We just returned from an amazing trip to Thailand, Cambodia and a crazy stop-through day in Dubai, inspired by my old and ever youthful trumpet buddy, Steve Cannon.
Steve was a fixture in Portland, playing in jazz, funk, blues and Latin bands around the city. He also had his own band, the Blow Hard Big Band, which I was fortunate to play in, splitting the lead with Louis Livermore and Andy Fuller (check out his CD Full Blown).
Jump shift: Steve moves to Bangkok in 2009 to join his piano-playing brother, Randy, to take advantage of musical opportunities there. At one point he sat in with Maynard Ferguson’s band at a performance for the King of Thailand, a jazz musician in his own right. Maybe that’s why the Thais are so fond of jazz.
We arrived to find him playing in two bands at Apoteka, a jazz and blues venue near the Patpong District, which is a lively area, both day and night. The first night Steve lead the Horn Dog Horn Section in the Soi Dogs blues band. The band rocked to blues and R&B standards, including Mustang Sally and Piece of My Heart, featuring a guest vocalist brave enough to tackle Janis Joplin. The Horn Dog Horn Section was super-tight on all the soli, with world class section playing. The tenor sax player is unbelievable, and humble to boot. And Steve is always hot!
The next night we took Steve out to dinner and then listened to him play flugelhorn in his own quartet. His horn was overhauled and silver plated by Joe Marcinkiewicz, a true artisan and craftsman. Get a load of that satin finish! The quartet played Steve’s arrangements of some jazz favorites, adding fascinating twists and turns to the likes of Angel Eyes and Harlem Nocturne. The give and take between the soloists highlighted their familiarity as well as their spontaneity. Steve continues to progress his artistry, a true student and master of the instrument.
It was great to see Steve and to enjoy his company and his music in a foreign land. We only wished we had had more time. If you are ever in Bangkok, be sure to check him out!
Interesting report on what sounds like to have been a fun visit to Thailand, Randy. Does Steve play elsewhere, as well, or does he work only in Bangkok? I’m venturing to Chiang Mai next week for just short of a month. Bringing a trumpet along, of course. Looking for a group of players to sit in with while I’m there. We miss you in Portland, friend.
Joe, You can email Steve: email@example.com and see where he’ll be playing. I think he’s pretty much just in Bangkok. Make sure you take the tour to the temple up the mountain. Don’t forget the tuk-tuk ride! Hope all is well with you and have a great holiday season. Be well buddy, Randy
Thank you so much for the reply. I will visit the temple up the many steps… got my eye on that one in particular, yes. Nice of you to suggest it. I think I’ll avoid Bangkok, though, for reasons related to … well, the size of the place primarily. We will fly over it, though, as we break out of Chiang Mai for a few days to visit a Nat’nl Park in the south. I’m retired now, and am enjoying the freedom of sloven days and late arising. There’s a young guy Ben Zaghren (sp) in Portland who builds horns. He’s almost done with my flugel. I am eager to try it out. Had never heard of a committee (by Martin) until finding one two years back on Craig’s List. Ben had taken it in on trade when delivering one of his trumpets to a New York fellow named Marquis Hill. I really have taken to its rich tone Love you, brother.