The Bix Beiderbecke Festival opens today in Beiderbecke’s home town, Davenport, Iowa. It features Randy Sandke and, in a nice stroke of timing, so does The Wall Street Journal. My piece called “The Best Trumpeter You Never Heard Of” is in the Journal’s Leisure and Arts section. Here are samples:
The trumpeter and sometime guitarist Randy Sandke receives neither the critical nor the popular attention that goes to fellow trumpeters Wynton Marsalis and Dave Douglas — to pick a couple of names out of the air — but everything about his music says that he should. He is a technical and creative virtuoso. Regardless of the styles and eras of music he chooses for his projects, he seems unrestricted in interpretive power. He arranges and composes for large and small groups with a canny understanding of dynamics, instrumental textures, relative harmonic densities and the importance of space.
In seven fairly recent albums by Mr. Sandke, there is scarcely a routine moment. The settings range from a trumpet-piano duo to a 16-piece band. “Subway Ballet” finds Mr. Sandke at a peak of complexity in concept, instrumentation and daring. The CD’s accessibility is partly because it portrays an aspect of something familiar, New York, the nation’s second hometown even to those who have never been there. Not yet choreographed, the ballet music is so graphic that anyone capable of connecting sounds with images (all of us) can listen with eyes closed and supply the action.
To read the whole thing, go here, but hurry; the article is free to non-subscribers to the Journal Online for only seven days.