Patrick Cornelius performs at Berklee College of Music's Café 939 in Boston. Michael Borgida/Berklee College of Music hide caption

toggle caption
Michael Borgida/Berklee College of Music

Patrick Cornelius performs at Berklee College of Music's Café 939 in Boston.

Michael Borgida/Berklee College of Music

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Patrick Cornelius On JazzSet

Patrick Cornelius On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/265275105/265280529" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

While growing up in San Antonio, Patrick Cornelius listened to JazzSet on KRTU. Off the air, he taped the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band playing Lalo Schifrin's Gillespiana in the 1990s and more. Cornelius went on to complete degrees and diplomas from Berklee College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School.

In 2012, Cornelius won a New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble grant from Chamber Music America, and this episode of JazzSet features the composition for which he applied for support, titled While We're Still Young.

WBGO's The Checkout: Live is at Berklee College of Music's Café 939 in Boston for the premiere performance, broadcast and webcast. Onstage, four horns — trumpet, two saxes including Cornelius', trombone — are in front of guitar, piano, bass and drums. Among the players are Berklee grads, as they contemplate how far they've come since they were still young.

When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne is the inspiration. Writing in England in the 1920s, Milne introduced Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin and more sweet characters. Cornelius' grandmother read the verses to his mother, his mother read them to Cornelius, and now he reads Milne to his daughter and her baby brother James.

"From the moment I started reading [the verses] to Isabella, my daughter, ideas for melodies came into my head," Cornelius told The Checkout's Josh Jackson. "I want to write tunes that are almost singable, but have a high level of craft. I want melodic simplicity to mesh with complexity," Patrick recently told a hometown journalist on mysanantonio.com. Cornelius lists Gil Evans, Benny Golson, Duke Pearson, Duke Ellington, French turn-of-the-century composers Debussy, Satie and Ravel, and contemporaries such as Alan Ferber among his many influences.

Before the first four movements, Patrick reads a Milne verse. The words launch the melodies. "Jonathan Jo" has Evans-like voicings, and I hear Ellingtonian choices in "The Invaders." "Vespers" is the lullaby. But While We're Still Young isn't really for children, Cornelius says. It's for parents who read to their children, or whose parents read to them.

Movements
  • "Sand Between The Toes"
  • "Water Lilies"
  • "Jonathan Jo"
  • "The Invaders"
  • "Vespers"

Incidental music comes from the movement "Lines and Squares."

Personnel
  • Patrick Cornelius, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
  • Jason Palmer, trumpet
  • John Ellis, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
  • Nick Vayenas, trombone
  • Miles Okazaki, guitar
  • Gerald Clayton, piano
  • Peter Slavov, bass
  • Kendrick Scott, drums
Credits

Recording produced by Josh Jackson and David Tallacksen, WBGO; Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Loston Harris. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

The singer and pianist performs "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" with host Marian McPartland.

Loston Harris On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/507397417/507539522" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

André Previn. Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon hide caption

toggle caption Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

André Previn On Piano Jazz

The conductor, composer and pianist plays a special treatment of "Stormy Weather" in a 1990 session.

André Previn On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/506487969/506720784" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Patti Wicks. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist and singer join Marian McPartland for a duet version of "Body And Soul."

Patti Wicks On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/505874280/505875288" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Grover Washington, Jr. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Grover Washington, Jr. On Piano Jazz

The Grammy-winning saxophonist plays Duke Ellington standards with host Marian McPartland in 1994.

Grover Washington, Jr. On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504956273/504956800" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Meredith D'Ambrosio appears on the cover of her 1981 album Another Time. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

The vocalist, pianist, visual artist and teacher joined Marian McPartland in 1994.

Meredith D'Ambrosio On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/504133599/504135813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lonnie Liston Smith on the cover of Astral Traveling (1973). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Lonnie Liston Smith On Piano Jazz

One of contemporary music's most versatile keyboardists, Smith joined Marian McPartland in 2002.

Lonnie Liston Smith In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/503335536/503336370" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nellie Lutcher. William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

Hear the vocalist and pianist play her original tunes "Hurry On Down" and "Real Gone Guy."

Nellie Lutcher On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/502487319/502603441" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top