Pip Eastop, Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Horn player, Photographer, Trumpet player

Pip Eastop, hornplayer, teacher, horn, trumpet, jazz, sessions, London, soloist, orchestral, improvisation etc....

Posts tagged “jazz trumpet

I knew the great Kenny Wheeler.

 

I took this photo from the audience during a a birthday concert for Kenny in 2005 at Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was too grainy and messy to leave as a “normal” photo but with a bit of manipulation it has become nice and clear. Kenny is with John Parricelli (guitar), Dave Holland, (bass) and Lee Konitz on sax.


I am proud to say that I knew Kenny Wheeler. I used to live not far from his house. When I first heard him up close playing flugelhorn solos on a tour with Peter Erskine’s band, maybe 12 years ago, I was so knocked out with the unforgettable rosy warmth of his sound and his inventive, original playing style that I started learning jazz trumpet. I very much enjoyed getting to know him – he was a very kind, gentle and softly-spoken man. Ken kindly lent me first a flugelhorn (the gorgeous copper-coloured Kanstul he had played on the tour), then a trumpet (a brilliant Smith-Watkins with a pile of interchangeable lead pipes) and later sold both to me at extremely generously low prices – out of embarrassment I had to give him more than he asked. I pestered him for lessons but he was so self-effacing and unassuming that he wouldn’t agree to teach me. We played together quite a lot, though. Mostly in his study in his and Doreen’s tiny house in Leytonstone and once at The Vortex where we played some duos on horn and flugel – and on flugel and trumpet. Evan Parker was there, too, and we played a crazy trio about which I remember nothing due perhaps to free-jazz-induced concussion. Always, whenever I played with Kenny a loud voice in my head kept telling me “this is unreal”, or, “Wow – look at me – I’m actually playing with Kenny Wheeler!” It was a privilege and an honour.

The news of his death is very sad for me and for everyone who knew him, and his departure is a great loss for all of us who loved his playing and his music. He was both a dedicated instrumentalist and a prolific composer. I was particularly inspired by his practice regime; my impression – not that he would ever say – was that he practiced the trumpet for at least three hours every day – and this was during his eighties! As a result he had chops of steel and never lost his ability to play with a huge, rich sound and swoop up into the extremely high register at any point in that idiosyncratic way of his.
He was absolutely full of music and he was world-famous for it. Strangely, he was less well known in his home country, England, than he was in the US and Europe – so don’t be too worried if you are not all that familiar with his name. To get an idea of how creatively prolific he was take a look¬† here at his discography. Who else has made 61¬† albums?
Bye bye Kenny Wheeler. You will be missed. You were, and are, a musical legend.


My son, Zak, wins the Yamaha Jazz Competition!

Here’s my son, Zak, playing trumpet, leading his quartet, “Blueshift”, at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, 1st May 2010. Their performance was part of the final round of the Yamaha Jazz Experience Competition. There were three age groups: 15 and under, 17 and under and 19 and under. Blueshift, won the 15-and-under section.
Zak is 12 years old.