[Dixielandjazz] Ever heard someone who sounded like Al Hirt?
Custode at aol.com
Custode at aol.com
Thu Sep 8 11:05:28 PDT 2005
Anyone ever heard someone they thought sounded like Hirt?
The closest player that I've ever heard sound like Al Hirt was
unquestionably J. B. Scott, when he was with the Dukes of Dixieland. I had the pleasure
of seeing them when they played at Mahogany Hall (not there anymore) in the
French Quarter. He blew me away with his approach, which was so much like that
of Al Hirt. He can be heard on the CD "Hearing is Believing" with the Dukes.
It was refreshing to see Hirt's name mentioned on this list. I have said
for years that he is the most ignored of all the New Orleans musicians by
traditional jazz fans, which is unfortunate. Hands down, he is one of the best
pure trumpet players ever to walk the face of planet Earth. (Any trumpet
player worth his salt would/will agree.) If you want to hear Hirt play OKOM, just
give a listen to the following CDs: "Al Hirt Live at the Mardi Gras", "Super
Jazz" (with Pete Fountain) and "Our Man in New Orleans." Not only does he
display the much dismissed "technique" he is so famous for, but he plays with
passion, intensity and dare I say it...soul.
Finally, the reason why more trumpeters don't play like Hirt, is because
they simply cannot. (I maintain that if they could, they would.) Fact of the
matter is that Al Hirt was somewhat of an anomaly amongst trumpet players.
Much like Maynard Ferguson, he had a rare gift. While Maynard Ferguson had the
natural ability to play in the trumpet's extended high register musically,
Al Hirt possessed the ability to play in all registers of the horn with
unmatched technique, equal control, passion and perhaps most importantly, ease.
You never heard a "break" when he switched between registers, and it always
seemed as if he could play whatever he wanted, when he wanted, and exactly how
he wanted. There are a lot of great trumpet players out there, but none
truly sound like Al Hirt. He was one of a kind and deserves a better shake from
the OKOM crowd.
Lewis D. Custode, Jr., CLU, ChFC, CASL
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