Friday, March 13, 2015

RIP Lew Soloff

I was sorry to hear of the sudden passing of trumpet great Lew Soloff. I was fortunate to share the bandstand with him a number of times; with his band, Lonnie Plaxico's band, and the Mingus Band. Soloff was always very friendly and garrulous; he always seemed to have a joke or a story to tell. He knew I played trumpet so he would always talk trumpet; " What do you think of this mouthpiece with this horn?" " I didn't really get a good warm-up today..."  Soloff was well known as one of the best lead players, as well as a great soloist; he was an important part of the classic band Blood, Sweat, and Tears. ( Actually, come to think of it, his solo on " Spinning Wheel was one of the first solos I tried to transcribe...although it was way beyond my range.....)

I remember a great story Soloff told me during a break from rehearsing with the Mingus Band. Soloff had chipped his tooth, and decided to go to the dentist, but Lew being Lew, he brought his trumpet to the dentist. He wanted to see if the chipped tooth had an effect on his playing. " I picked up the horn and played up to a triple D, full voice…" Soloff explained. " But I decided that I didn't really need that kind of range, so I let the dentist fix the tooth." Soloff was one of the greats and he will be missed. RIP , Mr. Soloff.

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