Even in the bible, when God wanted the people to really pay attention, they didn’t blow a saxophone – they blew a trumpet. The trumpet. The first “star” instrument of jazz. While the sax, which I dearly love, has always been the instrument of “cool”, the trumpet has been the instrument of “cocky” and “brash”. Therefore, the best trumpet players of their times, from Satchmo to Wynton and beyond, have often been considered to be the leader of that era’s jazz movement.
In Jazz Arts Charlotte’s THE JAZZ ROOM, this weekend, we will have the finest trumpet players in the region, paying homage to the some of the legends of their instrument. Our trumpet stars will be paying homage to some of the true legends of jazz and their own personal trumpet heroes, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Kenny Wheeler, and Clark Terry. But you’ll note that they have done a lot of impressive work in their own careers.
“Often, trumpeters can be all the chefs in one kitchen and we know where that gets us. But I thrive in a welcoming space where chefs can share and compare recipes,” describes Ashlin Parker of experiences like this.
Ariel Mejia, the youngest of our group, is a graduate of Charlotte’s South Mecklenburg H.S. and Jazz Arts Charlotte’s education programs. He recently returned from an acclaimed concert tour in China, with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of jazz trumpet star, Sean Jones. Charlotte native Ashlin Parker, is a Grammy winner, now based in New Orleans, where he is a member of piano legend, Ellis Marsalis’ group and leads the badass ensemble called Trumpet Mafia. Columbia S.C.’s Mark Rapp, is a leader of the burgeoning Columbia Jazz Scene, who has recorded a critically acclaimed album with saxophonist Don Braden and a number of fine projects under his own name. He was also featured on Disney’s outstanding jazz album, Everybody Wants to be a Cat. Eleazar Shafer is, for my money, one of the best young cats on the horn today. He never fails to set audiences on fire, with his group, Machine Gun Preacher or in many of the sets that he performs around town. And D.C. native Al Strong, who released a dynamite debut album, Love Strong, in 2016, is one of the true leaders of the blistering jazz movement in the Triangle area, with his killer performances at Durham’s Sharp 9 Gallery.
Our last Trumpet Summit, in 2017, is still considered by many, to be one of the finest weekends in our six-year history. We expect nothing less this weekend, as we move to the Booth Playhouse.
“To me, the power of music is the sense that you are part of community, especially in Jazz, that has bridged divides and gave respect to all.” Matt Postle.
The choice is yours: you can watch the impressive video clips that accompany this post or you can feel the fire of these amazing musicians, live. We know that you’ll make the right call. We’ll see you, this weekend, in Jazz Arts Charlotte’s THE JAZZ ROOM. Friday, 9/20 at 6:00 and 8:15. Saturday’s sets are at 7:00 and 9:15. Truly, the trumpet shall sound, in Charlotte!
Author, Curtis Davenport
Curtis is a jazz historian, blogger and veteran radio personality. He currently produces the popular blog, CurtJazz.com and the web-based radio station, CurtJazz Radio. Follow Curtis on his Curt’s Jazz Cafe, CurtJazz Radio, Facebook and Twitter.