Remembering Idrees 1 of 6
Greg Robinson September 01, 02
Idrees was the first musician I ever interviewed in my career as a jazz journalist. In 1991 I wrote a biography of him that was supposed to be published as part of an educational book series, but the publisher scrapped the series for financial reasons, and it never came out. Sitting with Idrees for two days, listening him describe a career that spanned from the '30s to the present day and included practically every big name in jazz was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Speaking straightforwardly, with detail, he offered vivid remembrances of people like Freddie Webster, Miles Davis, and Clifford Brown. He called the pianist Oscar Dennard a genius, whose abilities were never adequately captured on the few records he made. Not only was Idrees a legendary bop trumpeter, he was also the coolest guy you could ever meet, no attitude whatsoever, just a real down-home cat. He used to put witch hazel on his chops, saying it helped keep them flexible throughout the day (try at your own risk...) I was saddened to read of his death because he was one of the great ones, and I looked up to him a lot, particularly in my early 20s. His musical and personal vibrations made the world a better place.
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