Pat’s Top 40 Before 40: Trumpet Players

17. Dave Douglas – Charms of the Night Sky (1998)

People always ask me “what trumpeters do you like?” I know they don’t mean anything by that question, but when I hear it I am reminded that I am musician who happens to play trumpet. I sometimes wish I picked something easier, something that didn’t transpose, something that required less of my body. But yet all of those “obstactles” contribute to my love of the instrument.

Anyway, my answers inevitably involve “Dave Douglas” in some way because in Dave, I hear a musician who also happened to play the trumpet, whose body is in deep service to the horn, and whose ideas always challenge my perception of what is possible on the horn and in music.

It was through Katie Malloch that I first heard the Tiny Bell Trio. Before this, I thought all music needed bass. Dave’s playing in that group highlighted a lot of Eastern European sounds that I found attractive. My first lift was “Red Emma.” I remember finishing this in the library at Grenfell College in Corner Brook in 2001.

For a while, Dave ran the Banff Jazz and Creative Music Workshop. Hard to imagine what Canadian jazz would be like without Banff. It connects people, builds relationships and experience, and is a great place to make high end recordings. I owe my entire professional life to the residencies I’ve done at Banff.

I admire Dave’s tone and flexibility, and by extension I admire his philosophy of the music business. He’s managed to channel his distinct spirit through a massive variety of musical systems and forms.


18. Ron Miles Trio (1999)

There is a great man named Walter Barr who comes to Newfoundland to adjudicate. He worked with Ron Miles and hipped me to hip and many others at a very early age. Ron is a consumate practicer. Every spare minute, his horn is on his face. One time on a cruise contract, I worked with a drummer who new Ron well. He gave me Ron’s number and I just phoned him up for a chat. Great guy. Got to hang with him in NYC at IAJE and he was again so open and warm.

Ron is a very unusual player, uniting the Tristano-Marsh language with the textures of Lester Bowie and Don Cherry. He doesn’t make records. He puts out events. Ron is heavy.


19. Wynton Marsalis – Standard Time Volume 2 (1991)

Standard Time Volume 2 was a record I robbed from Mark Neary’s mom, along with Harry Connick Jr.’s “Red Light Blue Light” and Michael Bolton’s “Soul Provider.”

Another time backstage at Massey Hall (I don’t know how I end up in these situations) I got to hang with Wynton. All the stories appear to be true: that when younger students are in his presence his focus is directly on them. He is anxious to hear where they are and what they can do. Wynton brightens up a room, as he did in Victoria BC stopping by Hermann’s a few years ago. I was lucky to spend a few moments with him onstage then.

Wynton’s connection between head, heart, ideas, and execution is seamless. Nothing is impossible. I’m over people dumping on him for being a “traditionalist” or a “whatever-ist” because I would hope no one would hold me accountable for things I said when I was 19. There are moments here that defy impossibilty.

20. Miles Davis – Live in Tokyo (1964)

 This is the record I tell students to check out if you want to hear interaction within a rhythm section. Herbie and Tony are one. Sam Rivers really slays here too. Amazing that didn’t get/keep/choose the gig in the end. The road not taken.

One of the very first LPs I purchased was a beat up copy of Kind of Blue at Readagain Bookstore in Mount Pearl. It doesn’t matter if I’m at Starbucks, or on hold, or buying a pear. Hearing that music makes the world more important.

 21. Jean Martin Trio – At The Farm (2003)

The Get Together Weather trio came to Newfoundland in 1997 or so. I had never experienced live looping before. This was the same instrumentation as Tiny Bell yet a completely different palate. I got hungry for more open playing after seeing this group.

There are moments on this record that were so powerful upon first listen that I was sure it was dreaming. I studied with Kevin Turcotte from 2000-03. Turcotte is a profound influence on me as a human first (be nice to everyone and do your best and have the biggest ears possible). He put me on the right path, which I continue to deviate from and return to.

You can hear Jean co-create textures with Tanya Tagaq and her great band.

22. Don Cherry – Art Deco (1988)

“I realize all these things, but I realize most of all that the trumpet to me is an amplifier of the voice. That’s the way I want to approach it. Also, I think of it as a form of nature, or dance and movement. Where I’m playing phrases, or maybe something chromatic, I’m not trying to show technique as a virtuoso, I’m thinking in relation to movement or maybe nature and wind, how the trees are blowing. In terms of dance, because dance is always an important part of music. Dance and movement and the sound of the voice are very important, no matter what type of music I’m playing.” Don Cherry.

Note James Clay on this record. I contend there’s no finer version of Body & Soul out there. His hollow tone blends in with the wilderness. You could listen to this anywhere and it would fit in.

Don Cherry flowed with time. The organic way. The way of the organic society.


23. Dizzy Gillespie – Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band (1968)

Another story I’ve told a zillion times but never wrote down. Dizzy came to Newfoundland in a band by Moe Koffman which included Barry Elmes, Bernie Senensky, Ed Bickert, and Pat Collins. I didn’t play trumpet at the time (1990) but I had such a marvelous time at the concert that I got one shortly thereafter. I could see that there was a large amount of inside jokes on stage. By no means could I understand these sonic secrets that were hiding in plain sight. But it looked like a lot of fun. It was a club I wanted to join. Later, as a part of this concert I would consider myself lucky to have seen Ed Bickert. I saw every concert he gave in Newfoundland from 1990 until he retired about a decade later. But that’s another story….

The tune “Things To Come” hit me like two trains in the ears. The range and speed, sure. But the humour. I am attracted to Dizzy because of the light and laughter in his music. I have this picture of Bird and Diz in my office. I see it literally everyday. I like that Trane is in the shot, staring into this distance. If these guys didn’t do what they did, my entire life would be different.


24. Freddie Stone – In Season (1992)

 At Sound Symposium, I snagged a cassette copy of In Season and damn near wore it out. Freddie Stone speaks to me. I’ve experimented a little with multi-tracked trumpets and loops, coming out of Freddie. A great teacher, I’ve been lucky to hang with some people who got under his wing. Surely his talent deserves much wider recognition.


25. Rob McConnell – The Best Damn Band in the Land (1974)

 In 2003, I had a grant to stay in Toronto and study with Kevin Turcotte. I was out all the time, hearing bands and learning from each of them. One night I heard the McConnell tentet play at The Rex and got to chatting with Guido Basso. A true gentleman of the music. After dealing with my barrage of youthful enthusiasum, he even drove me home to the residence I was staying at Bay/Gerrard, a very short walk. Rule #2, always be kind.

Guido’s musicianship is impeccable. Every idea comes out (seemingly) without effort but obviously it’s the result of a lot of work. The Boss Brass are played in my home extremely regularly. In a way, the group has affected my appreciation of other big bands. These guys were so good, how can we aspire to this standard?

On another occassion, I had the privilege of spending the day with Rob McConnell at his home. I arrived early afternoon and left way, way past dark. He was extremely candid. He offered really direct and specific critique about some music I brought. He reminisced about Thad Jones. He complained quite a lot about many, many things, and above all shared dozens of stories with me. I cannot believe I didn’t think to record the day.

The guys in this band set the pace that we are still trying to match. Living in Victoria, I get to see Ian McDougall from time to time. There’s another gentleman of the music. Many of my friends know that I am a Canadian jazz-o-phile and I am always on the lookout for records from CTL, etc. These guys worked their butts off and made incredible careers for themselves. Similar to Diz, they are part of a scene and a brotherhood I long for.