Joaquin Contreras, 6, interviews Poncho Sanchez.
Joaquin Contreras, 6, interviews Poncho Sanchez. Felix Contreras/NPR
A year ago I wrote in this space about jazz-loving dads and our children. It was a short meditation, pegged to Father's Day, about how we hope our children will inherit the same passion we have for the music. Many of you wrote in with heartwarming stories of your experiences with your own father or your own children.
As Father's Day approached this year, I wondered if my sons (Alessandro, 9 and Joaquin, 6) had changed their attitudes about jazz. Alessandro was the one who said, "I hate all kinds of jazz ... except the kind you play."
To investigate, I took them to their first jazz concert at the recent DC Jazz Festival. The one show we were able to squeeze in before their bedtime was a gig featuring Poncho Sanchez and Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater.
The folks who run the DC Jazz Fest were kind enough to allow me to bring the boys backstage so they could interview Sanchez for this blog post. They were armed with questions supplied by Daddy asking the musicians how they think they could get more kids their age interested in jazz.
Here is Alessandro interviewing Poncho:
This is Joaquin interviewing percussionist Joey de Leon, and throwing in his bit of musical knowledge:
Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda told the boys his wife, Andrea Tierra, is a vocalist who sings in his band, and that they travel with their young daughter:
I have to admit: I don't think their musical tastes will change right away from Coldplay to Miles Davis after meeting real, live jazz musicians. But as Poncho alluded to in his answer, the secret seems to be exposing the kids to as much music as possible with a heavy dose of jazz thrown in.
There must be scientific studies about how a person's musical tastes are developed after being exposed to music of all kinds. But judging by the replies from last year's Father's Day post, and by this year's follow-up, the secret seems to lie in early exposure.
So turn those car stereos up during those drives to day care!