An Idea

Use your mind, or lose your mind!!!!!

‘Round Midnight

Upon hearing the music of Thelonious Monk for the first time, one usually has a very visceral reaction.  Most either like it or not, while others come to accept his artisty through an acquired taste.   It certainly is different to the ear, but filled with plenty emotion and humor.  Throughout the years there have been many times where I have found myself fascinated with his thought process and genius.  

Last night I had a chance to reflect on Monk’s genius while in a conversation with a young pianist attempting to master ‘Round Midnight and eager to perform it at a jam session after a not so successful attempt at an earlier date.  During our conversation, I shared a conversation that I had with Larry Gales many years ago who had been a long-time bassist with Monk.  I asked Larry about the chord changes to ‘Round Midnight and he responded quickly and asked me ‘what set’?   I asked for clarification and he relayed to me that Monk was always tweaking the tune in performance and he had to  listen intently and watch his left hand to follow what alteration was being made to the tune in the moment.  I shared with the young pianist to find the solo piano version of the tune to check out what could be a good set of changes to use in performance as he gained a better understanding of the tune.

I listened to that recording today and was left with a pleasant smile and reflection of Larry and his informal lesson.  The artist is always evolving and never rests on his or her laurels.   Always continue to grow and experiment, even if it leaves you feeling uncomfortable with exploring new territory.

Life is Good!

Enjoying a lovely evening at home with my wife!   Took a ride to the local supermarket and noticed a beautiful full moon.  Upon reflecting from conversations with various family members and friends during the day, I smiled as I gazed at the moon and thought that when things seem dark and dismal, there is always beauty somewhere.   One just needs to not dwell on the dark thoughts and trust that they will pass if one has patience.   That moon was beautiful and I hoped that all of those that I spoke with had the chance to experience its majesty.   Life is good!

‘Free And Easy’

Hello all:

CD Baby informed me that they sold out of ‘Free And Easy’ in 2 days.  I just sent more copies for re-stock!!!!  of course, you can download it here—we’re never out of stock.  🙂


Welcome to the world of Drayton Music, the official website of trumpeter, composer, producer, and educator Leslie Drayton As you peruse the site, you will discover that the things available to you are my biography, compositions for big band, lead sheets, and recordings. There is an added bonus for those who are into collector’s items as well. I have made available copies of some of my older recordings that still exist on vinyl—-a collector’s dream!!!! I will be posting thoughts about various things on a regular basis and you are invited to share your thoughts with me as well. The interchange will definitely provide a forum for all involved to grow.

The official release date of my latest recording is March 4, 2014—-my birthday. The release is entitled: ‘Free And Easy’ and is a 12-track collection of mellow, but funky grooves that will appeal to those that love jazz from a soulful perspective. There are guest appearances by Brandon Coleman-keyboards, Del Atkins-bass, Earl Alexander-guitar, Land Richards-drums, and the late Ronald Muldrow-guitar. The music is also available through CD Baby and iTunes.