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Dave Douglas Remembers Roy Campbell Jr.

9.29.52 – 1.9.14

Roy Campbell and Dave Douglas (photo: Suzannah P. Kincannon)
Roy Campbell and Dave Douglas (photo: Suzannah P. Kincannon)
Roy Campbell

Roy and I were playing in rival street bands in New York when I met him in 1984. He was about 10 years older than me. The way it worked was that someone would come down early to stake out the best spots: City Hall, Times Square, Astor Place, the Plaza. So Roy and I were from opposing teams and yet Roy was the first trumpeter I met and befriended in the city. He was one of the most enduring and loyal of colleagues; our paths crossed many times, in many ways.

Roy was a majestic player. His range and creativity were always a marvel in ways both technical and emotional. But the thing he had that was so special was that inner fire. You’d see him about to go into the music with his horn and he’d get that sparkle in his eye, that little smile. It was a look that told you this guy knew what he was there for and was ready to go get it. Look out!

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