Over the next couple of weeks, I will be piecing together, section by section, my ideal jazz big band. This band will be comprised simply of my favorites, and there are no requirements as to who may be a part of this band, including whether or not the musician is alive or dead. I encourage you to offer your opinion on how your dream big band might differ.
The band will consist of 21 members: five trumpets, five saxes, four trombones, piano, bass, drums, guitar, two singers, and a bandleader.
Today, I submit to you the trumpet section. Enjoy!
Lead Trumpet: Arturo Sandoval
A lead trumpet player has to be able to hit any high note with the same quality of tone as if he or she was playing middle range notes. Jazz virtuoso Arturo Sandoval was probably my easiest pick for this band. Arturo is easily the most versatile trumpet player in all aspects. Amazing tone, an unmatchable range, fast fingers, and technically perfect. A dream lead trumpet player for any band.
Watch Arturo Sandoval play Cherokee:
Second Trumpet: Wynton Marsalis
Second chair in a trumpet section is typically the featured soloist, so my second chair has to be extremely creative and entertaining. To me Wynton is as creative and interesting as it gets when playing a trumpet solo. He has been a featured soloist in nearly every band he has played in, which is why he sits in chair two as the sections featured soloist.
Watch Wynton Marsalis play Harmonique:
Third Trumpet: Freddie Hubbard
I have often credited Freddie Hubbard as my all-time favorite trumpet player. In his prime you could hear him solo for ten minutes and never hear him repeat a single lick. Freddie is the guy that could play a fast solo or a beautiful ballad…no matter the solo, you would never get bored.
Watch Freddie Hubbard play Straight Life:
Fourth Trumpet: Miles Davis
Traditionalists may hold it against me for seating Miles at fourth chair in this section, if for no other reason than his legend, but this is my band and this is where I seat him. Miles gives this section personality and genius. He might not play as high or as fast as the others, but his personality, sound and perspectives on improvisation truly perfect this trumpet section.
Watch Miles Davis play So What:
Fifth Trumpet: Thad Jones
I actually like this band with a four-piece trumpet section, with Thad stepping out on the stage to be featured on ballads on the flugelhorn. I still don’t know if there is a horn player who can play a ballad as sweetly as Thad Jones.
Watch Thad Jones play Only For Now from Suite For Pops 2:
So far, a great start to my dream band. Let me know what you think! And I hope you enjoyed the great recordings!
Next time, the trombone section.