No dearth of defenders

To his many musical friends and fans, trumpeter John Dearth's music needs no defense. However, for those who may not know him (few though they may be, in these parts), I feel compelled to respond to Jeff Humphrey's stating of "the obvious– John D'earth has no ideas and plays them too loudly." [Letter, "Sins of omission," August 8, 2002] (

John has succeeded in the quest of all jazz musicians; he has forged an individual style and sound on his instrument that is immediately recognizable, no mean feat and one that is clearly impossible if one has "no ideas."

And anyone who has listened to John knows that he expresses his ideas within a broad dynamic range. The statement that he "plays them too loudly" is absurd, although if you're in the back of Miller's on a crowded Thursday night, it may only be the ideas expressed loudly that are audible.

Mr. Humphrey might also notice that the Miller's band, under John's light-handed guidance and fueled by his musical ideas, has developed its own sound, too.

I don't know anything about Mr. Humphrey's own music, but I certainly hope he finds success at it, because the tone of his letter suggests that he's well on his way to becoming another frustrated, embittered, never-was-musician-turned critic– just the kind we don't need.


Reggie Marshall