Discover the captivating debut album, Words From My Horn, by rising trumpeter and composer Anthony Hervey. With a sound reminiscent of jazz legends like Wynton Marsalis and Louis Armstrong, Hervey's soulful compositions and exceptional improvisational skills take listeners on a transformative musical journey. Experience the power of resilience, hope, and the joy of jazz with this remarkable release.
Produced by powerhouse drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., Words From My Horn features Hervey’s soaring trumpet alongside alto saxophonist Sarah Hanahan, pianists Isaiah J. Thompson and Sean Mason, bassist Philip Norris and drummer Miguel Russell.
Words From My Horn justifies the notion that sound is lived experience. In effect, the storybook quality of Words From My Horn distills a sonic vantage point of the trumpeter’s life. Thematically, the album meditates on the impact Hervey’s mother and grandmother had on his upbringing, his birthplace of Terre Haute, Indiana and the concept that hope can prevail in the face of harsh realities.
Musically, Words From My Horn is far-reaching. Hervey sets out to embrace the full breadth of the Jazz idiom from its earliest influences to the present. He marries a classic Blue Note-influenced sound with decidedly modern harmonic sensibilities and melodic explorations. The album makes great use of Hervey’s supple tone and stunning improvisational facility to weave tales of adversity, transcendence, faith and hope. With heavy helpings of both blues and gospel influence, the artist taps into an impassioned place with each of his bandmates.
The album begins with “Crystal Stair,” calling upon a famous line in the Langston Hughes poem “Mother to Son”, which reads “Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Hervey dedicates the tune to his mother, who imparted a similar wisdom to the young trumpeter. “I owe her not only my life, but also my trumpet, my music, and who I am,” Hervey adds. The album continues with “The Rust From Yesterday’s Blues,” the first of its four blues songs. “[The] blues acknowledge the hard realities of living while maintaining a sense of hope for tomorrow,” Hervey remarks. “The Glider,” a blues song in a major key, was written while Hervey sat behind the piano at his grandparents’ home in Indiana: “When I visited in the summer, they had a glider on the porch where we would sit and watch cars go by.” “The Glider” is a reflection on soulful times, the feeling of being home and memories we can have of those we love.”
“Afro Power” celebrates Black style and pride and an ode to Hervey’s first year in New York when he had what he describes as an “immaculate Afro”. Punningly also alluding to hair, “Du-Rag” is a contemporary take on the Rag form that blends elements of stride piano, gospel and blues. Influences of Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, and Earl Hines resonate throughout, transporting ragtime to the modern day.
Momentarily placing his trumpet aside, Hervey demonstrates his vocal prowess on “Smoky Cloud,” which lyrically depicts an early memory with his grandmother. The group delivers an affecting rendition of the classic gospel hymn “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” which Hervey cites as an agent of his grit and perseverance in dark times. This spirit of hope is what leads to “Better Days,” a bright-tempo blues on which Hervey discharges a stirring solo.
A salute to Indiana, “Dreams From the Crossroad,” references the intersection of Routes 40 and 41 in Hervey’s hometown Terre Haute, an intersection known as the “Crossroads of America”. The piece reflects on the intersection of dreams, optimism and decisions made that led the artist through passages where his dreams became realities. Concluding with “Words From My Horn,” the title track reinstates Hervey’s mantra that when words fail, music speaks; “I want my sound to be like a spirit, changing people’s hearts and minds, as well as uplifting and inspiring them through jazz.”
MORE ABOUT ANTHONY HERVEY
Anthony Hervey is an American trumpeter, composer, and teacher from South Florida. At the age of 18 he was admitted to the Juilliard School, graduating with his B.M. in 2019 and his M.M. in 2020.Wynton Marsalis described Hervey as a “beautiful trumpet player of the first magnitude,” and he has performed at clubs, concert halls, and castles all over the world with some of the best that jazz has to offer, including Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, Jon Batiste and Michael Bublé.
In recent years, he made his international debut as a bandleader at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland. In February of 2020, he opened for the Branford Marsalis Quartet at the Rose Theater with a co-led Jazz quartet, Citizens of the Blues. He is also on Christian McBride’s Grammy Award winning Big Band Album, “For Jimmy, Wes, and Oliver”, which was released on Mack Avenue Records. On another note, Hervey is prominently featured acting and playing trumpet in the anthology series, Monsterland, airing on Hulu. Hervey is an artist with firm musical roots who strives to understand the past while also giving meaning to Jazz in our present time. He views music as a force that can uplift and inspire. In the same way music has changed his life and brought him joy, he strives to spread that joy and change the lives of others through Jazz.