That Time I Met Richie Cole

At this Jazz jam session in Boulder Colorado USA, Mark Diamond would always introduce each player before they came on stage. Being from Fort Collins, for me, he would typically say something like, “tonight, we have a special guest, all the way from Fort Collins, (an hour drive from Boulder) Jon Long on Trumpet”.

I remember on Nov. 3, 2013, at the Boulder Outlook, a hotel bar, after Mark and crew finished a smoking set, and I’m next to sit in on “the list”. I’m sitting there, valves oiled, trumpet in hand, “known” songs ready to call, nerves under control. Then, Mark says over the mic: “Tonight, we have a very special guest”….me getting ready to go up and play, banging my valves, blowing warm air in my trumpet, walking toward stage…..”world renowned saxophonist”….wth?!….”RICHIE COLE!!!”

What?! I go back to my seat in the darkly lit bar, sheepishly abandon my trumpet and sip on my wine. Then get a 3 song set of killing bebop in stereotypical Richie Cole style, super fast bebop with crystal clear articulation.

Now, I’m thinking I don’t even want to sit in. My nerves were in high gear, even though at that time, I was probably about as good as I ever was at trumpet. But, sure enough, as all jam sessions go, Mark Diamond ends the set and announces my name as Richie is leaving the stage. I go up, call “On Green Dolphin Street”.

As I played the head, I notice Richie Cole sitting right in front of me listening and staring right at me. I felt like a grade school kid. I could barely play. All I could think of was, “RICHIE COLE IS SITTING 6 FEET IN FRONT OF MY BELL”!!

I ended up talking to him afterwards and he said he moved to Boulder. I let him know how much his playing inspired me as a musician.

That was my Richie Cole moment.


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