Doc...ITG...the definitive story!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetjens, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. trumpetjens

    trumpetjens Pianissimo User

    Mar 14, 2005
    As usual, when things like Youtube are involved (30 second random clips from someone's cellphone) and the telephone game starts (I heard from so-and-so-who-heard-from-that-one), reality and truth never seem to mesh. May I be allowed to put the final (and I would like to think definitive) facts together since I am the one who organized this entire event.

    The Doc Severinsen tribute concert was to honor a man who not a single trumpet player in the world should dare to criticize...ain't nobody walked in his boots so don't think you can even begin to understand the type of career he has had. Doc made it very clear that he was coming up to Canada as a personal favor to me. I loved reading the banter around cyberworld about how he would cancel and was simply being used as an ITG carrot. Of course, Martha Argerich has built an entire career around the will-she-or-won't-she mythology. Trumpet players don't have those kind of cajones...we're just happy to be working at all. So, Doc finished playing with his amazing quartet in Mexico, jumped on three planes to Calgary, drove an hour to Banff, arrived at 12:30 (after midnight!) where we promptly smoked a cigar in the main concert hall while he practised for another 45 minutes. The next day, was a 2 hour private luncheon with Doc, Allen Vizzutti, Mark Gould, Fred Mills, Dave Hickman and Maurice Murphy. I have stories from that luncheon that will never be told...WOW!!! Getting Doc anywhere around the Banff Centre was madness as you can imagine since he was bombarded by old friends and new ones wanting photos and autographs.

    Now to the Youtube clip. This was the first runthrough with every star player who played a solo on the concert (Allen Vizzutti, Sean Jones, Chris Jaudes, Adam Rapa, Walter White, Andrea Tofanelli, Mike Herriott, Ingrid Jensen...pretty serious crew) and several others who were called up from the audience (Dave Hickman, Maurice Murphy, Mark Gould). So before the jazz police get their dander up, go have another donut and remember that certain things are intended to simply be fun.

    On to the show...yes, the 'marathon'. How did it happen? Let me tell y'all. The show was to begin with just Doc and I onstage chatting about his career (my own personal ITG highlight...kid-in-a-candy-store time). It was scheduled to go 10-15 minutes but the vibe was good so it lasted more like 30-35. Top of the program, no one seemed to mind that at all. Concert was to continue with Ole Edvard Antonsen who actually had to cancel due to his touring schedule. That occured about three weeks before ITG. So, I took his 40 minute slot and spread it around with some more of the trumpet stars who played that night...extended their sets from 5-7 minutes to 10-12...remember, they were all doing other things at ITG so everyone who attended the conference was going to hear these people later in a more significant time capacity anyway.

    10 days before ITG, Ole called me from Indonesia to say that he had altered his ridiculous tour schedule and wanted to come to ITG after all...even for only 24, he had never met Doc. Now when Ole Edvard Antonsen calls and says he can play, you make room. Anyone who saw his spectacular musical offering will agree that he is one of the most talented, diverse trumpeters in the history of our instrument. So we added his 40 minute set and I couldn't exactly take away the 40 that I had now redistributed amongst all the other heavies. Pretty easy to see how this concert grew into the 4 hour show that it did.

    It's about 11 pm and Doc is still not on stage to play but he's getting very hungry. No food anywhere so we ordered a large pizza for him. Problem was, even with all those great players hanging out backstage just catching up with each other and telling stories, no one had any cash!!! Dave Hickman to the rescue...he was the only man back there with money (he's always got a few Benjamins on him) so the day was saved and Doc got some food.

    On the stage to play 'Well Git It' with everyone piled on at the end of a long but fantastic night of music making. Only one thing left to do, have a romp through the chart that Doc considers one of the most influential of his career. It was a celebration, a party, a chance to have the kind of fun ridiculous playing that you could ONLY get away with at a trumpet conference with 1,000 trumpet enthusiasts in the audience...especially 4 hours after it had started. (C'mon, even the jazz police throw in Watermelon Man at 2 am when the club has cleared out and you just hope you didn't get a parking ticket). It was also Doc's idea. Everyone up there playing along (Damn, Dave Hickman can swing hard even without a piccolo)...we're not exactly talking about up the urtext version of the original, just a good time like the end credits of Saturday Night Live (which started moments after we ended this shindig).

    Now for the JCIA (J=Jazz...the rest of the acronym should be obvious) who correctly noted that there seemed to be a roadmap problem on stage (oh, the horror!), let me explain that as well. During the two trumpet duel in Well Git It, the lower half of the trumpets did not hear Doc say at rehearsal that we were going to have four choruses of solo instead of the two. Why four choruses? Because he heard Wycliffe Gordon play trombone...that's why! Don't you think there is a reason he was the only non-trumpet soloist invited to ITG this year as a featured artist. Wycliffe has a very effective way of humbling everyone who is anywhere within earshot of his playing prowess. Mark Gould's word's are perfect for him: "Wycliffe Gordon...a force of nature!" So, when half the trumpets came in ahead of cue, they effectively became background shots for Wycliffe instead of the duel that was to take place with the first trumpets (hey, are you going to try and stop Walter White once he has built up a head of steam in leading a section...either would I?). So, when Wycliffe ended his solo, there was trumpet silence while everyone figured out what to do next. The funniest part was the fact that it was a sax player in the band who jumped to the rescue and continued playing...unfortunately, it was on a clarinet so you couldn't hear him and he was sitting behind a standing Chris Jaudes so you couldn't see him either...that boy didn't have a chance! Back to Wycliffe who tore up some more gospel licks and we regrouped after 12 more bars (that's the number in a traditional blues chorus, right officer?) to finish it all off. Indeed, musical murder may have been committed for a moment, but we sure had fun doing it!!!

    Although some people have jumped to the conclusion that Doc could not have enjoyed this evening, nothing could be further from the truth...he had a ball that night and the entire 36 hours he was in Canada. How can I be sure of this? I was with him every minute because the jazz police had given me the green light to be his Secret Service! In fact, after the show we were all up until 3 am with more Cohibas (Canada don't you know) on an outdoor patio. This is an 82 year old man who has energy and enthusiasm that we can all only dream of.

    So, when the gossip mill starts up again about Doc and ITG...if the word 'fiasco' enters the discussion, point them to this email and if you can't have a good chuckle about it after that, then you probably take life way too seriously. People, we blow through coiled tubing that could double as plumbing under sinks in our homes...there's some watery food for thought.

    Jens Lindemann
    Jens Lindemann's Web Quarters
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    you did it again. Definitive post! I am sure that everyone involved had fun! Wish I could have been there!

    As far as YouTube goes, the people that count know better and like anything internet, the ignorant have the "freedom" to post their personal frustrations.

    Jazz in my opinion cannot be "policed". It is a living organism more powerful than any virus or trojan! There is no cure!
  3. MPM

    MPM Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    More like the people that 'know' count! Check out the TH thread ... it's getting pretty good !!!
  4. trumpetjens

    trumpetjens Pianissimo User

    Mar 14, 2005
    Nope...Rowuk had it right the first time...a 30 second Youtube clip of a first runthrough is no indicator of anything other than somebody had a cell phone handy during a sight reading session. The so called people who 'know' formed an opinion on what they saw based on that clip and/or sitting at the concert. Of course, this is why the definitive story needed to be told. There has been an unfortunate tone to some email messages that were simply not fair to Doc or the other star players that night. It is important to know as many facts as possible before forming an open written opinion. The facts of what exactly happened that night are now on the table so that people can be more gracious...after all, we are supposed to be in this to help each other out, right?

    Jens Lindemann
    Jens Lindemann's Web Quarters
  5. bilboinsa

    bilboinsa Piano User

    Jan 24, 2006
    San Antonio, TX
    It is sad that ANY negative vibe comes out of such a great time and event as surrounds our passion (more than a hobby to many of us) such as the ITG conference.

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