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20 February 2014

Fire of the Latin Trumpet: my take on ‘Tico Tico no Fuba’

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My 1st real exposure to the song ‘Tico Tico’ came when I was a very young boy, & I would listen to my father occasionally play it on his German-Bavarian zither in the evenings at home. It stuck out to me because it sounded very different from the more traditional stuff (which I also liked) that he would usually play—it had more bounce in its rhythm & a catchier melody. My next exposure to it a few years later though enlightened me as to where & how this song could be taken much further—it was on a record that my parents had brought home after having met world-class accordion-champion, Mario Tacca, through my Uncle Dieter (also an accordionist). By that time, I was already starting to take up the trumpet, so I borrowed the sheet music from my Dad & began learning the song. At that time, I didn’t comprehend the need for transposing, so I learned it in the key expressly as written—A (harmonic) minor. As time went on & my musical / trumpet skills progressed, I began to experiment & embellish on the melody & its harmonic structure.

Around that same time I had also heard my very 1st Canadian Brass record—which featured trumpeter Ronald Romm on the song ‘La Virgen de la Macarena’. From its title, it was obviously very Latin in flavor, & also very acrobatic! I was mesmerized by this song too & was able to somehow get my hands on the sheet music for it, & so I started learning that one as well. At some point, I started putting the 2 pieces together—I really liked using the opening fanfare of La Virgen de la Macarena as a prequel to Tico Tico—hence the arrangement here, using 3 octaves! On some level, it kinda reminds me of the structure to Louis Armstrong’s ‘West End Blues’—although by no means am I holding myself up anywhere’s near to his high regard. But I am still convinced that it was a good & interesting idea.

La Virgen de la Macarena” is attributed to having been written (or at least ‘perfected’) by Rafael Mendez, an amazing trumpeter / solo-virtuoso from Mexico who lived & became famous during the early-to-mid 1900’s. “Tico Tico (No Fuba)” was written in 1917 by Brazilian composer, Zequinha de Abreu. Its title roughly translates to “Sparrows in the Cornmeal” & is usually set to a Samba rhythm; for my own solo trumpet version, I took it out of that context & played it more ad-lib. Although not the 1st take, it WAS done all in 1 take—without any overdubs or punched-in corrections. There are also no electronic enhancements—other than some straight reverb that was used directly at the time of the recording. Hence, my recording here is obviously far from perfect & there are some spots that are definitely not articulated as clearly as I would have liked. But the trade-off value is that I felt something in its authenticity would have been lost if I started poking myself back in to try & clean things up; & thus to me the benefits of just leaving whatever is there in the original take far outweighs the alternative.

The audio recording portion (only) of this video is copyrighted by Peter J Blume, © 2013. It was arranged & performed by solo trumpeter Peter J Blume.

*Please be advised that despite some of the slides, I do NOT condone the brutal & cruel act of Bullfighting. Please know that no further animals were harmed—at least for the making of MY slide-video. However, its cultural tradition has inspired some great music—as has the notoriously infamous physical beauty of Brazilian Women.

For more info, please visit my website at:

http://peterjblume.com/

I humbly dedicate my modest performance here to all my Latin-Jazz musician heroes, which include: Arturo Sandoval, Claudio Roditi, Paquito D’Rivera, Michel Camilo, Dave Valentin, Rafael Mendez, etc…as well as to my Father (Fritz Blume), my Uncle Dieter Link, Mario Tacca, & Ronald Romm—with the original Canadian Brass. Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, the Father of Modern Jazz, had also made a recording of Tico Tico; however I will further dedicate something more to him as well at a later time.

Thanks for listening…& for your interest.

-PjB

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