Saturday, July 13, 2013

For the love, that's why

Some of NYC's finest brass players gather a Emile Charlap's office once a week on Wednesday afternoons to jam.
They opened with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. The conductor was Roger Blanc, the guitarist for the jazz session. What did he do to prepare?

“Nothing,” he said.

They began to play, music suffusing the room, horns blaring, creating an entrancing joy.

Stealing in late was Jim Saporito, the drummer-percussionist, who plays with the New York City Ballet.

The group is downright quirky. There are no clarinets. No oboes. No violins. The only stringed instrument is the solitary bass. Otherwise, it’s all brass — three trumpets, three trombones, two French horns — and the drums and percussion. Thus, Mr. Charlap spends the week reorchestrating classical compositions meant for symphony orchestras so the parts for absent instruments can be assumed by horns. The musicians like it. It’s different. It’s challenging.

“If it’s a real shipwreck, we stop,” Mr. Charlap said. “But usually no one wants to stop.”

Why do they come? “It’s like if you ask someone why do they go to church on Sunday,” Mr. Blanc, the guitarist, said. “You’d get different answers. Some say they’re going to save their souls, and some go for the cookies afterward. This office was the hub of New York recording activity for many years, and the proprietor is a sort of unsung hero of the music world. So why do I come? Love. I guess that’s the answer.”

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