He has been called the greatest trumpet player in the world by no less an authority than Dizzy Gillespie.
Jon Faddis is a teacher, a band leader, a conductor, a composer and an adviser. He has spent enough time in the studio to notch something north of 500 album credits, and he plays in a variety of groups and, as he will do Monday, he occasionally gigs with the quartet that bears his name.
Still, the master trumpeter finds alone time to spend with his instrument.
"A lot of it is maintenance," he said by phone. "It's keeping my chops up. I run through scales and intervals, slurs, a lot of tonguing. I play down low, up high, in between."
That doesn't mean the virtuoso horn player spends excessive time keeping his lips, tongue, mouth and mind ready to play.
"A lot of people take a lot of time and don't really know when they are warmed up. I get warm pretty quickly. I maintain pretty quickly."
He currently conducts the Jazz Orchestra of New York and serves as artistic director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, but when the Jon Faddis Quartet was called to play as part of the Jazz at the Sheraton series, Faddis responded.
"I'll play anywhere," he said, laughing. He visited Utah previously as part of a music program at Brigham Young University, but it's been awhile since he was in the state.
Joining Faddis are top-notch musicians, each with a busy schedule, but the foursome will be together Monday to play selections from the band's 2006 critical hit "Teranga." Although each performer (pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Dion Parson) is busy, when the group hits the stage, it will rely a lot on the band leader's instinct rather than a carefully planned set.
"Well, I tend to play it by ear. Sometimes I look at the crowd and gauge it that way. When you are on stage you get a feeling what the crowd is waiting for, the direction you want to go. It is very instinctual."
Faddis is hopeful the quartet will record together again, but nothing is definite. Monday's show will feature "about half" of its selections from the album, and the rest could be almost anything.
Faddis will consider jazz standards from many of the trumpet and jazz legends who came before him, including
Louis Armstrong, mentor and friend Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.An interesting list to be sure, but it seems possible that somewhere down the road, when other musicians talk about the greats, Jon Faddis might be on the list.
If you go...
What: Jon Faddis Quartet
Where: Sheraton City Center, 150 W. 500 South
When: Monday, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $25 general admission
Phone: 801-278-0411Web: www.jazzslc.com
E-mail: [email protected]