Friends Friday Tracy Wannomae

January 28, 2012 in Friends' Friday

Continuing with my biggest LA scene influences, TRACY WANNOMAE is a musical phenomenon who taught me more about being a musician than any university ever did. Tracy cares about every note, every movement, and most of all, how his sound sits with the rest of the musicians with whom he’s playing. He is a true musician, a musical hero, a humble, down to earth, sensitive and caring person. I’ve never known anyone to play an incredible sax solo, then turn around and say “Man, that sucked” while everyone else in the room have been brought to tears by his playing.

He sings through his instruments and is always expanding, stretching and looking for something new. Tracy knows what’s written in all those horn books, can read anything you put in front of him, but as a musician who cares about music, he knows the importance of being real. He is always on a musical journey paving the way for us all.

Here is a clip from the Los Angeles Music and Art school about Tracy:

“What you practice is important, but how you practice is more important! Success is not a destination; it is a journey…”

Tracy Wannomae, woodwind instructor, has had a wide variety of experiences as a musician. After graduating from Dorsey High School, he attended California State University Los Angeles where he studied with Victor Morosco for two years.

In 1989, Wannomae began studying with Philip Sobel, who has been considered for several decades to be among the top echelon recording studio musicians of our time. Sobel teaches The Henry Lindeman Method to a handful of select students, of which Wannomae is one. Through Sobel’s guidance and inspiration, Wannomae teaches this method to his students.

Wannomae’s performance credits include: Saturday Night Live, David Letterman Show, Conan O’Brian, Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Today Show, The Grammy Awards, MTV and VH1 Awards, The Brit Awards, BET, Sessions at W. 54th St., Glastonbury Festival, “The Wedding Crashers”, “Spiderman 1”, Montreaux, Playboy, New Orleans, North Sea, Nice, San Sebastien Jazz Festivals.

In addition to teaching, Wannomae has also performed and/or recorded with various artists, suchas Macy Gray, Rickie Lee Jones, Vernon Martin and The Young Giants of Jazz, George Clinton, Carlos Santana, Arik Marshall, Ziggy Marley, Dr. Dre, Everlast, Ben Harper, Nailah, Nikka Costa, Bright Eyes, Bare Naked Ladies, Joe Baiza, Jason Mraz, Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, Jade Vincent Experiment, Ras Michaels/ Sons of Negus, Connie Price, Wailing Souls, Leroy Sibbles, Mad Lib, Too Short, Solomon Burke, Aster Aweke, Judy Mowatt, Brad Mehldau, Nedra Wheeler, Eastside Sinfonietta, Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra, and others.


Damn….That’s a lot of impressive names.

I met Tracy at a jam session I found by replying to a message on  Tracy said “Dayum son, you workin’?” I said, “No, I just moved here and don’t know anybody…where should I go to find people to work with?” he said “Ah, well I dunno, cuz I ain’t workin, but I know some people I can pass your name on to for sure man.”

Then, Wham BAM thank you MAN, I started getting phone calls to work.

I owe Tracy most my career in the city.

He got me on board with Double G.

Hooked me up with Nailah.

Turned me on to the Jazz Anarchists.

Got me in with incredible pianist Deron Johnson and his mentor Billy Childs.  (see right)

Taught me about listening.

Told me all about fat pockets, groove, and the importance of a solid bass line.

I really feel blessed to have been graced with his support and friendship.  He is one of those cats that everyone benefits from playing with…child or adult,  alien or animal.
Tracy is in the shadows but he plays a mean hot alto sax potato on this one! woop!

Glad to know ya Tracy Wannomae!

Check him out all over LA.  He is playing somewhere and stirring some magical music mojo with somebody.  OKBYE!