In a quiet corner of Central Park’s east side (77th and 5th avenue), Eganam Segbefia quietly unzips his trumpet case. A short distance away, children play in close proximity to their mothers and nannies. Eganam, better known as “Eggo”, prepares for a two hour performance with the trees and benches as an audience. Hoping to fill those benches, he begins to warm up with a few interruptions from locals that know him by name. And standing right next to his portable speakers are the words “Inspiration without Perspiration is Hallucination”. Eggo is the “Dapper Trumpet Man”.
Sandwiched between two park benches, he lets out a calm tune. Feeling a bit of confidence, Eggo presses the keys on his trumpet and lets out a series of notes that can be heard throughout the area. A nanny with a stroller makes her way to a nearby bench, sits down and says to the baby, “Just three songs ok?”
The baby murmurs a few barely audible sounds muffled by her pacifier. Another nanny, a familiar face, walks over and greets Eggo. With a big smile, he exchanges pleasantries and bends over to greet the baby smiling in the stroller. A high five and a few smiles later, he plays “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. The baby smiles and claps his hands in delight, inspiring Eggo to play more. With one hand on the trumpet keys, he waves at the happy child.
Three friends dressed for a casual sit-down make their way to the corner bench. They don’t engage in conversation, but listen as Eggo continues playing one tune after another. He then closes his eyes as if to lose himself in the moment. The tunes carry him off to a state of bliss seldom experienced by non-musicians. His trumpet sways up and down and side-to-side without a care in the world. Eggo returns to reality with the arrival of some usuals. He gingerly rests the trumpet on the stand and greets the babies and their nannies. This goes on for two hours with a brief intermission in between.
Sometimes it is difficult to tell if he truly lives up to the name “dapper”. Eggo’s outfit often changes depending on the music and the setting he is playing in.
“When I wear a full on suit I like to think of a classical jazz club or a real controlled setting; like a ballroom or a black tie event.”
But in the company of mothers, nannies and babies, Eggo is the “Comfortable, Unassuming Trumpet Man”. Keeping his style relatable and more approachable, he sticks to superhero graphic tees and outfits that’ll keep his audience happy.
He cleans up rather well. Towards the end of his first two hour performance, Eggo gives up the converse and polo shirt for something more chic. In a matter of what seems like seconds, he changes into a black shirt and grey coat to match the pants. Instead of the black converse, he slips into a pair of red, rubber loafers adorned with black tassels. Using the trumpet to complement the look, he poses for the camera much like a seasoned model. But, there is no “pretend bone” in his body. When asked to pose as if to play the trumpet, Eggo puts his lips to the mouthpiece and lets out a tune; making heads turn. On top of a boulder in the middle of Central Park, he mounts his trumpet, points it to the sky and lets out a lengthy tune like a bugler.
Our photo stroll takes us to the Mall. Standing near the Naumburg Bandshell, Eggo hears a familiar tune; something that sounds much like a saxaphone. Following the music we come upon an old man and his sax. He walks over to him and stands next to him for a great photo opportunity. After firing off a few frames, he starts listening to the tune. Within a few brief moments, Eggo is playing next to the sax man. Much like a seasoned pro, begins to jam paying no attention to the photographer, his now stuffy outfit or his current surroundings. It’s just him, the trumpet and the tune coming out of the man’s sax; nothing else.