Musical Passages

Last month the jazz community, and music world at large, said goodbye to the great Horace Silver, a consummate jazz pianist and fixture on the Blue Note recording label. Silver was a founding member one of my favorite hard bop groups, The Jazz Messengers, with drummer Art Blakey. Universally admired by his fellow musicians, Horace Silver performed and composed for decades, and mentored many young jazz artists. He died of natural causes at the age of 85.

The classical music world has recently seen passages of a different sort. The New York Philharmonic has bid a fond farewell to two prominent members who have retired from the orchestra and are moving on to other things. Concertmaster and violinist Glenn Dicterow just took his last bow on the stage at Avery Fisher Hall after 34 years with the Philharmonic. Principal trumpet Phil Smith has also taken his final bow after 36 years. His retirement is a little more significant to me personally because of my father. Dad, as most of you probably know, was a professional trumpet player, and he would take our family to hear the Philharmonic on a regular basis. Smith’s pure, warm tone and solid technique was of course the highlight to Dad’s ears. Trumpet players everywhere have nothing but respect for Phil Smith, and he will be greatly missed among the Philharmonic’s faithful audience. This article in The New Yorker is an excellent read. I highly recommend it. Not only does it describe Smith the man – humble, deeply religious – but it addresses the unique nature of orchestra musicians, and trumpet players specifically. I can tell you that Glenn Dicterow’s retirement has received somewhat more fanfare in local and national media than Phil Smith’s. It is not for negligent reasons, but rather the larger popularity of violinists among the general public, thanks to performers like Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, and Anne Sophie Mutter. Virtuosic trumpet players in the classical world are rarer, which makes Phil Smith an exceptional standout in a smaller, more elite circle.

We’ll conclude this week’s Music Monday with a different musical genre entirely. I was sorting through some very old CDs stashed among the junk in my house and I came across one of the many British music crushes I’ve had in my life. Robert Palmer was performing for years before his huge success in the 1980s with his “Addicted to Love” resurrection. A purveyor of what is known as “blue-eyed soul”, Palmer gave us vocals that drew on influences from reggae, R & B, rock, pop, and blues. Oh how I love cute, sexy Englishmen. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for them, and always will 🙂 Robert Palmer left us in 2003, dying far too soon at the age of 54. From his debut solo album in 1974, this is “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley”.

4 thoughts on “Musical Passages

  1. Derek says:

    I remember Robert Palmer what a great old chap.
    He did stuff before the big hit back in the late 1980’s that people associate with. He was a fine blue eyed soul singer very much in the Eric Burdon whom I got to see back in 1964. I remember seeing him live in 1978 when I was a young man at 29. I was uncomfortabl;e hearing that cheesy poppy song “Bad Case of Loving You” , it remenided me when I was partying back then in NYC, when I was living.

    Yes he was young when his heart gave out he would have been in my age group, but I guess the world doesn’t work that way.BTW I do fancy “Addicted to Love” , hard rock with blues. I have so many memories of those blokes. Thanks for sharing old memories. I still fancy classical music like Shubert and berlioz,

    • artmodel says:

      Derek,

      I remember being so shocked when I heard Robert Palmer died. A friend told me and I didn’t believe him. And I didn’t mind “Addicted to Love” either. Gosh, that was such a huge hit!
      Here’s some more young Robert Palmer I think you’ll enjoy. I love this song:

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  2. Bill says:

    Good to see someone who is usually in the background receive a little well-deserved recognition.

    Curious — speaking of English musical stars, yesterday was Ringo’s birthday. Do you have a favorite Beatle?

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