Tom Harrell is without question one of the most important jazz composers and trumpet players now working. The range of his music is almost ridiculously diverse: from straight-ahead bebop, to pioneering jazz-Latin-rock fusion, to his arrangements for the “Peanuts” TV specials and beyond. Over a career that’s spanned five decades, he’s worked with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Carlos Santana. And he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
SOUND TRACKS visits New York’s historic Village Vanguard for an exclusive look at Harrell’s latest adventurous project: his own arrangements of the works of Ravel and Debussy performed by his Chamber Ensemble. And after the show, Tom sits down for a rare, intimate conversation about his creative process.
The Passepied from Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque is probably one of the composer’s most recognizable tunes— but you might not recognize it here. It’s been slowed down quite a bit and re-harmonized—and right before this violin solo, it’s just shifted out of a Brazilian bossa-flavored blues. Violinist Meg Okura can play just about any style of music imaginable and has worked with artists from David Bowie to Ziggy Marley. She told SOUND TRACKS that Tom’s music is incredibly challenging, and a total blast to play.
Meg Okura’s official website
Tom Harrell’s official website