About Paul Wingo

I found out only today that Paul passed away two months ago and wanted to write a little bit of my memories and experiences.

Like a lot of us, I met Paul as a student. It is difficult to adequately express what a special gift he had as a teacher. He gave without condition of his time. Our " one hour" lesson lasted no less than two hours and they frequently stretched to three and four hours with Paul breaking only to make a fresh pot of coffee. 

He was both humble and profound. a gentlemen sage if there ever was one. I remember coming to his house one morning and finding him scribbling away, writing out checks to pay his heat and electric bill. I commented to him that," bills were a drag", to which he responded , " I love paying bills...what a privilege to have heat and electricity."

He taught me to "draw" as opposed to simply notate music. He would say to me mid solo, "You're not singing that" And be right every time. it is amazing how much I quote him to this day. He would ask me to solo on a piece that I had never heard and was playing the very first time. When I balked at the notion he would ask, " what were you thinking about the whole time we were playing?"

Paul was renowned for his chord melody construction. He loved chords and took great pride in accompaniment.He was enthusiastic always. I remember how wonderful his solo transcription of Samuel Barber's,"Adagio for strings" was.

With great care he would fill up cassette after cassette of classic recordings for me from his collection. we analyzed Bach Partitas and sonatas. he listened with his eyes closed to Bach's Goldberg variations And t Pat Martino's solo on, " How Insensitive."

I let him know I was struggling with bop tempo and didn't feel it. His response was to smile lovingly and say, "play it slow." He wasn't letting me know that I must play it slow Until I could one day play it fast comfortably, he was letting me know that it is OK to just play music where I was and make it beautiful at that tempo.

Paul treated people kindly with no thought as to their station.He loved people. He loved Christmas. 

Ironically, I saw Paul  last  at a Christmas gig that I was playing A few years ago. I was so moved by his remembering to ask about a situation, a crossroads of sorts in my life and how it had resolved. He was so kind and humble. 

Paul was a wonderful and unique gift to a scores of musicians. I am happy, very happy to have been one of them even though just now I am very sad.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father in whom there is no shadow of turning."(James 1:17)