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Wayne Escoffery Seeks Missing Saxophone, Offers Reward

A saxophone belonging to Wayne Escoffery was inadvertently left in a New York City cab on September 11 and the musician is calling upon fans to help him find it. A reward is being offered. Escoffery emailed the following plea in an effort to mobilize the jazz audience. Contact details are at the end.

Hi all,

I hope you are all well. I unfortunately am not feeling so hot. On Thursday Sept. 11, 2008 myself (jazz saxophonist Wayne Escoffery) and my wife (singer Carolyn Leonhart) jumped out of a white Lincoln livery cab in mid-town while carrying our two-month-old son (Vaughn) and accidentally left my saxophone in the trunk. I very much want it back and am offering a big reward. The saxophone is my prime instrument and has been at my side since I moved to NYC in 2000. I play this saxophone with such groups as the Charles Mingus Big Band, the Ben Riley Monk Legacy Septet, Tom Harrell’s Quintet, and my own band, Veneration. I have performed at most of the NYC Jazz venues including Jazz at Lincoln Center and have toured the world with this instrument.

My wife and I were married in 2004 and recently gave birth to our first child, a boy named Vaughn Jalen Escoffery. Like so many couples in NYC these days, we are adjusting to Manhattan life with a newborn. Unfortunately, I have been on tour for most of the two months since our son was born. Last week, I returned home for a three-day break from a tour with trumpeter Tom Harrell. On Thursday, we, in a rush, hailed a white Lincoln gypsy cab in front of our Harlem apartment at 153rd and Saint Nicholas Place, packed our son and my horn to go downtown for some family time while I brought my saxophone in for some quick repairs. Two minutes after exiting the cab in midtown, we realized the unthinkable had happened! We had left my irreplaceable 1951 Super Balanced Action Tenor Saxophone in the trunk of the car–a car that had no company name or any identifying logos. The only details of note were that the car was an older white Lincoln and the driver was female.

Because no two horns are alike, the instrument a musician chooses to use becomes an indispensable part of his or her sound. It is impossible to re-create the horn, especially one that is as old as this particular saxophone. Its value therefore is not only monetary, but artistic. My #9 NY Otto Link mouthpiece was also in the case. This is the only instrument I have used for the past eight years, and I have used the mouthpiece for as long as I can remember. The saxophone and piece are an indispensable part of my sound and now they are gone. But I truly hope and pray they might be returned.

We got the car at 153rd and Saint Nicholas Place and took it to 50th street and 7th Ave. at 1 p.m. on Thursday September 11th, 2008. We have spent the last three days reaching out to drivers and dispatchers in our neighborhood in the hopes of locating the driver and retrieving the horn, but have had no luck. Please keep a lookout and any help you can offer is much appreciated, and will be rewarded!

Thank You,



[email protected]

Originally Published