Alex Bezzina: 'Keep your feet on the ground, always aim to master your craft'

Trumpeter Alex Bezzina tells all in our Q&A

Trumpeter and educator currently based in Malta recognised for his wide-ranging stylistic ability. Recording credits such as Blam! Quartet UK (2011) Funkshone ‘2’ UK (2012) Blam! Quartet UK - Attached Detached (2014), World War II (Jazz Suite) (2020) and City Vibes (2021) by Dominic Galea, Xehda (2021) by Big Band Brothers. Visiting lecturer/Tutor at University of Malta, Malta School of Music and Malta Visual and Performing Arts.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

During school days, it’s a 5:15am alarm, followed by coffee and preparing school lunch for my son. On holidays, I wake up early anyway, regretting that I could have slept a bit longer!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Keep your feet on the ground, always aim to master your craft, let others discover your work.

What do you never leave the house without?

It’s sad to admit, but my mobile phone is always with me.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Passionate, empathetic, analytical.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Every second call from my first gig is an achievement, indicating that I was well-prepared for the initial performance.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Having a glass of whiskey before going to sleep after a successful performance. Not recommended! To my young students reading this: please avoid doing this.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Trust your ability, listen to your gut feeling, and pursue it.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My trumpets, of course!

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Learning piano at a young age can be extremely beneficial when becoming a musician.

Who’s your inspiration?

Wynton Marsalis and Quincy Jones, both legendary artists and trumpet players.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Working as a self-employed educator/musician on a small island like Malta requires strict time management and organisational skills. The average pay for each job isn’t great or at par with the current cost of living, so long hours are necessary to gather a salary. Limited audiences mean shorter production runs compared to larger countries. However, every week is unique and exciting.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

I would pursue medicine, aiming to become a specialist. I’ve always admired the dedication and judgement required in the medical field.

Do you believe in God?

I trust my inner voice, which suggests God’s existence and encourages respect for others’ beliefs.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d love to converse with trumpet players from bands like Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and others who experienced the entertainment boom a century ago.

What’s your worst habit?

I often find myself overcommitting to tasks or events because I don’t like saying no or letting people down.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Not sure actually, my friends can answer that better than me.

Who would you have play you in a film?

Andy Samberg.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

When individuals base their actions on assumptions and consistently radiate negative energy.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

I’d trust a fellow musician to decide.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My trumpet.

What is your earliest memory?

Playing football with my dad, visiting his workplace, trips to the beach with my family, and attending my grandmother’s funeral, though I didn’t fully understand it.

When did you last cry, and why?

I cry so many times during movies! Other emotional moments I share with loved ones.

Who would you most like to meet?

Quincy Jones a legend that has done it all.

What’s your favourite food?

Any innovative dish from an experienced chef. However, my wife’s and mother’s dishes top

the list.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I’m not fond of this topic. The sheer number of options in today’s society is overwhelming and triggers anxiety.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

The Savoy Ballroom in New York during the 1930s.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m preparing for lectures at the University of Malta, focusing on books like Marching Band Arranging by William Spencer Pierce and Arranging For The Concert Band by Frank Erickson.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Indestructible lips will make my job much easier.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

I live each day as if it’s my last, so nothing more or less than what I am doing now.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Currently, I’m strategically listening to various genres in preparation for my upcoming trumpet engagements.

These include: Children’s theme music from cartoons for the Do Re Mi project organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Jazz standards, which I’ll be recording with Paul Giordimaina for his radio show.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

The shower is my meditation time ideally in complete silence.