Archive for May, 2015

KNOW YOU BY HEART – on the trumpet; a Smooth Jazz ballad by Dave Koz

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Dave Koz is a well-respected saxophonist who has been a monumental force in the Smooth Jazz world for many years. He has composed & recorded a multitude of notable & recognizable melodies—such as ‘Faces of the Heart’, which was once used as a theme to the TV soap opera ‘General Hospital’. Other pieces of his worth mentioning include ‘You Make Me Smile’, ‘Castle of Dreams’, ‘Emily’, ‘Beneath the Moonlit Sky’, ‘Together Again’, ‘Love is on the Way’, etc. However, this one may very well be my favorite.

 

I recently self-recorded this beautiful ballad, with the assistance of a very nice backing track (as provided by the ‘Saxophone Community.com’). It is another Dave Koz composition, to which I spun my own interpretation on. I start out on Flugelhorn & then switch to Trumpet for a build effect into the climax & higher notes. I also ‘peppered in’ a 2nd part (harmony) throughout the piece—a 2nd Flugelhorn.

 

Just in time for Wedding season 2015, here is my latest slide-video.

I hope you enjoy my version of ‘Know You By Heart‘, & the collage-storyboard that I came up with to support it.

 


Direct link to video on Youtube

 

The audio portion only of this slide-video (& of course discounting the backing track or use of Dave Koz’s melody) is copyrighted © by Peter J Blume, 4/2015.

 

Thanks for listening!–PjB

 

My performance here is dedicated in memoriam to 3 great trumpeters who have already passed early this 2015: Clark Terry, Lew Soloff & Rolf Smedvig.

 

 

Clark Terry was one of the original pioneers in American Jazz—specifically within Swing & Bebop. He played with EVERYBODY, including Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band, etc. Durclarkterry300ing his 70+ years career, he appeared on over 900 recordings, & also mentored many younger musicians, including Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Dianne Reeves, & Wynton Marsalis…among thousands of others. Although his sound on both the trumpet & the rounder-toned flugelhorn (which he helped to popularize as a jazz instrument) was highly personal & easily identifiable, his incredible versatility allowed him to fit it snugly into a wide range of musical contexts. He died on February 21st at the age of 94.

 

*Interesting to note; Mr Terry had served our Country during WWII by enlisting in the Navy in 1942, where he played in the US Naval Band while stationed in Chicago. Sadly ironic; at his military honored funeral, the US Navy provided & employed the services of a “fake bugle” (which, at the press of a button, plays digital pre-recorded version of “Taps” through it’s bell). Although I’m sure it was not intended—talk about “a slap in the face” to a man’s life’s work!

 

 

 

 

Bergman_Sonare_0302.tiffLew Soloff is probably best known for his work with the classic rock group ‘Blood Sweat & Tears’. His incredibly acrobatic trumpet feature in their hit ‘Spinning Wheel’ had become an instant signature solo for him. He had joined the group in 1968, (having replaced Randy Brecker) & his trumpet sound was essential to the success of that band—which won a Grammy Award for ‘Album of the Year’. But he left the group after only 5 years—thankful of having experienced life as a sort of rock star, but explaining that there was never enough improvisational freedom. He then went on to do session work for a barrage of A-list artists such as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Lou Reed, etc. He was the lead trumpeter of both the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band & the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, & he also was a member of the Manhattan Brass Quintet. Prior to BS&T, Lew had played with Maynard Ferguson & Tito Puente, & had performed/recorded with the likes of Gil Evans, Paul Simon, Dizzy Gillespie, etc.

 

Lew died unexpectedly of a heart attack on March 8th. Like Clark Terry, Lew Soloff had also served in the military during a time of war (Vietnam)—as a member of the 42nd Infrantry Division Band (NYC). Because Soloff was of the Jewish faith, the burial was to take place, apparently according to custom, the very next day. Having learned from the huge mistake made for Mr. Terry’s funeral, West Point was quick to do the right thing, &  provided a REAL bugler to perform ‘Taps’ for Mr. Soloff’s military honored burial service.

 

**On a personal note, I myself am currently in the process of recording a Classical Trumpet project–at Sweatshop Studios, in upper Westchester, NY—due out hopefully sometime in 2016. The owner & engineer of that studio (Shaul Dover) was very close friends with Lew, & so I had hoped of the possible opportunity to meet him—which unfortunately did not happen before his untimely death. He was 71 years young.

 

 

 

 

ROLF_Smedivg_04Rolf Smedvig was a Classical trumpet prodigy; his mother had been a violinist with the Seattle Symphony & his father was a music teacher & composer. He first performed as a soloist with the Seattle Symphony at age 13. In 1971 while studying at Tanglewood, Leonard Bernstein chose him to be the trumpet soloist in the world premiere of Bernstein’s “Mass”, composed for the opening of the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. And while studying at Boston University, he became the youngest musician to hold a steady post with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1972—at age 19. In 1979, before the age of 25, he then even won the principal trumpet chair. But less than a year later, he signed with Columbia Artists Management & left the BSO to focus more on solo work, chamber music, conducting…& further developing the brass quintet he had co-founded in 1972—the now legendary “Empire Brass”.

 

In 1970, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas had introduced the brass quintet’s 5 founding members to each other while at Tanglewood. They chose to name the group after NY being the “Empire State”—when 3 of them had been performing together in NYC & began considering themselves an ensemble. Since that time, the legacy & contributions made by Rolf Smedvig & his Empire Brass, have been perhaps as paramount & occurring parallel to those of the infamous (original) Canadian Brass—and maybe even similar to those of the (older) Philadelphia Brass Ensemble days, with Gilbert Johnson. It broke through many musical boundaries, discovered vast new repertoire territories, & laid much of the groundwork for future trumpet/brass players.

 

Smedvig was a trumpet-virtuoso; considered to be one of the world’s finest exponents of the instrument—arguably 2nd only to Maurice Andre, who had once been Rolf’s teacher. He displayed pyrotechnic agility, a distinct & incredibly rich tone quality, & like the great Wynton Marsalis, was a master at Classical improvisation.

 

Rolf died unexpectedly of a heart attack on April 27th, at the young age of 63. He is survived by his 2nd wife & their 4 children. His 1st wife is now re-married to James Taylor, the infamous singer/songwriter.

 

 

 

 

 

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