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Buckle up for a slide into the cool – John Worley and WorlView play Saturday at the Sanchez
By Jean Bartlett, Arts Correspondent
Pacifica Tribune January 24, 2007
Trumpet/flugelhorn artist, composer and educator John L. Worley Jr. and his band WorlView are coming to the Sanchez Concert Hall, Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 pm, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd.
They are bringing a musical avenue of sound that rides a world chart of bop, straight ahead jazz, tango, Afro Cuban and “all ports in between.” The WorlView band is: leader Worley on trumpet and flugelhorn; Kristen Strom on tenor and soprano sax; Wayne Wallace on trombone; Murray Low on piano; Tom Bockhold on electric and acoustic bass; Paul vanWageningen on drums; and Michaelle Goerlitz on percussion.
In regards to WorlView, Worley says: “I always believe you hire the best people that you can and the talent here is amazing. Each member of the band is a leader in their own right and they’ve been playing as long as I have or longer. Together we are a very comfortable fit of musicians.”
The list of credentials from band members reads like a red carpet to front stage at the Grammys. “You live long enough,” says John. “And it’s just incredible who you play with. The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Mel Torme, Earth Wind and Fire, Patti LaBelle, The Four Tops, Natalie Cole, the Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis, Roberta Flack, Pete Escovedo, John Santos, Frank Martin – these are just a few of the musicians that we as individual band members have played with.”
“I’ve been playing trumpet for 41 years,” says Worley. “Started when I was a kid. I read this article on Louis Armstrong. It said that wherever Louis went, people knew what he was thinking or feeling or saying because of his music. And I thought, wow. That would be a great way for me to communicate with people.”
“I grew up in Daly City, went to Jefferson Elementary School and Jefferson High School. I started out on drums but in 5th grade I switched to trumpet and I’ve never quit. My first trumpet teacher was Richard Snyder and he really got me going on the path I wanted to be. Funny thing, last year my band played a gig at the De Young Museum and looking out into the audience, there was my teacher, Mr. Snyder. He was just coming back from his own gig with the Golden Gate Park Band. He’s 90 years old and playing saxophone. Doing something you love keeps you young.”
Worley started working as a musician when he was 15. “My first gig was at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco with an Asian rock band called the Far East Coalition and I’ve been playing gigs ever since.” College sent John to Los Angeles but in between studies he still spent time beneath the stage lights. Following college, he went on to stages in Canada, Europe, Central and North America joined in play by a long list of national and international headliners. His band WorlView made its debut performance at the 2004 San Jose Jazz Festival and recently rocked the crowd at the 2006 Monterey Jazz Festival.
“The title of my band WorlView and our corresponding CD title is just kind of my view of what my world has been. It is a reflection of all the different styles and bands that I have played with over the years.”
“When people come out to hear us on Saturday, they’re going to hear a variety of genres from: straight-ahead jazz, to Latin jazz, a couple of ballads and even a tango.” The tango is called: “Last Tango in Delano” and it was written by John Worley and Sebastien Lanson. The song was commissioned by the Intersection For The Arts 2006. “I was dreaming one night about this song,” says Worley. “When I got up I wrote it out. It is dedicated to my father who was a union worker with SIU (Seafarers International Union). My father was among the men of SIU who protected Cesar Chavez during his campaign to gain union recognition for Farm Workers.”Saturday night, audience members are also going to hear a sense of history and comfortableness that comes with 30 years of sharing music. Says John, “Some of my band members and I have played together since the mid 70s.”
Worley also a music educator, taught for many years at San Francisco State. Now he teaches about 40 trumpet students a week. He is also very much involved with music in the schools.
“Kids today are used to sitting in their home theater and they forget what it’s like to be in a situation where music is actually being performed for them – and by them. You’ve got to give back to the community or the music is lost. I’m not getting any younger and I really feel like a lot of this stuff, I really want to pass along.” In addition to many gigs, John is musical director for an upcoming March fund raiser for “Advocates for Children.” Advocates for Children trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers (CASA) who mentor and speak up for the 600 to 800 children a year, in San Mateo County, who enter the foster care system as a result of abuse or neglect. Local favorites, musicians Morning and Jim Nichols, will also be a part of that concert.
In regards to WorlView’s Pacifica performance, Worley says: “I’m hoping for an audience of all ages. A crowd that is willing to sit back and relax and just enjoy good music that is made specifically for them.”
“Life is too short to spend doing something you really don’t enjoy for a living. I suppose if I hadn’t been a
musician, I would have been an astronomer or a science fiction writer – I do like both of those things and indulge myself as I can. But music really consumes me completely.”
“I’ve found a good balance in my music life and my personal life. In fact, this is the best my life has ever been. I’m really blessed.”