Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Clark Terry & Arturo Sandoval



If they'd subtitled this show "The World of Trumpets, "few would complain: together the Cuban-born Arturo Sandoval and the Saint Louis native Clark Terry encompass a fair amount of their instrument's virtuosic terrain. What's more, Sandoval belongs to the lineage of Dizzy Gillespie and Clifford Brown, while Terry was a role model for the young Miles Davis. Right there is a capsule history of postwar trumpeting. Sandoval occupies a rarefied niche in jazz, which has traditionally had a great divide between the high-note trumpet men--those specialists able to screech their way higher and higher into the ozone layer--and the nimble soloists, whose work helped spur the evolution of the idiom. A handful of players could wrap both skills in the same style, starting with Louis Armstrong, and Sandoval belongs to this group. Terry, who culminates a yearlong celebration of his 75th birthday with this concert, doesn't have the blistering power of Sandoval; he didn't need it in the bands of Count Basie and Duke Ellington, in which he made his mark in the 50s, and he hasn't really needed it since. Instead he has blended a lovely tone, a rounded attack, and an ability to spin dizzying complications around simple musical ideas, creating one of the most recognizable sounds in jazz. A dark minor blues turns sunny in Terry's hands, and he brings something bright to even the torchiest ballads. My guess is he could make Chopin's "Funeral March" sound optimistic. Most of the time he rips through blues and standards with grace and precision, sprinkling his show with delightful gimmicks: trading riffs with himself by playing trumpet with one hand and flugelhorn with the other or performing "mumbles," scat solos that comedically skirt comprehensible language. Next Friday, December 29, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-2899.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc PoKempner.

Add a comment