an avid Church-goer. “He’s just so prolific.”

Performing since those young days, his skill has only grown. Several times a day you can catch his act down at The Brown Note. Mr. Church is a man possessed and just keeps them coming.

When asked if he’d ever consider ending his career and going out on a high note, Church laughs and shakes his head. “There is no high note to go out on. I just have to keep producing. It’s just natural.” I liken this response to the kind of reply I’ve gotten from other addicts. Drugs and jazz are entangled; the dance of a devil and an angel. “Oh definitely,” he agrees, “It’s something inside me. I can’t stop it.”

So there it is. There’s no inspiration. No claim to be “artistic”. Just a man and his need to trumpet.

At his last performance, I took my wife. She was unfamiliar with his sound, but instantly found herself enveloped in the warm tones of his trumpet. I asked her what she thought.

“It’s a gas!” she said. And I have to agree.

photo credit: Getzen 300 Series Trumpet via photopin (license)