Scotty Barnhart discusses his musical journey during the Panorama Creative Music Summit

Joselyn Green, Reporter

Bakersfield College has put together a music summit with the acclaimed jazz trumpeter, Scotty Barnhart. This webinar took place on Nov.18. According to Florida State University, Barnhart is also a “composer, arranger, educator, author and is the Director of the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.” Florida states that he is “A featured trumpet soloist with the orchestra for over 20 years.”
Two of Barnhart’s former students, from FSU, won first place in the National Jazz Trumpet Competition stated on the Florida State University website. Scotty Barnhart is the Current director of the Count Basie orchestra. Scotty Barnhart was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia.
Barnhart said the basis for him becoming a musician was his mother. She was a vocalist organist pianist, and she would play and sing classical music in church.
Barnhart mentioned that the church that he grew up in was the same church Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was raised which was Ebenezer Baptist Church. Barnhart was in the children’s choir from ages 12-17, and his mom was in the church choir.
Barnhart said he asked his parents for a violin, and when it was the day he was supposed to get the violin, his mother got out of the car and opened the trunk for him and there was a black case. When he opened the case, it was a silver Yamaha trumpet.
“I never thought about the violin ever again a day in my life.” Barnhart said, “I’ve been playing trumpet now for 46 years, that’s how that started.”
He started taking private trumpet lessons when he was around the age of 13 or 14 for two and a half years. Freddie Hubbard’s record “bundle of joy” was a great song that Barnhart loved. He mentioned that the song changed his life.
Barnhart went to see the Count Basie Orchestra play in Atlanta, and he saw the orchestra walking toward him at their hotel. Sonny Cohn talked with Barnhart and invited him to dinner. Cohn invited him the next morning to show the Basie orchestra what he was working on.
Barnhart went to London on a tour, called Jazz of broad, a month later and one of the guys on the tour said there was someone by the name of Wynton Marsalis that was going to play at a club. According to Barnhart, he instantly recognized who he was.
“We bought like 30 tickets,” Barnhart said. “When he walked in the club, he got a standing ovation for just walking in the club because at that time there was no other more exciting person in Jazz period end of the story.”
According to Barnhart, Marsalis walked up to him and said, “Hey man I got the greatest drummer in the world.”
Barnhart said Marsalis was talking about Jeff Watts. After talking to Marsalis, Barnhart watched him perform with the wrong trumpet for his first set, and he was more than shocked to hear it sound just as great. Marsalis and Barnhart became friends then and are currently still friends and close.
Barnhart said that Marsalis has been someone that has helped him understand what professionalism is and understanding the grand tradition that they have inherited.