Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bobby Shew - A Pro's Pro

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Say the name “Bobby Shew” in Jazz trumpet circles and people respond with a look of sheer delight on their faces.

Bobby Shew’s trumpet playing brings out all of the beautiful qualities that are unique to that instrument and which made it The Rock Guitar of the Swing and Post World War II Modern Jazz periods.

Qualities such as a brilliant brass sound; a purity of tone that’s synonymous with the imagined clarion call of The Angels; screaming high notes; beautiful legato phrases in the middle register; an accuracy of attack that makes notes literally pop from the horn. His tone is “legit” with a sparkling upper range and a full lower one and his sound comes out of the horn with an effortless finesse.

Bobby is equally at home in the lead trumpet or Jazz chair.  You name it - Miles Davis/Gil Evans Sketches of Spain; Clifford Brown’s Joy Spring; Stan Kenton’s anthem Artistry in Rhythm -  Bobby Shew can bring it, in many cases making it sound better than the original.

He’s simply a Pro’s Pro.

No half-valve nonsense or puckered squeaks, Bobby’s trumpet playing is brimming with a virtuosity that has no need to resort to soulful cliches.

Bobby’s solos crackle with ebullience and spontaneity. He has such a command of the horn that anything that comes into his mind he can play through the instrument.

Of all the recordings that Bobby has made over the years, my favorite has remained Bobby Shew with the Metropole Orchestra [Mons LC 6458]. The orchestra is based in Holland and was directed on this occasion by Rob Pronk. All of the arrangements were written by Lex Jasper.

Judging from the following insert notes that he wrote for the recording, it looks like the opportunity to perform with The Metropole Orkest was a pretty special one for Bobby, as well.

“I've been referred to as an "incurable romantic". I don't know,.. MAYBE! I can tell you that there is a part of me that does, in fact, seek out moments of romance in music.,., no matter what tunes, where, with whom.

When I was a child first being exposed to jazz, I loved the "feel" of this music, I loved the emotion of it, I loved the energy of it... but, I loved the beauty, I wore out copies of Clifford Brown with strings, Stan Getz' "COOL VELVET", the soundtrack album to "THE SANDPIPER" with Jack Sheldon playing those gorgeous Johnny Mandel charts.... plus many other string albums I managed to find. I guess if I'm an incurable romantic, it's because I dreamt, as I think most horn players have, of doing a string album someday before we leave this earth!

This recording with the outstanding METROPOLE ORCHESTRA far exceeds my wildest dreams. The real bulk of the credit here goes to Lex Jasper who really honored me with the first impetus to perform with the METROPOLE ORCHESTRA. His writing is absolutely magic.,.!

He wrote for me specifically and I've never felt more comfortable. The "BALLAD FOR BOBBY" touched me so deeply, it was almost difficult to play it past my emotional reaction to the first reading. Rob Pronk is masterful in rehearsing and conducting the music to perfection. The musicians, as you can hear, are first-class in every respect and quite fun and easy to work with. I must add an extra 'lip of the hat" to the outstanding lead trumpet playing of my dear friend Jan Oosthof. It would be difficult to find a more powerful and consistent player (or a nicer guy).

High at the top of the list of "thank-you’s", is Jan van Riemsdyk, the producer of these sessions. I'll never be able to thank him enough for the invitation to do the recordings as well as this efforts to make the music available on this CD. Similarly, thanks to Thilo Berg for a willingness to press and release it.

Finally, I can think of no better dedication for this music than to my wife, Lisa…. She truly is MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE.”

Bobby Shew, Feb. 1995

You can checkout Bobby’s playing on Lex Jasper’s beautiful arrangement of With A Song In My Heart.

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