How To Turn A One-Man Band Into An 10-Piece Orchestra

Written by Patrick Jarenwattananon from WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

When trumpeter and composer/arranger Steven Bernstein first met the virtuoso pianist Henry Butler, he says he was floored. “This is it,” he recalls thinking. “This is like the music that I always imagined. Everything you ever loved about music, all being in one place, but now it’s all coming from one person.” Decades later, when they two finally began to work together, Bernstein started to study Butler’s playing — and realized there were more than a few licks that set Butler apart.

Now that Butler and Bernstein co-lead a band called the Hot 9, they break down just how they built an ensemble around one man’s signature style.

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