Poetic Memory: Jeremy Davenport (List)

Jeremy Davenport

Jazz trumpeter Jeremy Davenport was raised by a music educator mother and a father who plays trombone with the St. Louis Philharmonic. Despite this, it took a childhood encounter with Wynton Marsalis to truly inspire Davenport; soon, he went on to study at the University of New Orleans with Marsalis’ father, Ellis.

Davenport has toured the world with Harry Connick Jr.’s Big Band, and he now lives in New Orleans, where he’s been a fixture for years. In 2000, he was inducted into the New Orleans Jazz Hall of Fame.

Davenport is a regular player at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, and he recently started a residency in New York. His latest recording, We’ll Dance ‘Til Dawn, was released on July 21; check out “Almost Never“, an MP3 from the album. Jeremy Davenport’s Poetic Memory is below.

1. Mom & Dad – My mom and dad are musicians. My mom taught vocal music, drama, etc. for 45 years. My dad (recently retired) was the 2nd trombonist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I have vivid memories of music constantly pouring from our house. My dad practiced every singly day of the year. Often times, I would fall asleep and wake up to the sound of his horn. At a very young age, I knew every single orchestral trombone excerpt! My mother is a great talent. She can (and still does) play anything on the piano. She also plays guitar. My parents are the most generous people that I know and would share music with anyone that would listen. I will be forever grateful for their love and support.

2. Miles Davis – When I was young, my dad allowed me to start investigating his extensive record collection. He recommended Miles Davis “Saturday Night At The Blackhawk”, and I was instantly drawn in. The sound, the feeling, the bounce. The way that each member of the band played with such ease and clarity. I was blown away. I was immediately hypnotized by Miles’ pure, delicate trumpet tone. This opened a can of worms.

3. Susan Slaughter – One of my first trumpet teachers was Susan Slaughter, Principal trumpet, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. I was probably a bit too young for such a high caliber teacher/player, but she accepted me as a student. One of my first memories was working on some Italian Vocalise trumpet studies. I remember Susan’s dark, rich, vibrant tone. Very different than Miles Davis but possessing some of the same qualities. I worked so hard to try and get that warm, beautiful sound. She was an inspiration to me; when I was in Jr. high and in high school, I’d go most weekends to hear her (and obviously my dad) play with the symphony.

4. Chris Rock, Richard Pryor, Jack Benny, Cheech & Chong – My dad’s record collection also contained some material other than music. I discovered Richard Pryor and Cheech & Chong in that record collection. I remember being way too young to be listening to that stuff, but I loved it—well, at least the parts that I understood. My dad is also a collector of old radio shows, so he turned me on to Jack Benny, who had the most impeccable timing and delivery. These experiences inspired my love of comedy.

5. Wynton Marsalis – I met Wynton when I was 12 years old. I played for him backstage at one of his concerts. He was/is the most generous person. I would call him (literally) at all hours of the night begging him for information, advice, guidance, etc…I remember that day back in 1982 when Wynton picked up my trumpet and played a little diddy (probably a blues). I was in disbelief that such beautiful sounds came from my horn! I was so young and dumb and probably a little hopeful that Wynton owned some kind of magical trumpet that made him play so great. Not a chance! His sound was so soft and precise and inspiring. I will always love Wynton for his passion, courage and generosity.

6. Harry Connick Jr. – Wynton introduced me to Harry Connick Jr. in 1988. Harry was on the verge of international stardom. He invited me to come play with him on Sunday evenings at the Knickerbocker in New York City. It was like going to school. Harry knew so many songs. This opened my brain into an entirely new experience. Harry possessed everything that inspired me in the past. Artistry, technique, humor, etc. I will always love him.

7. John Coltrane – There is a phrase in a song that Coltrane recorded that practically brings me to tears on every listen. And I’ve listened to it 50,000 times. At the beginning of his solo on “I See Your Face Before Me”, he plays the most authentic, beautiful music. This was my first breakthrough with Coltrane. He was a true master.

8. Jascha Heifitz, Glenn Gould – Although I stopped playing classical music some time ago, I still have deep love and respect for it. Anything and everything that these guys ever recorded is brilliant. enough said.

9. Frank Sinatra – There’s a recording that Frank did with Antonio Carlos Jobim. It’s very interesting because it captures Frank almost out of his element. The material (mostly Bossa Nova) was probably new to Frank. When I listen to this music I hear a vulnerability and sensitivity that is haunting. I love this recording.

10. Louis Armstrong – Louis Armstrong was the total package. Artist, entertainer, comedian, ambassador, etc. The magic of Pops was that his music was always impeccable. No matter what he was playing (even at the very end of his life) there was always an incredible clarity and beauty in his expression. He transcended all barriers. He brought so much joy to so many people over the years. What more can one ask for?

08/26 – Brooklyn, NY – Huckleberry Bar, 8 pm
09/30 – Brooklyn, NY – Huckleberry Bar, 8 pm
10/28 – Brooklyn, NY – Huckleberry Bar, 8 pm

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