Q. What do you call someone who can stand a front of a symphony orchestra to play a famous classical concerto one evening, then return to the same city two weeks later with his jazz chamber ensemble to perform sophisticated originals based on the words and works of a 20th-century French visionary?
A. A musician.
Which description fits Thomas Bergeron like his trumpet and fluegelhorn mouthpieces fit his well-trained embouchure. Read all about Tom in Jerry Noble’s excellent profile for the Republican and MassLive.com. (I especially like the part where Tom says his studies at the UMass school of business gave him “a practical understanding of the capitalist world we live in.” Would that all serious musicians would attempt to attain a similar level of understanding.) Here’s the link to the November 7 Springfield Symphony Orchestra concert on which Tom solos on Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, and joins English hornist Nancy Dimock in the front line of Aaron Copland’s delicate and moody “Quiet City.” And here’s the link to the Bing Arts Center, the intimate Springfield venue where on November 21, Tom’s jazz chamber ensemble will perform music from his album “Sacred Feast,” featuring new music based on melodies and words of the great French composer Olivier Messiaen (sample his music on Spotify here), as well as jazz interpretations of Debussy, Chopin, Schumann and (according to Tom) “new surprises!”
Jazz Messiaen — what could that possibly sound like? I could gush for paragraphs on its warmth, originality and inventiveness, and how much I loved the unique colors and voicings, but instead, head on over to Tom’s Bandcamp page to sample from and purchase the “Sacred Feast” album. Not too many trumpeters could dream up and play (complete with improvisations) such striking music and also knock the Haydn Concerto outta the park. But Tom Bergeron’s not just a trumpeter, he’s a musician.
(DISCLOSURE: Tom performed Alexander Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto with Springfield Symphony maestro Kevin Rhodes at the 88’s on a 2013 concert celebrating my retirement from New England Public Radio. But considering what a cold, ungrateful jerk I can be under such circumstances, accusations of favoritism would be unfair.)