I recently made a post talking about trendiness in jazz, and in previous posts I constructed my own personal dream big band, consisting of my favorites of all time, living or deceased.
I’ve decided to mix the two. I’ve created a big band that consists of living musicians that I consider to be some of the trendiest or hippest or most visible musicians today. Just like my original dream big band posts, this is purely my opinion, and no doubt every person out there might construct something different (which is why I always ask for you to post yours).
That being said, enjoy (or hate) this grouping of musicians that I think are doing what it takes to keep jazz entertaining, edgy, fun, exciting, trendy, hip, etc., etc., etc. In part 1, the trumpets and saxes!
Lead Trumpet: Arturo Sandoval
Arturo is still the big name these days in screaming trumpet players. It is rare to attend a show of his and not be a part of a excited, roaring audience.
Watch Arturo Sandoval play Groovin’ High:
Second Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis
I don’t know if it helped or hurt his “trendiness rating” by recording with Willie Nelson recently, but appearances on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report still make him the most visible jazz musician alive.
Wynton’s trendiness shown in an IPod ad:
Third Trumpet: Roy Hargrove
Roy represented all trumpeters in 2008 with an album that was likely the best jazz album of the year. Always with a hip band and getting better all the time.
Hargrove’s solo on Impressions with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker:
Fourth Trumpet: Terence Blanchard
This guy oozes cool. Someone who absorbed every minute he spent with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and made his trendiness known by writing and recording scores for multiple Spike Lee films.
Terence in Tokyo 2005:
Fifth Trumpet: Nicholas Payton
He has a tendency to become your favorite trumpet player after you see him perform live. He is extremely versatile and his recordings show a wide range of talents.
Watch Nicholas Payton play Bags Groove:
1st Alto: Kenny Garrett
Whatever it was that he picked up from working with Miles Davis, I’m happy he did. He is extremely inventive and entertaining, and has managed to soak up some of that edginess from Miles in the 80’s.
Kenny playing Wayne’s Thing:
2nd Alto: Maceo Parker
So what if he advertises himself at 98% funk and 2% jazz? Every band needs some funkiness (Just ask James Brown when Maceo was his music director). His shows are as entertaining as it gets.
Watch Maceo Parker perform Pass the Peas:
1st Tenor: Branford Marsalis
Although he might have been considered a little bit dry during his short run as Jay Leno’s band leader on the Tonight Show, it was network exposure of a great jazz musician, earning him trendy points. He also continues to produce some of the most artistic albums in modern jazz.
Branford shows off his trendiness playing Roxanne with Sting:
2nd Tenor: Joshua Redman
The coolest man holding a sax these days, and maybe the smartest. The Ivy League grad has put out some of the coolest recordings in the last decade.
Joshua Redman and Stevie Wonder pay tribute to Duke Ellington:
Baritone Sax: Ronnie Cuber
A ton of power and energy. No wimps in this all star band!
Ronnie plays Filthy McNasty:
The rest of the band next time!!!