The Nashville Airport has an active concert schedule, with a variety of local groups providing live sounds for incoming passengers. It's a win-win situation, with many musicians getting fun gigs in the middle of the day and Music City getting a great reputation as a place where melodies and rhythms fill the air.
WannaBeatles Dennis, David and Bryan have played a BNA numerous times in different configurations, but rarely do we get to play there as The WannaBeatles. Back in December, a week before Christmas, we played the "Starbucks" stage.
As we rolled our gear across the ticket lobby, we could hear the sounds of a live trombone and jazz piano coming from the stage area where we were heading.
That was the group before us, which we discovered was a relatively exotic Latin/jazz ensemble, with a woman playing a full set of vibes in front. The name on the screen said "Rose on Vibes."
In her band I recognized two well respected local players, drummer Smitty and trombonist Roland Barber.
Rose on Vibes, with Smitty on drums, Roland on conch shell
We were setting up our gear as they played, so I had my saxophone out. Noticing it, Rose generously offered me a spot on her stage, so I joined them on their final number, "White Christmas," in C. It was a treat to play with such a cool band, and to demonstrate the spontaneous camaraderie that exists among musicians.
BC on sax with Rose on Vibes
For those who've seen Roland Barber play before, it's not a surprise when he pulls out a sea shell and plays it as if it's just another wind instrument. I had a chance to talk to Roland after his set, and to learn that he had been inspired by Steve Turre, a Julliard faculty member who, in addition to playing in the Saturday Night Live band for over three decades, has pioneered the musical use of the sea shell. Roland had learned about it from Steve Turre during his time in New York.
We had a gig to play, so there was no time to follow up that conversation, interesting as it was.
WannaBeatle David on airport stage
We got onstage and did our show for the incoming passengers.
You never know who might be coming through that gate. One big surprise for us was encountering a young lady with a violin case who recognized us from having played onstage with us at a concert in Knoxville several years ago. Her name is Alicia Keener. She was a UT student at the time; she lives in Colorado now.
She had a WannaBeatles bumper sticker on her case. Thanks for the recognition Alicia!
Alicia shows off her WannaBeatles bumper sticker
There's nothing like playing the airport - it's hundreds of people, but never more than a few at a time, and they're constantly moving. It's great to see them smile, as they encounter the music on their way in.
WannaBeatles onstage at BNA
Thanks to Rose on Vibes for inviting me to play, Roland for the conch shell sounds and stories, Alicia for the reunion and bumper sticker, Nathan for the photos, and all the WannaBeatles for being such a fun group.
-Bloggin' Bryan 30March2016