Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Amazing Trumpeter Allen Vizzutti Performs Wednesday (4/23/2014) in Auburn

Allen Vizzutti with the Airmen of Note, from jazzybugler's YouTube channel.
There is contrary opinion on everything, but even as a saxophonist I feel pretty secure in stating that Allen Vizzutti is one of the world's greatest trumpet players. His mom thinks so (see bio below), but she's not the only one.

He performs Wednesday night (4/23) at 7:30 PM with the AU Jazz Band and the AU Symphonic Winds in the Auburn University Student Center Ballroom. The address is 255 Heismann Dr. This is the building kind of on the Heismann-sculpture side of Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Ballroom is on the third floor. Doors will open at 6:30. Tickets are $10/$5. Here's the event page on the AU Music calendar.

In addition to being able to do things with the instrument (musical things) that really shouldn't be possible, Vizzutti is also a passionate educator. He seems just as comfortable working with junior high school band students as performing with the world's top orchestras. He'll do a masterclass, open to the public, Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 PM in Goodwin Recital Hall (320 W. Samford).

To recap:
  • Masterclass Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 3:00 PM at Goodwin Recital Hall - free
  • Concert Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at 7:30 PM at the AU Student Center - $10/$5 <= seriously


Why should we go to this thing?


Silly question? This is an opportunity to hear great art music at a level we don't get to hear too often in our rural Alabama community. Ok, but it is also an opportunity to let the AU deciders know that we, in fact, are a rural Alabama community who is interested in more of this. That is, if we are.

It is not often that faculty get permission to spend the money to bring someone like this in. Jazz-wise, it's been decades (citation needed). But I'm not seeing the appropriate media promotion for an artist appearance of this stature. I have to assume that this is due to lack of budget, even with sponsorship help from Gadsden Music Company and Yamaha.

Point being, if we turn out, it presumably could support the case for greater budget allocation for more visits by the world's top musicians and artists. Let's turn out.

Besides the obvious help of music chair Sara Lynn Baird, thanks are due to saxophone/jazz instructor Mike Pendowski for making it happen. Trumpet professor Mark DeGoti has been a huge support to the cause, has a deep respect for Vizzutti's talent, and even uses the trumpeter's method and ├ętude books for his students.

It's Where, Now?


If you haven't been to the new Student Center, it's easier to find than you might think. The Jordan-Hare Stadium Parking Deck is the closest parking area, and after 5 pm, it's free in spaces marked A, B or C, which I think is most of the deck. For GPS users, the deck is located at 425 Heismann Dr., but you can also get to it by turning north off of Samford Ave. onto Duncan Dr. (at Telfair-Peet Theatre) toward the stadium. Duncan becomes Varsity Dr. for a blip, and the parking deck is at the end of that road.

Tickets are available at the door. You can also pick them up Tuesday and Wednesday (4/22-4/23) until 5:00 PM at the Music Office in Goodwin Music Hall (320 W. Samford). Good luck parking to pick up a ticket at Goodwin or for the masterclass. Actually, you can get a visitor's pass pretty easily at the AU Parking Services (330 Lem Morrison Dr.) which will help you get pretty close. Best, though, to have a friend drive you to the door or ride a bike.

More about the Artist 


There's plenty on Vizzutti's website to read and hear if you need more convincing. But I wanted to include one of his bios here. I'm partial to a good bio, and tend to skim over most of them or skip them completely when they are crammed with schools and venues and awards. The one I put below is refreshing.

Allen Vizzutti’s Favorite Bio (from vizzutti.com)


Allen Vizzutti has never been in prison. He has never jumped out of a flying airplane. He has gone swimming with sharks in the South Seas, which prepared him for later life in Hollywood.

He attended college at the Eastman School of Music, which proved to be a very positive springboard from which he dove into the weird and twisted world of professional music. It was there he met a marvelous and beautiful pianist named Laura who married him much later - after listening to 17 years of his begging.

Allen grew up in Montana, USA, land of the grizzly bear, full sized pickups, cattle, sheep, rednecks, watery beer, cowboy boots and the right to bear arms but not arm bears…. and he still managed to become a musician. His Dad did not own any guns, did not chew tobacco, and did not rope cows. He owned a music store and taught Allen to play trumpet. There were no beatings involved. Allen’s Mom helped too, and if you had asked her she would have told you Allen is the best trumpet player in the world.

Mr. Vizzutti has never really been employed. After the last note of the last piece of any given concert he is unemployed again. So he has learned to play some jazz and some classical and some other stuff that we don’t know how to describe, with the hopes of staying busy. Along with having written a few books and lots of confused music he is almost successful enough to be deemed ‘successful’. Almost.

After hearing Mr. Vizzutti in concert, listeners in 60 countries and every state in the USA have asked the question, “What the heck was that?” His many CDs in varied styles have been ignored worldwide. He has performed on 100’s of movie sound tracks but not ‘Star Wars.” They recorded that in London so don’t ask him about it. “Motel Hell”? Now that’s another matter. He played on that. “Back to the Future”? Yup.

His educational video called “Steps To Excellence” is now an out of print classic. An updated podcast version can be viewed at yamaha.com. [This link -- bit.ly/1hlbMdr -- might get you to it. -PM]

Mr. Vizzutti is proud of and outclassed by his wife and collaborator, Laura. She plays music beautifully and is a lot better to look at than he is. They live in Seattle, have 3 pretty cool offspring and no current pets. Marcella the rabbit was choked by a dog, Fluffy the fish was found floating upside down and subsequently flushed, and Hobs the hamster, was smacked in the middle of the night by Grandma, in her bedroom, with a shoe.

Though these artisans of hand crafted musical instruments are loath to admit it: Allen Vizzutti is a Yamaha performing artist.

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