Jerry Wheeler was my best friend in high school. I remember we met on the back steps of the band room for my first ever class at Cypress High, which was “beginning jazz band” in summer school. As I recall, the first song was “Down Home”. I’d never played jazz before, but knew I had to try it. We had a great time in band together the following 3 years.

While I did develop well as a musician in school, I had serious doubts about making a living, so I went for the big bucks: Computer Science. In 1979, that was pretty early. Jerry stuck with music, and today is a great performer.

I’d been thinking about Jerry lately, since I was to see him perform this week, after 20 years away living in the Bay Area. In looking through his photos on Facebook, I found one taken by his friend Jeannen Calvin that really spoke to me. I think of Jerry’s connection to music, whether playing trombone or singing, as deep and spiritual. Although it’s a great joy, I know it’s also something that he’s spent a great deal of time perfecting. He makes it look easy.

After 20 years in high-tech, and splitting my time now between social media marketing and art, in a way, I’ve come full circle. Although I did enjoy my tech career, there’s nothing like art—and today, for me it’s not playing the trombone, it’s painting. I hope this painting brings together those two passions: the performer in Jerry, and the painter in me.

The Entertainer (Jerry Wheeler), Oil on Canvas, 12x9
The Entertainer (Jerry Wheeler), Oil on Canvas, 12x9

12 thoughts on “The Entertainer

  1. Amen to that!

    Honouring the creative spirit in the Human is a positive act. I started to draw musicians about three years ago precisely for this reason, though it was more the buskers & the down & outs, the ‘non-stars’ of the music world.

    Paint on Ed 🙂

  2. Jerry Wheeler says:

    Dear Ed,

    I am fighting back tears as I am writing this.
    I am deeply moved and honored, my friend.
    Words are failing me at the moment.

    Thank you and much love,


  3. Gail I. Anderson says:

    Ed, Ya know I ain’t no art critic and I was right with ya there in band. In fact Paula & Danny, Reggie and I shared Senior prom with you and your date. I saw Jerry at our High school reunion this past summer, but have not heard him play since graduation. Your work here really spoke to me. You “CAPTURED” Jerry! His sense of deep introspect that he released when he played (way back when) shows in his face. I applaud you and Jerry too!

    • Hi Gail! It’s been many years, but of course I remember you! I’m so glad to hear this spoke to you. I’m very happy with it, and more so that Jerry is, too.

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