Saturday, February 18, 2012

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Trumpet in the tradition
with Byron Stripling

This week, our video spotlight shines on trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling, who's coming to town next week to do an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis and perform on Friday and Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

Stripling, who will turn 51 in April, was born in Atlanta, the son of a classically trained singer and choir director, and he actually has a couple of connections to the St. Louis area in his past. His youth was spent in several locations, including Atlanta, Kentucky, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas and right here in St. Louis, before he enrolled at the Eastman School Of Music with plans to become a classical trumpeter.

Then during his freshman year, Stripling met trumpet legend and St. Louis native Clark Terry, who offered him a 12-week tour of Europe as part of his big band. After completing the tour, Stripling went back to school, but ultimately left again just three months before graduation to go on the road with Lionel Hampton. After a year, Stripling took a job with the Woody Herman Orchestra, and then in 1985, joined the Count Basie Orchestra.

In 1988, he was selected to play the lead in the musical Satchmo: America's Musical Legend, and he has continued to perform music associated with Louis Armstrong ever since. Stripling also has developed several different shows that he performs with orchestras, appearing so far with more than 50 different symphony and pops orchestras as well as with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and the GRP All Star Big Band.

Stripling currently is the artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, a job he's had since 2002, and he continues to make guest appearances with other orchestras, work as a clinician, and tour with his own quartet. He has recorded three albums as leader and is featured with the New York All Stars on two CDs paying tribute to Louis Armstrong. Stripling also can be heard on recordings by Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Lena Horne, Sonny Rollins, Paquito D'Rivera, Gerry Mulligan, J.J. Johnson, Carla Bley, Jim Hall, Jack McDuff, Freddie Cole, Carol Sloane, Benny Green and the Joe Henderson Big Band, as well as various Broadway cast albums and film soundtracks.

Today's clips feature Stripling playing in a variety of musical settings, starting with his own big band in the first clip up above. The song is "Shine," and it was recorded during one of the trumpeter's Louis Armstrong tributes back in 2000 in Bern Switzerland.

Down below, you can hear Stripling dig into another traditional number, "Tiger Rag," with the Boston Pops Orchestra, complete with a teaser ending.

Below that, there are a couple of clips showing Stripling performing with college jazz bands: a 2007 performance of trumpeter Allen Vizzutti's modern chart "Zamba" with the Illinois State University band, and another old standard, "On The Sunny Side of the Street," with the jazz ensemble from Utah State University.

The fifth clip goes back to Stripling's days with Woody Herman, showing the trumpeter's feature number "Dog Day Blues" as performed way back in 1984. We close today's sampler with an example of Stripling's vocal skills, as he works out on the old Joe Turner blues number "Jump For Joy" (also recorded under the title "Rool "em Pete" with an all-star group of local players from Columbus including organist Bobby Floyd, drummer Bob Breithaupt and bassist Chris Berg.

For more about Byron Stripling, check out this podcast interview he recently recorded with Jazz St. Louis' Phil Dunlap; and this 2007 interview he did with radio station KJZZ.

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