It doesn’t happen that often, but some time ago I was invited to play at the 21st Birthday party of a young man named Aidan Chambers. This was a surprise party that one of his friends had organized in the backyard of his parents’ house. Aidan didn’t see it coming at all, he thought that everybody had forgotten about his birthday. Everybody was in on it. Even his parents and his 7-year old brother joined in and pretended they didn’t know about his birthday. The funniest part was that his brother Evan, who could usually never keep a secret, had been the best actor for this occasion. When Aidan asked him if he had forgotten about his big brothers’ birthday, he had said something like “that’s only next week, you silly.” His parents started laughing too and asked if he wasn’t getting too old to remember his own birthday. So you could say it was a big surprise when Aidan arrived at his friend Lewis’ house.

Jazz never goes out of fashion

I hear you think, this party sounds nice and all, but why not hire a DJ instead of a jazz musician for a 21 year olds party? Here’s the thing, Aidans parents had both been huge jazz fans. So much so that they even met at a jazz club. It’s only natural that they kept listening to jazz their entire lives. Even let their children listen to it. That’s when Aidan became interested in the saxophone. He had played it for 7 years until he became 16 and it hadn’t seemed cool anymore. He was embarrassed to tell his friends about this hobby, but he had never lost his love for the music. Lately he had been talking to his parents about picking up the sax again, but he had seemed a bit hesitant. That’s when they decided to book me, to show Aidan that it was not too late to pick up his beloved instrument again.

From solo to duo

For this party I was booked as a solo artist. After all, it had to be all about the sax. While playing, I could see the enthusiasm in Aidans eyes and after a few songs I suddenly saw him disappear. After maybe 5 minutes he came back with his own saxophone. He started playing along with me and it was like we had never done anything different. He knew all the songs I was playing and completed my notes perfectly. I could see that all of his friends were in awe. They had never seen this side of him. It was all he needed, I could see the joy in his eyes every time I looked at him. This was his true calling. And he was talented too. I immediately saw that he could go places. He wasn’t your typical 21-year-old that was all about booze and girls. None of his friends got drunk and they were all very respectful towards me, the parents, the other kids and even to the pets that were walking around.

Future gigs

I knew I couldn’t let a talented guy with the same passion for the sax get away and that’s why I called him a few days later asking if he was interested in another gig. Of course he said yes, and I found us a couple of duo gigs in the next couple of weeks. Then I saw that it was time for him to spread his wings. Aidan didn’t need a mentor, he just needed time with the sax. Ever since then, he has been performing on his own during the evenings he doesn’t have to study. Because his education still comes first. I just hope that one day he’ll realize how good he actually is and make the change to go pro. Because I am confident that he will get all the chances in the world.