Los Angeles-based trumpeter Chuck Findley was the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra’s special guest on Wednesday, February 27 as part of the sextet’s 2018-19 concert series. Amid all of the polished playing and musical firepower, he and trumpeter Dan Miller quickly turned the evening into a mutual admiration event at Artis-Naples' Daniels Pavilion.
That feeling was most apparent as the band tackled Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island,” trombonist (and longtime Findley collaborator) Matt Finders’ blues composition “Two Trumpets, No Waiting,” and Findley and Miller’s more-nuanced exploration of "Joy Spring." This version of trumpeter Clifford Brown’s jazz classic teamed them with just the rhythm section.
All evening, as one of the trumpeters took a solo, the other watched and listened in rapt admiration. Their unison work on melodic lines was exquisite.
Findley was featured on several tunes, playing the mellower flugelhorn on the Bruno Martino ballad “Estate” and on the standard “Star Eyes.”
The band also dug into Jerome Kern’s “The Song is You,” Miles Davis’s arrangement of Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” and “What a Wonderful World.” The NPJO includes Miller, tenor saxophonist and artistic director Lew Del Gatto, violinist Glenn Basham, pianist Jerry Stawski, bassist Kevin Mauldin and drummer Mike Harvey.
Findley, a longtime studio ace, began his career with stints in the Jimmy Dorsey Band and the Buddy Rich Band before joining “The Tonight Show Band” led by Doc Severinsen during the Johnny Carson era. He also played in “The Tonight Show Band” led by Branford Marsalis and later Kevin Eubanks during the Jay Leno era.
|Findley, Del Gatto
He has known 25-year “Saturday Night Band” alumnus Del Gatto for many years, but this was the first time they’d seen each other, or played together, since 1966. Back then, Findley was in the Buddy Rich Band and Del Gatto had joined the band as a two-week substitute.
Miller had met Findley several times over the years but this splendid night, bringing out the best in each soloist, was the first time they had performed together.
|Lew Del Gatto