Trinity Jazz Festival includes special musician

January 27, 2012 8:23:56 PM PST
This weekend's Trinity Jazz Festival in downtown Houston features the talents of Richie Cole, Kevin Mahogany and Jake Langley. But the famous festival is also giving a trumpet player another chance to get his life back.

They live all over Houston, like ghosts. The homeless move among us mostly unseen.

"You might have a professor with 37-year tenure at university walking around with all the clothes he owns on his body," said Melvin Desmuke.

Desmuke's life has been like his horn playing, hitting many highs and lows.

"Music is personal minister of mine," he said.

Desmuke has been destitute, but he's hooked up with the group Community of the Streets.

"We're trying to bring some outreach spiritually to the homeless, give them an opportunity to reach back and try to get some of that career opportunities that they once had," said Johnny Nichols Jr., music director of Community of the Streets.

Community of the Streets currently features just one homeless musician at Trinity Jazz Fest but hopes to expand its program and eventually hopes to have an entire band made up of homeless musicians.

The COTS players back Desmuke up on the stage and on the street.

"I can perhaps be a vessel to communicate with others in all walks of life, especially that there's a common denominator with music and that's love," Desmuke said.

"Let people know that these people here do exist and that they are still real people with still fantastic skills," Nichols Jr. said.

Desmuke and the Community of the Streets jazz crew will play again Saturday. Their performance starts at 6:30pm at the Trinity Church Fellowship Hall.