It came as a shock to the brass world that Rolf Smedvig, trumpeter of the Empire Brass died last Monday. He died suddenly and was only 62 years old. His career was an impressive one, including spans as principal trumpet of orchestras, as a conductor, soloist, and in his most famous role as Empire Brass founding member.
I remember growing up, the Empire Brass was the “other” brass quintet on the scene, next to the Canadian Brass. My dad’s quintet would frequently perform Canadian Brass arrangements and I went with them to hear the group live in Philadelphia. The Empire Brass seemed to be doing “edgier” stuff and I only heard a handful of recordings. But I remember being impressed by their virtuosity and the power in their sound. Now, of course, they are a bedrock group in the brass world. Recently, I got chance to hear some of their album they recorded with organist, Michael Murray. Great stuff.
Rolf will be sorely missed I’m sure. Here is a link to the New York Times article on his death.