‘Saturday Night Live' Trombonist Keeps ‘Music Alive' by Teaching Oakland Students

Steve Turre is a legendary trombonist on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” but on Friday he shared the gift of music with young musicians in the Bay Area.

The Lafayette native is here to pay tribute to the iconic big band artist Joe Henderson. But while in the area, Turre decided to give back to the community in which he grew up.

“To keep this music alive you have to pass it on,” Turre said.

To that end, Turre passed on his music knowledge to students at Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland.

“It’s a form of communication. It’s not just a performance where you do some tricks you’ve learned and try get people to clap. It’s a deeper experience than that if you’re doing it right," he said.

Turre has been doing it right for 32 years as a trombonist. He makes several trips to the West Coast every year and when he does, visiting his mother is a priority.

Another priority is teaching jazz and explaining to would-be musicians how he became a success.

“Practice, and go listen to whatever kind of music you want to play,” he urged.

On Saturday, Turre will play with some other big name musicians at the Empress Theatre in Vallejo.

“I think all musicians share that common thread that when you are part of something, no matter how big you get, and you get a chance to give back to your roots that means something to you,” he said. “It goes above and beyond getting paid.”

Being paid for doing something you love is great, but for Turre, music meams much more.

“I’m going to ride this horse till it drops,” he chortled.

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