Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

November/December 2015: Grace Kelly

Byron Stripling: Trumpet Summit

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Byron Stripling is impressive—that’s all there is to it. Not only is he an extremely versatile trumpet player who has played with all the biggest names in the jazz scene in the last fifty years, he is also entertaining enough to be chosen to play Louis Armstrong on Broadway and make a cameo appearance in a TV movie about Indiana Jones. If that’s not the definition of impressive then I don’t know what is!

Byron Stripling received his training at Eastman School of Music, Interlochen Art Academy (maybe fellow alumnus Quincy Davis remembers him?), and what I can only assume was the School of Hard Knocks, working under directors Thad Jones and Frank Foster as the lead trumpet in the Count Basie Orchestra. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson and his Pops Orchestra, and has been playing pops repertoire ever since with influential orchestras like the New York Pops and Boston Pops Orchestras, among many others.

Seeing Stripling live is the closest you’re going to get (without a time machine) to seeing Louis Armstrong. Admittedly, Stripling’s voice is much sweeter and clearer than Satchmo’s, but his trumpet finesse and sensitivity is definitely recognizable by anyone who hears him. He also does a killer Louis impression, if you were wondering. If you’re looking for a concert where you get to sit in a dark room and doze off for an hour or two, you should probably skip this one. Stripling has been known to make his audiences sing for their supper, and sing correctly, which makes for a show that is engaging and educational, if a little scary to us prairie folk.

Stripling’s programming is a big part of what makes him so fun to see live: he manages to find the perfect balance between approachability for all and nods to those “in the know” with his pops repertoire. So pull on your dancing shoes, have a drink if you have to, and join us on November 14 and 15 for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s “Trumpet Summit” concerts, featuring the virtuosic Byron Stripling doing what he does best. You won’t be sorry!

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