Party celebrates second wind for musician, flattened horn

PORT TOWNSEND — All of Rex Rice’s musician friends know he likes to play practical jokes.

So when Rice, who leads a jazz group, showed up at Kennelly Keys in Lynnwood last winter with a flattened trombone, threw it on the repair counter and said, “I need it this weekend — can you fix it?” not everyone was fooled.

“I knew he was joking,” John Mascorella said, “but when I looked at it, I thought I just might be able to straighten it out.”

On Friday, Mascorella, who repairs brass instruments, picked up the trombone he brought back to life and played it at a resurrection party with Rice and other jazz musicians.

A benefit for Otto Smith, a local musician who had heart-valve replacement surgery in November, the party at the Upstage Restaurant was a double celebration of getting a second chance.

“Everything appears to be working,” Rice said, after his group and Smith’s had each played a set, “although his heart valve was probably in better shape than this was.”

Trombone run over

That’s because Rice’s trombone — a 1948 King 2B — fell off the roof of his car and was run over several times on a dark night last December.

Rice admits it was his own fault.

After taking the horn out to the car, he discovered the light on his key didn’t work and went back to the garage to fix it.

It was only after he drove three miles into town, where he planned to play at Pete’s Place, that he discovered he had left the horn in its soft case on top of the car, and it was gone.

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