The Jazz Journey series returns for the fourth concert in its 2023 series of jazz music exploration, with “Trumpetastic.” The Prescott Jazz Summit All-Star Combo will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 13, in the Elks Crystal Hall, on the third floor of the Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St.
Trumpetastic will explore the rich history of this great instrument that Louis Armstrong made famous. Trumpeters Mike Vax, Louise Baranger, Joe Leyva and Dave Scott will bring you an evening of trumpet sounds from Armstrong to Al Hirt, King Oliver to Clark Terry, Harry James to Miles Davis, and more. They are joined by Howard Alden on guitar, Selwyn Reams on bass, and Ken French on drums.
Vax, a trumpet player and the band leader, explained that the trumpet has always been one of the most important instruments in the Jazz idiom.
“The early musicians in New Orleans were very untrained, so when they improvised solos, it was all based on the melody because they didn’t really have any education in music theory and chord changes and all of that,” Vax said. “Louis Armstrong was one of the first to actually improvise more over the chord changes than just from the melody. And that really changed jazz forever.”
Along with the music, the performance will include historical facts and anecdotes about the music and the musicians who have performed America’s True Art Form for over 100 years.
“I’ll talk a little bit about the history of some of the players,” Vax said. “I’ll talk about Louis Armstrong, talk about Henry James. I know I’ll talk about Al Hirt because Al Hirt was a good friend of mine when I lived in New Orleans. So, part of it will be their influence on other trumpet players over the years. All of those people had a huge influence on trumpet players that came after them.”
The trumpet is one of the most physical instruments to play, according to Vax.
“A lot of people don’t realize but when you’re playing trumpet, you’re working against a lot of back pressure from the instrument coming back into your body,” he said. “It takes a lot of years to really master. Although, who has ever completely mastered it? But it takes a lot of years to gain the control and the endurance and stuff that you need to play it properly.”
Beer, wine and other beverages are available for purchase at the performance. Parties of four or six will be given their own table (as available). Larger and smaller parties may be combined or divided to accommodate all guests. All seating will be assigned before entry. For special accommodations, email email@example.com.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.prescottelkstheatre.org, or call 928-756-2844.
Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.