I’ve had quite a bit of positive feedback on my last post, so I thought I’d do another musical post.
“Trading fours,” or “trading eights,” is a jazz term that refers to one or more soloists taking turns in a solo. The idea is for each musician to pick up where the previous one left off, as if the alternating musicians are really playing the same solo. It takes an enormous amount of skill and practice to pull this thing off.
Below is a video from a 1989 concert involving members of Dizzy Gillespie’s “United Nations Orchestra”–an all-star group of musicians who are, today, very prominent in Latin jazz. This particular number is a medley of Seresta, a duet between clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and pianist Danilo Perez, that segues into a full orchestra performance of Samba for Carmen.
The latter opens with long solos by trombonist Slide Hampton and trumpeter Claudio Roditi, but closes with a round of trading fours where D’Rivera, Hampton and Roditi work the idea to perfection.
As something of a side note, it wasn’t until I’d seen this video that I realized that D’Rivera had put down the clarinet and picked up his alto sax for the round of trading fours–such is the mastery of the instrument’s range that D’Rivera exhibits in this piece.