Friday Favorites 10/11/2013

trumpetI own three guitars … a beautiful Martin D-28, a middle of the road Martin X-Series that’s easier to finger, and a low end Yamaha classical guitar.   Don’t ask how often I play.  I’ve reverse strung the Yamaha for my left-handed son, so at least it gets some attention.  We also own a piano, a middle of the road Baldwin console style.  Guitar and piano are my two favorite instruments.  Fortunately, the rankings get a bit muddled below piano … otherwise, I’d likely have several other instruments gathering dust around the house.  In no particular order, I am partial to saxophone (especially tenor), violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, and French horn.  Oh, yes, and clarinet in the proper hands … say Benny  Goodman, Artie Shaw or Acker Bilk.  And there’s certainly a lot to be said for a well played bass.  See what I mean?  Muddled.  Plop me down in front a symphony orchestra and I every instrument’s my favorite.  Except, perhaps, for the triangle and the gong.   My third-favorite instrument depends on what I’ve been listening to this week, and this week, I’ve been noticing some very nice trumpet work by Chris Botti.  So trumpet it is.  I know.  This is Friday Favorites … does it break some obscure blogging axiom to feature my (sometimes) third favorite instrument?

I grew up listening to my Mom’s collection of big band recordings, and I was hooked on the trumpet from the moment I heard Artie Shaw’s recording of Stardust with Billy Butterfield’s iconic trumpet solo as well as Shaw on clarinet and Jack Jenney on trombone.  Recorded in 1940, it is regarded as one of the greatest big band recordings of all time.

By college, I’d moved on to Maynard Furguson, who dazzled audiences by playing accurately in a much higher register than any trumpeter at the time.  This is a recording of another of my favorite standards, the Hoagy Carmichael tune, Tenderly, by the Maynard Feguson orchestra.

With all due respect to the many talented trumpet players I’ve followed, there’s no one quite like Wynton Marsalis.   According to Wikipedia, he was born in New Orleans in 1961, Marsalis was the youngest musician admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center, where he won the school’s Harvey Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student. Wynton moved to New York City to attend Juilliard in 1979.  He has studied and played with the most influential artists in jazz and, in 1995, hosted a National Public Radio an educational television series on jazz and classical music entitled Making the Music.  He’s received 9 Grammy awards and is the first person to receive the award in both classical music and jazz.  He also won the Pulitzer Prize in music.  He’s been a leading advocate for music education, especially among youth and is an Artistic Director for the Lincoln Center.  Here is his interpretation of Stardust at the 1999 Jazz Trumpet Summit.

Simply beautiful.

So there you have it … two of my favorite trumpet standards by three of my favorite players.  Yes, playing my third favorite instrument.  Maybe next week it will be sax.  Or cello.  Who knows. Have a musical weekend.

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4 Comments on “Friday Favorites 10/11/2013”

  1. elainecanham Says:

    Thank you. That Wynton Marsalis piece was lovely. Stardust was the one ofthe first tunes I learnt to play on my clarinet, and never in a million years would it sound like that.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed … he is an amazing musician. Some of his classical work is also wonderful. For some reason, I’ve always been fond of standards from substantially before my time/

  2. cherperz Says:

    I would be hard pressed to rank what musical instruments I like in any type of order. The piano, guitar, violin and sax would be some of the top choices. I hadn’t thought too much about the trumpet but I LOVED the Artie Shaw Stardust clip.

    I don’t play any instruments. As I thought it would be a great thing to know, I insisted my own kids learn some type of instrument. They both chose the piano. My daughter adored playing and became quite good. She comes over to my house and plays from time to time which thrills me. My son learned to appreciate music but didn’t care for the practice that goes with piano playing.


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