Yesterday, the Washington, D.C. area music community gathered at Calvary Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland to remember and celebrate the life and music of jazz guitarist- Paul Wingo. Born in Havre de Grace, Maryland in 1946, Paul’s career spanned his early teen years in Cambridge, Maryland playing with the “VOLTS” through his years with the Army’s premier jazz ensemble, The Army Blues, to his many gigs with national and international jazz artists, including Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis , Steve Allen and Dinah Shore. Paul was a Baltimore jazz institution in his own right, performing every Tuesday night at Bertha’s ( mussels ) Restaurant in Fells Point for 3 decades. ( He even rated a mention in a story by best selling mystery author Laura Lippman ) Paul was known as much for his quiet, gentle  and unassuming personality and as a deeply committed teacher and friend as for his complex and fiery guitar licks. His friends and fellow guitarists and musicians paid their heartfelt goodbyes at this tribute hosted by WPFW-FM host, Tom Cole. A man of peace and profound commitment to his music, Paul will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched with his music and deep sense of love and spirituality. photo afbIMG_7872.jpg photo afbIMG_7880.jpg photo afbIMG_7887.jpg
Steve Abshire, looking far too stern for such a lovable guy photo afbIMG_7905.jpg
WPFW’s own Tom Cole photo afbIMG_7913.jpg
Steve Herberman and Steve Abshire
 photo afbIMG_7947.jpgSue Matthews and Steve Herberman
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Sue Matthews photo afbIMG_7964.jpg
Bassist Paul Langosch photo afbIMG_7994.jpg
Paul’s student, Andrew Latona
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Aaron Rubinstein and Jan Knutson photo afbIMG_8052.jpg
Jan Knutson photo afbIMG_8082.jpg
Clarinet virtuoso & music educator, Dr. Charles Stier photo afbIMG_8092.jpg photo afbIMG_8106.jpg
Tom Lawrence photo afbIMG_8121.jpg photo afbIMG_8125.jpg photo afbIMG_8134.jpg
Pianist Stef Scaggiari
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 photo afbIMG_8168.jpgFormer Airman of Note, Rick Whitehead
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Christiana Drapkin photo afbIMG_8195.jpg photo afbIMG_8209.jpg
Carlos Barbosa Lima
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Jazz Violinist, Susan Jones
 photo afbIMG_8255.jpgWendy Eisenberg photo afbIMG_8266.jpg photo afbIMG_8282.jpg photo afbIMG_8314.jpg photo afbIMG_8318.jpg
Saxophonist, Bruce Swaim photo afbIMG_8328.jpg photo afbIMG_8335.jpg photo afbIMG_8352.jpg
Chuck Karner and Laura Lee



From the cramped little bandstand, actually little more than a corner at the front of the bar, the trio had started to play. The formal restaurant on the upper floor of Bertha’s was indeed famous for its mussels and other seafood, but the dingy watering hole that faced the Broadway side of the street was famous for reasons that had nothing to do with cuisine and everything to do with jazz.
For over twenty five years, Bertha’s had been the Tuesday night home of Paul Wingo, the living embodiment of a sound forged in a past generation and a Baltimore institution in his own right.
In his standard uniform of faded flannel shirt and worn black jeans, wrists wrapped in a dozen rubber bands, Wingo launched into the opening riff of the Duke Pearson classic, Jeanine, his fingers dancing across the fretboard like a swarm of nervous bumblebees. The couple in the booth broke from their clinch to listen, and the blonde sitting next to the band fluffed her hair and adjusted her already short skirt, pulling it an inch or so higher up her thighs, giving the guitarist a brief glimpse of the heaven that awaited him later, if he played his cards right. Wingo gave a gentle” heh, heh, heh”, his grinning face a living relief map of the Grand Canyon etched in flesh, and returned his concentration to the Buscarino guitar for his next solo.
“This guy is really awesome”, snorted Finn. “Goddamned genius. I’ve known him for years.” In reality, Alton had only heard the guitarist two or three times, when, back in the eighties, his mother had had a brief but torrid affair with the drummer in the band, and in a blinding flash of conscience, and not wanting to leave the toddler Alton at home alone, brought him along to the assignation at the club. As a rule, Findley’s musical tastes tended more toward Mastodon.
“Yeah, right, Finn. You and the genius. Hey, miss, how about another Fat Tire over here?”
Barlow was quickly on his way to a good and proper drunk. This had rapidly turned into the worst day of his life and seeing no easy way out and without funds or ideas, he plunged headlong into the pillowy comfort of beer foam. Barlow’s moral compass was slightly off true, but for all intents and purposes, Alton Lee Findley’s compass had completely lost its needle long, long ago.
Audrey the bartender passed the glass to Barlow, then slowly inched her way along the bar till she was in front of Alton. She was a big girl, full of chest, wide of ass, with a mountain of dark hair piled high on her head in a mockery of a traditional Balmore beehive. She preferred to wear her jeans as tight as humanly possible, barely allowing herself room to breathe. Never one to question if her butt looked too big, she tended to flaunt all her assets, and the very stricture of the fabric allowed her to satisfy herself behind the bar when things got boring, with the patrons being none the wiser.
“You really know Paul?”, she asked. “ I don’t remember seeing you in here before. What’s your name, cowboy?” Audrey cooed, while her eyes zeroed in on Finn’s mouth, like two laser guided missiles.
“Name’s Finn,” came the answer from those full, luscious lips.”I just killed a man today.”
Jazz Guitarist Paul Wingo-The Man, The Legend Photo Copyright Michael G. Stewart