Before I go back into lurking mode...
1. I used to work (before moving to Seattle) with a saxophone player who played for 20 years in the top U.S. military jazz ensemble for his branch of the service. His playing has hints of Michael Brecker, John Coltrane, Lockjaw, and Bob Berg, yet he can do it all and has a very personal sound and harmonic sense. He is a reformed alcoholic (14 years) and is full of wisdom. This is truly a man who had learned from his mistakes. Well, this group was almost the the only gig he played, and after his retirement from the military, he worked full time in a unrelated field to music.
There was no apparent reason he did not have a major record deal and wasn't working in New York. We became close enough that I could ask him about it. He told me that he had spent most of his military career bashing other players and trying to elevate himself by tearing others' music down. He thought that his opinion was more sacred than the feelings of other people and since he had something he need to say, he said it. He has no "buddies" from 20 years in the service and is never invited to any reunions. He is NOTHING like that now as he was wise enough to make some major changes in the way he lived. His most common quote about this was, "The only thing that kept me from the big time was my mouth." Unfortunately, it took him 50 years of living to figure this out.
2. When you make bold public declarations about other people or topics you feel strongly about, remember this simple saying:
"When you offer your opinion in any fashion, you are not demonstrating what you know or what you have learned. More often you are demonstrating what you do NOT know and what you have NOT learned."
3. One more...
"The are times when people should think before they type an email, rather than typing what they are thinking."
4. Heros: A great player once defined the word talent to me. "TALENT is not a God given gift bestowed on a person. TALENT is the DISCIPLINE to practice correctly and productively several hours every day." He used to say, "If I am SO talented, why do I have to practice so hard every day."
It is now time for all of us with trumpet heros to list them. If you do not have any heros that is okay, send in a blank post.
1. BLUE MITCHELL. Blue had a sound like no other. His sound and style set the pace for every trumpet player that followed him in Horace Silver's quintet. Blue is and has always been required listening for every player that Horace has hired. While we discuss embouchures, mouthpieces, revered leadpipes, etc., Blue never thought about any of this. He just put up the horn and played the most pure-from-the-heart melodies that still make me shake my head. You might say that his embouchure was in his chest (his heart). He played perfectly "in the pocket" with a groove like a tank. Yet he sounded witty, happy, whimsical, and free. I did my dissertation on Blue Mitchell. I interviewed dozens of major players and jazz legends. Not one ever said anything bad about Blue or could remember a time when he had said anything bad about another person. He died of cancer at age 49 in 1979 and is sorely missed by everyone that knew him - still...
2. CLARK TERRY. Clark was one of the first people I heard when I was young. He plays as coherently as the top classical players and his interpretation of melody is about as close to the human voice any trumpet has ever come. A prince of a person, his jazz playing is so solid that I only hear answers, no questions. If you have ever met him, you know that there is nothing but positive things to say about him.
3. DOC SEVERINSEN: Doc taught me what the word fire meant. I have every solo and big band recording he made (that I know of) and I have never grown tired of hearing him, even though I played those albums over and over when I was a kid. He is a person that I remember when I am having a bad day, because he ALWAYS makes music fun. One thought of him, and I am back on track. He is the ultimate nice guy, and performed incredibly well on a very high pressure gig for 25 years. Again, I have never met or heard of a player that didn't like him personally.
4. BOBBY SHEW. Bobby gave up a very lucrative career as one of the leading studio players in the L.A. scene. He has been devoted to small group jazz playing and educational residencies and clinics for over 20 years. The list of young players he has kick-started and inspired through his clinics and generously lengthy private lessons is a mile long. While Bobby is not perfect as a human being, he uses some of the experiences in his life to help young people steer away from making the same mistakes. I think I would describe his method sometimes as "tough love," in other words, having the courage to be honest about the things that really matter. He is classy enough to do this one-on-one, never in public (that I have seen). His playing is unmistakably Bobby, and listening to him grow as a jazz player over the years has been a major part of my enjoyment in learning how to play the trumpet.
5. PHIL SMITH. This man rose to the top of Orchestral playing, succeeding some of the most brilliant orchestral players in history (Vacchiano, Gerry Schwarz). He has brought humility and a dedication to his faith in God forward in his music without apologies or shyness. Have I head him miss? Well, of course, we all have. But his misses are so insignificant due to the most incredible creamy smooth sound he produces and the deep intent with which he interprets music.
Other heros (I'll just do my jazz heros, someone else can do classical/orchestral/band heroes heroes) in no particular order (I probably forget about 100):
Charles "Buddy" Bolden, William "Bunk" Johnson, Manuel Perez, Oscar "Papa" Celestin, Joe "King" Oliver, Nick LaRocca, Joseph "Buddy" Petit, Freddie Keppard. Russel Smith, Anatie "Natty" Dominique, Edward Clifton "Ed" Allen, Elmer Chambers, Johny Dunn, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, Thomas Morris, Zilner Randolph, Dewey Jackson, Tommy Ladnier, Paul Marcus, Phil Napoleon, Cuban Bennett, Joe Smith, Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke, James "Bubber" Miley, Bill Coleman, "Doc" Cheatham, Sidney DeParis, Ernest "Red" Nichols, Sterling Bose, Wendell Culley, Shelton Hemphill, George McCullum, Rafael Mendez, Bobby Stark, Rex Stewart, Lammar Wright, Don Albert, Henry "Red" Allen, Roland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan, Jonah Jones, Max Kaminsky, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, Carl "Tatti" Smith, Cladis "Jabbo" Smith, Eddie Tompkins, Ed Lewis, Irving Randolph, Joe Thomas, Paul Webster, Shadrack Collins, Reunald Jones, Sy Oliver, Charles "Cootie" Williams, Francis Williams, Buck Clayton, Bill Dillard, Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge, Louis Prima, Alvin Alcorn, Bob Burnet, Harold "Shorty" Baker, Dud Bascomb, Karl George, Ray Nance, Cork Cornelius, Harry "Ziggy" Elman, Richard Maltby, Emmet Berry, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Bobby Hackett, Taft Jordan, Shorty Sherock, Dick Vance, William "Cat" Anderson, Harry James, Al Killian, Billy May, Freddie Webster, John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, Jimmy Maxwell, Charlie Shavers, Nelson "Cadillac" Williams, Howard McGhee, George Treadwell, Quincy Jones, John Anderson, Chico Alvarez, Rolf Ericson, Joe Morris, Joe Newman, Joe Wilder, Pete Candoli, Willie Cook, Thad Jones, Theodore "Fats" Navarro, Idries Sulieman, Dave Burns, McKinley "Kenny" Dorham, Milton "Shorty" Rogers, Ray Wetzel, Benny Bailey, Bill Dixon, Jimmy Nottingham, Nick Travis, Johnny Coles, Miles Davis, Roger Guerin, Gene Shaw, Buddy Childers , Conte Candoli, Don Fagerquist, Robert "Red" Rodney, Art Farmer, Joe Gordon, Maynard Ferguson, Carl Massey, Bill Berry, Clifford Brown, Sam Noto, Kenny Wheeler, Nat Adderley, Jack Sheldon, Alan Shorter, Louis Smith, Ira Sullivan, Richard Williams, Donald Byrd, Bobby Bradford, Bill Chase, Don Ellis, Ted Curson, Don Cherry, Carmell Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Booker Little, Lee Morgan, Don Sleet, Dewey Johnson, Marvin Stamm, Bob Cary, John Gunter, Chuck Mangione, Franco Ambrosetti, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith, Paul Smoker, Charles Tolliver, John Sneider, Terell Stafford, Scott Wendholdt, Byron Stripling, Ray Vega, Barney Floyd, Michael Mantler, Woody Shaw, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Larry Engstorm, Chase Sanborn, Quido Basso, Tom Harrell, Claudio Roditti, Baikida Carroll, "Hannibal" Marvin Peterson, Bob Doll, Chuch Finley, Bobby Findley, Leroy Jones, Warren Gale, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Sasaki, Frank Campos, Jon Faddis, Stacy Rowles, Louise Baranger, Eric Le Lann, Laurie Frink, Wallace Roney, Wynton Marsalis, Vincent DiMartino, Tom Marriot, Mike Vax, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton Michael Mossman, Ingrid Jensen, Marcus Printup, Tim Hagans...
my fingers are tired. Like I said... some one else do the classical players.
Have a great day!
Dr. Michael Caldwell, Publications Editor
International Trumpet Guild
Please visit: www.trumpetguild.org