Pure, raw energy was and is the basis of brass music. However, somewhere on the long journey along the Mississippi the connection between brass players and jazz has loosened. Funk, soul and ska developed and the heroes of brass are rarely interested in what kind of music they make these days. Far more important is how, why and with whom they play. Whatever impresses the most is the plan. Here we have listed some of the most legendary brass musicians from past and present…
1. Bobby Hackett – Cornet
Bobby Hackett was considered the best jazz cornetist of his time. In the late 1930s and early 1940s he played in the orchestras of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. He was the perfect soloist of his time while all the while welding the horn section together and shaping the unforgettably smooth and lyrical sound.
2. Louis Armstrong – Trumpet
Shortly before, around 1930, a certain Louis Armstrong replaced his cornet with a trumpet. He would have probably run out of breath pretty fast using a cornet, he often plays very high, hitting that demanding high C. The rest is a legendary story between “Hello Dolly“, “Wonderful World” and “Uncle Satchmo’s Lullaby“.
3. Roger Webster – Cornet
Roger Webster is distinguished as one of the best cornetists in the world. For more than three decades he has played with brass bands of the highest caliber. And at the tender age of 58, he is still very active and continues to deliver wholeheartedly on his instrument.
4. Fred Wesley – Trombone
Together with Maceo Parker, trombonist Fred Wesley provided the razor-sharp brass section for the King of Soul, Mr. James Brown, for example in “Papa’s got a Brand New Bag”. He played an integral role in the birth of funk. At some point he started playing independently and continued to shape brass sections with his unique soul and ideas.
5. Brian “Lord” Sledge – Trumpet
The legendary Brian “Lord” Sledge comes directly from the current – or to put it more aptly – from the ever-evolving ska scene. As an outstanding trumpeter he played with the band “The Toasters” alongside Robert Hingley. The most outstanding stylistic devices of the band were “Lord”‘s striking trumpet lines. Because of him they became pioneers of Third-wave Ska. “Skaboom”!
6. Miles Davis – Trumpet / Flügelhorn
Miles Davis was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer and bandleader. After all, he was one of the most important, influential and innovative jazz musicians of the 20th century. He first became famous as Charlie Parker‘s bebop jazz player and sideman. He was famous for his sensitive harmonic tone on the one hand and for his irrepressible joy of experimentation on the other.
7. Boban Marković – Balkan-style Trumpet & Flügelhorn
Boban Marković won the “Golden Trumpet” several times at the legendary Serbian trumpet festival in Guča, a festival that welcomed more than 500,000 spectators in 2009. After winning for the fifth time in 2001, Boban decided to only perform outside of the competition.
8. Roger Bobo – Tuba
Brass legend, virtuoso soloist, world-famous teacher: the most famous tuba player is clearly Roger Bobo. Born in Los Angeles, California, he has travelled the world with his art as a brass musician and brass pedagogue. He is said to have given the first ever solo tuba recital in the history of Carnegie Hall.
Of course, this selection of brass heroes can only be incomplete. There are too many great artists, too many facets of this wonderful kind of music. And you rarely become a legend overnight, it takes a few years to decades. Since you certainly have your very own special heroes, we are looking forward to reading your suggestions as to who belongs on this list!
Tom( Tommy) .Ross says:
Any list of trumpet players MUST INCLUDE.
Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard.
Good call Tom, thanks for the suggestion, fantastic musicians.
I’m honoured to be included with such legends.
I’ll keep at it and maybe one day ….
Yes, don’t give up Roger!
John Appleby says:
It seems Derik Garside was overlooked!