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Trumpet Talk: Jon Faddis At Jazz Standard

The talented Jon Faddis (born July 24, 1953) was 15 when he met Dizzy Gillespie and attached himself to the jazz giant. Faddis remembers showing up with a stack of LPs for Gillespie to autograph. The legend was impressed and took Faddis under his wing.

After he moved from Oakland to New York, a young Faddis made mischief in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Village Vanguard. He would crouch down low, leaving a gap in the back row of trumpets. Then, for his solo or a section part, his tall frame would zoom into sight, and you could hear a remarkable similarity to Gillespie's inspirational, spirited style, complete with meteor showers of high notes.

Faddis' stratospheric playing is legendary, but that's not his only power. At a Louis Armstrong seminar in a high-ceilinged lecture hall at Columbia University, Faddis once performed "West End Blues" unamplified and raised the roof some more, Satchmo-style. He has control and a conversational style; his trumpet talks to you.

Faddis directs Jazz Performance at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in New York and artistically directs the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. For 10 seasons, he led the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra.

On this episode of JazzSet, Faddis plays music from his CD Teranga. The title describes the tradition of hospitality in Senegal, where visitors in need are nurtured as if they were members of the family. Onstage at the hospitable Jazz Standard in New York, two Senegalese percussionists join the Faddis quartet.

Originally recorded Aug. 3, 2006 at Jazz Standard.


Writer Jill McManus, recording engineer Duke Markos with Steven Weiss and Yujin Cha. Thanks to Seth Abramson with Martin Goodman and everyone at Jazz Standard, and Laurelyn Douglas.

Copyright 2008 WBGO