By the time I was a senior at Algonquin, Mr. Wrenn would let me conduct orchestra rehearsals at least once a week. I’m sure he did it in part because he knew it made me feel special — it did. But I suspect he also did it to give himself a break. I mean, let’s be honest, amateur string orchestras can test the patience of even the most dedicated soul.
There’s no question Mr. Wrenn was such a dedicated soul. But orchestra was never his first love. For that, you had to look no further than his cherished jazz band.
It was with his jazz band that Mr. Wrenn spent his final days, touring Greece and performing. Mr. Wrenn kept an online journal during the trip. His final entry written from the city of Athens concludes with the statement, “Tomorrow will see us go to the Acropolis. We also have our final performance of the trip! Today was great!”
And no doubt he meant it.
Here’s a 2001 interview of Mr. Wrenn talking about the subject he so knew well — jazz eduction.