Orbert Davis: Trumpeting All Kinds of Music
"The musicians were phenomenal. I basically drew the orchestra from all my friends and colleagues I've known through the years performing and recording in Chicago. There were classical musicians and jazz musicians. Absolutely phenomenal," says Davis. With a strong concert and strong reviews "we have a future," he says. He wants to keep investigating the "third stream" of music and creating "a series of renaissance works of third-stream music... I don't see them (classical and jazz) as separate."
"Gil (Evans) and Miles (Davis) was the prime example" with their production of the classic Sketches of Spain and Porgy and Bess albums.
As for this work in films: timing, he notes, is sometimes everything. "I don't go after it. I get the call and say, 'Yeah. I can do that.'"
"My last film job was, I was actually the jazz consultant to Sam Mendes for 'Road to Perdition.' He called me to sit and talk about jazz. And I had no clue who he was. I didn't see his previous movie. Timing is perfect, because they had shot the film in Chicago and I had just performed a concert in LA with my quartet. I used a string quartet from LA, but the guy who I called to contract the string players in LA got the call to be the music consultant for the film. They brought everybody from Chicago to LA. He was busy. He said 'Call Orbert Davis in Chicago.' A week later after being in LA, I get this call.
"It was fun. Sam gave me a lot of leeway and a lot in the decision making process, and a couple of the scenes, which was really cool. I ended up arranging the music. The consultant job was to sit with him and figure what the mindset of the musician was even though the scene was like seven seconds long. But it was a great experience. He allowed me to select a lot of the music. When he first called me, I told him, 'Why are you calling me? You know everything.' He really did his homework, but we were able to stretch and find something really appropriate for it."
So it's all in a day's work make that many days work for this Windy City musical mainstay. Studios, his quartet, his orchestra, his teaching. And also his family.
"On the musical side, it's my goal day to day is to learn to play the trumpet better and better. And balance it all. I'm into so many other things that my playing gets pushed aside. I have to play a couple nights just to get back on track."
Maybe. But it's difficult to believe Orbert Davis is ever that far off the track.
Visit Orbert Davis on the web.
B&W by Mark Ladenson