Saturday, April 11, 2009

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Jon Faddis

This week, our video spotlight shines on trumpeter Jon Faddis, who will be in St. Louis next Saturday, April 18 to play at the Touhill Performing Arts Center as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.

Faddis, who's now 55, emerged on the international jazz scene in the early 1970s as a teenage prodigy mentored by Dizzy Gillespie. Playing bop and mainstream swing at a time when fusion was in vogue for most musicians his age, Faddis was a youthful traditionalist a decade before Wynton Marsalis and the other "Young Lions" of the 1980s. He developed personal relationships with many older jazz musicians in addition to Diz, and as his career has progressed, has become very involved in jazz education, passing the knowledge he gleaned from those veterans on to new generations of players.

Faddis is known as a excellent technician who's equally at home soloing in a small group or playing lead trumpet in a big band. With that in mind, here are some video clips that show off his versatility and, in the process, also may shed some light on his connections to the jazz tradition.

In the window up above, you can see Faddis, his quintet, and his mentor Gillespie performing the bop standard "Blue 'N Boogie" at a jazz festival in Japan. (The other musicians in the clip are uncredited, but sharp-eyed viewers also may recognize St. Louis native Greg Osby as the saxophonist.)

Down below, you'll see Faddis swinging with another jazz trumpet legend, St. Louis' own Clark Terry, as they play "Straight Up" with a Japanese rhythm section consisting of pianist Masuda Mikio, bassist Kawahara Hideo and drummer Okudaira Shingo. Finally, below that is a clip of Faddis in 2006 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, demonstrating his high note prowess by playing the screaming trumpet part at the end of Duke Ellington's "Rockin' In Rhythm."

(Edited 4/15/09 to fix a garbled sentence.)

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