The subject line of Scott Weiss’s e-mail was “trumpet stuff.” His message included a link to video Weiss took of Bobby Shew and Carl Saunders. For decades, the trumpeters played together in big bands including those of Buddy Rich, Bill Holman and Bob Florence. On his website, Weiss quotes Shew as saying that he and Saunders have been, “thick as thieves since around 1961.” In a rare combination of talents, each of them is a major improvising soloist also capable of the most demanding lead trumpet work.
Shew and Saunders have been stalwarts not only in jazz, but also in southern California film, television and recording studios. Since Shew moved from Los Angeles to his native New Mexico a few years ago, they cross paths less frequently, but when they do, to borrow Louis Armstrong’s phrase, “chops is flyin’ everywhere.” On this occasion, they took turns also playing drums. The 2003 gig was at a Camarillo, California, club called Michael D’s, now defunct. Bob Florence was the pianist, Dave Carpenter the bassist.