Trumpeter Wayne Tucker in his Crown Heights creative space by annaandthelens

A few months ago, I had the pleasure to photograph trumpeter Wayne Tucker in his Crown Heights apartment that he shares with four other musicians. We began by talking in his living room. There in the middle of the room, Wayne conducts his daily practice, a combination of meditative breathing and trumpet playing. Closing his eyes, he counts to 10 in his head and clears his mind of everything except the even nature of his breath. He holds each note as long as possible while trying to maintain the same intensity. This practice allows him to channel all of his energy into his playing, a technique he later uses when he's onstage. When performing, he listens to the energy of the room and tries to concentrate on it, focuses all his effort on the energy coming out of him and into the audience.

Wayne comes from a family of musicians; his father, a piano player, was the main influencer of his musical taste, exposing him to funk, soul and r&b from an early age. Naturally, Wayne's first instrument was the piano, then he learned to play the violin, and finally the trumpet. His older brother (who is one of the four musicians he currently shares an apartment with), plays the tenor sax. In fact, it was after his brother began playing the saxophone, that Wayne picked up the trumpet. He grew up with a built in band at home, often jamming and experimenting from a young age.

Wayne spent a long time studying the technicalities and the math behind the music, including the patterns and permutations, to the point that it can become instinctual, allowing him to focus on evoking the feeling behind the music. In high school, he was part of an orchestra, which allowed him to understand composition and gave him an ability to hear all the elements in a song. That experience fueled his musical passion, the search for beautiful harmonies.

His latest album "Wake Up and See the Sun" (released this September), is about appreciating what one has in life. He is drawn to using music as a vehicle to transport the listener to a specific place or feeling. A way to share his world with others. Many of the songs on the record had been written years ago, but he wanted to take the opportunity to explore them musically, incorporating different instrumentations and sounds to create an eclectic sound quilt for the listener.

When I asked Wayne how he composes songs, he shared that it always starts with the piano, and as the song builds, he finds the natural moments where the trumpet can come in.  So we went downstairs, to his roommate's (David Linard) room where there is a stand up piano. While his roommate was packing to go to rehearsal, Wayne started fiddling with the keys, experimenting with a progression of notes he played over and over. I asked him what he was thinking of as he was doing this, and he said it reminded him of being in church. The first time the pastor says "Jesus"  it doesn't really have much of an effect on you, but slowly as he repeats the name over and over, the word starts to take on a meaning. So do the progression of notes as he plays them over and over, until a melody begins to emerge...

Explore Wayne Tucker's music: Facebook: Spotify: Spotify IG: @wayneeverest

How the "Creative Spaces of NYC Musicians" series began... by annaandthelens

Almost six months have passed since I started working on the Creative Spaces of NYC Musicians photo series, and now I have come to realize that the project needs a voice and a place where that voice can be heard! This blog is my own space where I can explore the ideas of creativity in a deeper way and highlight some of the wonderful artists of New York City and what inspires them to compose. I think I should start at the beginning - how I came to start working on the series. To say that I had it all planned out would be lying. It has very much been a work in progress, changing its shape and incorporating new ideas as they come. I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of inspiration and the form it takes. What sparks an idea? Where does this elusive thing come from? How much does the space that we occupy inform our creativity?

I wanted to work with musicians because well...I love music. To me, music is the most visceral art form, it has the capacity to make people feel in such a powerful way, it's effect is undeniable. I have always grown up with musicians in my family, and later went on to marry a musician, so in some ways my life has always had a soundtrack. Given this experience, I have always loved watching new songs be written (even now as I write this my husband is writing a song 3 feet away from me). To hear the spark of an idea, a nugget that sounds like it could become something, develop in front of you, is fascinating.

And the spaces part? That came about because living in New York means that space is a highly prized commodity!  The city can be so overwhelming with its energy, that each one of us struggles to establish a small slice of peace in our home where we can let down our city guard and be ourselves. Because our living quarters are small, NYC is a city where people often go out, rather than meet in their homes. As a result, we don't often get to see each other's private spaces.

This project has changed that for me and I feel incredibly honored for the opportunity to be welcomed into the homes and intimate corners where musicians write and work on their craft. The conversations I end up having and the raw moments that they share with me is a gift I cannot repay. I only hope that through the images in the Creative Spaces series, I can share their talent and their world with others.