[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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