Al Hirt was a great trumpet player from New Orleans who was my first inspiration, and I wanted to be a trumpet player from the age of 8 on. He made it sound fun, easy, and his sound was the most amazing trumpet sound I had ever heard. I used to go to bed at night and ask God to let me be a great trumpet player someday. However, for some reason that didn’t happen, but I did become good enough to have a 30-year career as a full-time musician. Al gave me the desire to go for it at an early age. I was more destined to have a jazz museum than to be a great player, which is actually a better deal!
You know, Wynton must have been the one God wanted to be the great trumpet player. Al inspired Wynton, too, because Al gave Wynton his first trumpet. Wynton’s dad was playing piano in Al’s band at the time, and Al knew they needed help getting Wynton a horn. The rest is history. Al inspired many, many young trumpet players, and count me as one, but I was no where near the level of a musical genius like Wynton
Al was basically a lead and Dixieland trumpeter, but when he signed with RCA most of the things they wanted him to play were simple pop tunes. You have to look for his good albums, and this one is from 1961. He made a ton of money playing simple pop tunes, but I quit buying his albums out of frustration. It was like having a Corvette and RCA was telling you to only drive 20 mph!
I’ll post more of his good things another time. Just remember that just because he makes it sound easy, it really isn’t. Also, check out his sound, control, and sense of time, which are truly amazing.