Washington, D.C. --
This week the Marine Jazz Combo performances on the National Mall will feature a mix of vocal features and instrumental standards by Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, and other jazz legends. The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol. The concerts are free and weather permitting.
While finalizing the set list, group leader trumpet/cornetist Gunnery Sgt. Brian Turnmire programmed several of his personal favorites—tuneful songs he thought had fun lyrics. A huge Chet Baker fan, he toyed with naming the concert “Crooners of the American Songbook” and “Tribute to Chet Baker, Prince of Cool.”
“As a young trumpet player, I found myself gravitating to Chet Baker,” Turnmire said. “His singing was pure and he plays trumpet. People could grasp his approach to improvisation. When I was in college, I found a recording called ‘Chet Plays and Sings for Lovers’ and his playing resonated with me.”
Turnmire explained that this concert will feature works from the Great American Songbook as well as songs pulled from Broadway musicals from the first half of the 20th Century, including George Gershwin’s “But Not For Me,” Richard Rodgers’ “Have You Met Miss Jones,” and Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner’s “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from My Fair Lady.
“Back in those days the family entertainment was the piano in the parlor, so people would buy this sheet music,” Turnmire said. “We had a piano in our house when I was growing up, so I used go to the music store with my Mom and she would buy her favorite songs from the movies then play them at home. So I can see how families would play and enjoy this music at home.”
Turnmire continued: “I hope the audience enjoys these songs with the great lyrics and beautiful melodies. We’re playing some really sweet ballads on this program. You can just feel the singer pining for love. But the concert will also include instrumental improvisation. I realize sometimes people feel like they can’t enjoy improv, but on this concert we’re singing the melodies and then also including the jazz style with some improvisation. We’ll include Latin jazz, swing, and blues.”
“Just like you don’t have to know anything about music to recognize that Mozart is beautiful, you don’t have to know anything about jazz to enjoy this concert.”
Summer concerts are free, no tickets are required. Inclement weather cancellations will be made by 6 p.m. on the Marine Band Concert Information Line (202) 433-4011 and at www.facebook.com/marineband.
Directions to U.S. Capitol