Ben Flocks on Charles McPherson and Junior Mance

I love the Stanford Jazz Workshop for so many reasons. I attended the camp and the residency when I was in high school, and since then I’ve worked as a counselor, and now as a mentor. But the most valuable time that I’ve spent here, as a camper and as a mentor, has been hanging out with the jazz legends who I’ve looked up to since my beginnings as a musician and a music listener. Last week one of my favorite saxophonists Charles McPherson told me about a gig he played with the Charles Mingus band, where Mingus got so upset at the club’s staff after they didn’t pay him, that he punched a hole in his huge upright bass in the middle of the set! Today, I spent some time with Junior Mance, one of the legends of jazz piano. I grew up listening to him playing on record with Cannonball Adderley. Having the opportunity to ask Mr. Mance about his stints on the road with Charlie Parker and Lester Young has been an incredible educational experience for me. I feel very lucky to have met and played with jazz legends who are still inspiring audiences and musicians alike. I’m also really enjoying telling all of these stories to my students, I can’t wait to hear some more. So many memorable experiences at SJW!

Ben Flocks with Junior Mance

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