George Bean (1930-2015) Trumpeter George Bean passed away January 19, 2015 on his 85th birthday. Bean was known by many musicians and music fans throughout the Chicagoland area as a superb trumpet player that performed with many of the world's finest musicians throughout his long career. I knew George as someone with a big heart who wanted to see other musicians succeed. I first met George back in the ‘90s when I was hanging out at WEEDS on Weed Street at John Bany and Dave Baney’s regular gig. One night I sat in for a couple of tunes and during the second tune I heard someone suddenly start playing trumpet from the audience. All of a sudden this guy with big glasses and a pony tail starts taking a solo at the bar and walks up through the crowd and comes up on stage. He had a great sound, wonderful phrasing and was really getting into the solo. I could tell because he was bending and moving as he picked apart each change in the song. On a break he came over and introduced himself and started telling me a long story about lyrical tunes and what he liked to hear the drums behind him play. That was only the first of many times I had the pleasure of playing and hanging with George Bean. In addition to his great playing he was also a wonderful person with a big heart who always gave me advice on tunes and growing as a musician. I still remember him sitting me down and telling me I needed to not only learn tunes but also the lyrics to the tunes because "the phrasing, dynamics and creativity will flow if you know the tune and the lyrics." It took me a while to understand how important that one piece of advice was, but once I was able to grasp the concept it has made all the difference in my playing. So, thank you George for all of the inspiration, the music and the conversation over the years. You will be greatly missed in Chicago.
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