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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trumpeters - one of the mirroring leitmotifs of a culture

Most of us honor the Sunday Park "airing" of Arban in developing the trumpet as an outdoor instrument; we still use his book.

Then the black New Orleans/Chicago influences - brought mainstream by Bix Beiderbeck, and opened internationally with Sachmo - Louis Armstrong. A Big Band golden age led by Sachmo and "Big Bop" Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie. Still dancing zydeco java jazz - Al Hirt.

Ralph Mendez - warmed up the Latin influences and showed that trumpeters could play continuously using circular breathing. The Cubano, Arturo Sandoval with the most beautiful sound, and Latin jazz.

Maurice Andre reached up into the C and G ranges, and the piccolo and classical trumpet. Maurice also gets credit for bringing out the "charm" of the instrument -- smooth, easy-listening, supple phrasing.

Tijuana Brass sound of Herb Alpert. His 1965 Album, "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" sold more than 14 million copies, and by 1966 he was bigger than the Beatles. From dancing to nervous breakdown and later, serious consciousness raising, always improvising off interesting melodies and rhythm structures.

Doc Severinson made it nightly with Johnny Carson's Tonite Show. One of the first of the great Monsters, and showing the power of space-age pop.

Jack "trying to get good" Sheldon broadened the play as Merv Griffin's superior sideman -- not only as a jazzman, but with a 17-piece orchestra, as a balladeer, goldening the age of Los Angeles Hollywood.

Miles Davis influenced Chet Baker, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Herb Pomeroy, Alan Dawson, Dave Lambert, Charlie Mingus. Eventually the incredible "screamers" (Ferguson) were surpassed with jazz fusion and smooth jazz.

Hugh Masekela - In the 60's introduced the 8-quarter runs echoed in traditional drum-song, and became a global music legend (with his sweet former wife vocalist). In 2000's he is still show-casing with the Chissa All-stars.

Chuck Mangione - opened up the range between elevator background and fluegel horn concert arrangements.

Finally, a kind of apotheosis: Wynton Marsalis - the first musician to win Grammy's in both Classical and Jazz performance. Top improvizations. Maybe the greatest combination of ear, talent, heart and intelligence.

Now, a new generation is stepping up. The English-woman, Alison Balsom is performing in 2008 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Walt Disney Concert Hall, not only from her Andre-influenced easy-listening honey-coated effortless high notes, but also with avant-garde jazz. Debut on Prairie Home/Keillor January 2008, showing how a gold trumpet can deliver "folk" melodies.

WADADA LEO SMITH. Leading brass instrumentalist composer and teacher. Working free jazz and world music for decades.

FESTIVAL OF NEW TRUMPET MUSIC. Trumpeter Dave Douglas has sponsored "FONT" for now its Sixth Year in New York City. Strong performances and compositions with Taylor Ho Bynum and Jeremy Pelt, Eddie Allen, Ralph Alessi, Mark Isham, Pheeroan ak-Leef, John Zorn. www.fontmusic.org.

CHRIS BOTTI. Album "Chris Botti in Boston" {Boston Pops}. With Josh [Berman? tenor], Sting (both had the nerve to start over on improvs that do not go right, and audience appreciated/remembers "Shape of my Heart" - squared, harmon mute), John Mayer, etc.

GREG ADAMS - works with mesmerizing vocalist Daryl Walker, composer, producer, player. Mix of jazz, pop, San Francisco funk since the 1970's, and just played Laguna Festival of Arts on 2010 tour. Soulful touches.