Brady Lewis first took interest in music in middle school, singing in the choir before getting involved with the band. The longer he was in the band, the more he enjoyed the onstage experience. With hard work, dedication, and a love for the craft, Brady improved – earning multiple Honor Band nominations. And this past January, as a junior from East St. Louis and a second-year JazzU participant, Brady was selected to play with the distinguished Illinois All-State Band – the first trumpeter from East St. Louis High School (ESLH) selected to the ensemble in 17 years.
For Brady, “music is all about making connections…it’s the beginning of everything.” And Jazz St. Louis gives him a place to do just that: connect with his peers and the renowned artists he admires. “Here you meet people that you wouldn’t [normally] meet,” says Brady. “Our piano player is from Webster Groves, our drummer is from U-City…and not everybody gets to meet Jon Faddis [legendary trumpeter].”
In two weeks, Brady will travel to New York City with the rest of the ESLH Jazz Band to perform at Jazz at Lincoln Center as part of Essentially Ellington. On that stage, in a city whose musical milieu has fascinated Brady since the age of nine, a 17-year-old trumpeter from ESLH has the chance to meet Wynton Marsalis-a man Brady considers to be the best trumpeter alive. “You get nervous,” he says, “you’re about to meet Wynton Marsalis. You’re a trumpet player, and he’s the best.”
Still, Brady’s excitement for this trip has been motivational. “I want to get away from where I’ve already been. I want to get out and try new things,” he says. “Jazz St. Louis has been a major part of the musician I am today…and I want to continue to play forever, as long as I can.”
We are very proud of Brady’s accomplishments and are honored to have played a role in his musical development through our JazzU and Adopt-a-School programs.