Jazz listeners living in the Los Angeles area and musicians worldwide have long known that Carl Saunders is one of the great trumpet players around today. Now with the release of four remarkable recordings (Out Of The Blue, Eclecticism, Bebop Big Band, and Can You Dig Being Dug), Saunders’ musical talents can be heard and enjoyed by a much wider audience.
Carl Saunders was born on Aug. 2, 1942 in Indianapolis, Indiana and his first five years were mostly spent on the road. His uncle was trumpeter- bandleader Bobby Sherwood was riding high with the popular Sherwood Orchestra, having hits with “Elks Parade” and “Sherwood’s Forest.” Saunders’ mother Gail (Bobby’s sister) sang for the Sherwood Orchestra and Stan Kenton, among others. When Carl was five, he and his mother settled in Los Angeles; living with Carl’s aunt Caroline and her husband, tenor-saxophonist Dave Pell. At the time, Saunders heard the records of the Dave Pell Octet and was influenced by the style and phrasing of trumpeter Don Fagerquist.
Saunders began playing trumpet in the seventh grade and he quickly found that he had a natural ability, mostly learning to play by ear and never having any lessons. He played in school bands, and after he graduating high school, his mother helped get him a job with Stan Kenton’s Orchestra. Saunders auditioned for Kenton’s band and was given a choice: wait for the first opening in the trumpet section or join the band the following week as a member of the mellophonium section. He chose the latter and spent much of 1961-62 on the road with Stan Kenton.
An examination of Saunders’ improv solo…shows the breathtaking
melodies and never-ending supply of creative improvisations that make
him a highly regarded player. --Chris Chapman
Saunders has brought audiences to their feet with solos, which are
spectacular only in their continuity, flow, and ideas…Saunders may find
himself one of the most talked about trumpeters of the 90’s. --Doug
If you’ve not yet heard this master of the trumpet/flugelhorn, it’s time
you did. --Jack Bowers
The trumpet playing throughout is brilliant, with long lines of perfectly
placed notes created in an unpredictable but ultimately logical fashion.