By Denise Powell, Posted on July 21 2022
Braylon Hughes, 16 and an aspiring cellist, is pursuing musical excellence. He began playing the cello in the 5th grade, exploring his musical potential through the instrument. The first tune Braylon mastered was "Dragonhunter" by Richard Meyer. He also esteems world-famous cellists such as Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and Jacqueline du Pre.
Since then, Braylon has expanded his skill through consistent practice, performances at recitals, and joining Hoot's All-Stars at a Holiday Jazz Party hosted at Hoot's Smokehouse in December. The ensemble offered mellow sounds and Christmas merriment during the event. The holiday party was an opportunity for Braylon to break new ground as a classically trained cellist. It was his first-time playing jazz.
To prepare, Braylon shared his process, "Mostly all I did to prepare was practice with recordings and see how my part contributed with the other parts… I didn't feel the approach to prepare was different besides not having an in-person rehearsal." Braylon revealed the best part of the performance was "…playing the improvisation."
His handling of the cello while leading "This Christmas" and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at the event was inspired. However, Braylon's performance was not without challenges. He was a bit nervous playing in front of a large group of family and friends for the first time. Despite his unease, Braylon's talent, professionalism, and composure were unmistakable. Determination and regular practice have served him well.
Braylon sat in for several tunes before leaving for a classical recital later that evening. He remarked on how easy it was for him to transition from playing jazz to classical music, declaring, "I shifted very easily because I left Hoot's in a good mood, and I was prepared to play at my recital."
Braylon plans to master the cello and learn the piano. If his performance with Hoot's All-Stars is any indication, Braylon is well on his way to becoming a world-class cellist.