July 29, 2021

Trumpets to Heaven: Goodbye Cristián Cuturrufo

The death of Cristián Cuturrufo impacted not only the Chilean music scene, but also the entire country, which saw in the artist how COVID-19 is increasingly affecting young people. As a tribute, we published the text of one of his friends, the journalist Rodrigo Pincheira, accompanied by images by the photographer Alexis Díaz Belmar.

It is not easy being a trumpet player. Whoever chooses that destination will be a pilgrim and a fighter at the same time.

Daniel Salzano said it «My children will be: trumpeters or they will be nothing, I forbid them surgeons, architects, much less bankers, men of the stock market, They will be trumpeters, wonders since they were children … I put them against the sky, I explain them about God and Louis Armstrong. My children will be barefoot, wandering, arrested, touched by one or more loves, they will find them, of course, the trumpet ».

Disc recording “Chile Jazz”, 2005 © Alexis Díaz Belmar.

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Here, at this sad hour of the night, Chet Baker upholds the sentence. It is not easy being a trumpet player.

There is a star inside, three mysteries and an epiphany. That is enough to steal something from death and sadness.

Cristian Cuturrufo, 2010 © Alexis Díaz Belmar.

Diaguita told me it was when he formed a legion and a tribe in Chilean jazz in the early 90’s

He was one of the ambassadors of the good news. With Pablo Vergara, Claudia Acuña, Ignacio González, Cristian Gálvez, Pancho Molina, Jorge Díaz, Rossana Saavedra, Titae Lindl, among others, he understood that jazz is a possibility, not a border. A place for dialogue, not a dogma. That’s why we hear him play La Bikina O Tenderly without catechism.

In that attitude, open and libertarian, he developed an up-front solo sound and attack. But not only that. A complete performance: joy, charm and empathy as colorful as the port where it was born. I’m from Coquimbo, he said, and he wanted to save himself as a pirate but couldn’t.

In these territories he forged deep friendships with Marlon Romero and his clan, Nacho González and his motutos, Pancho Molina and the Titulares, Alejandro Espinosa and his drums, and he was a mentor to Antonio Novoa, another prodigy of the trumpet.

When a musician dies it is as if a street were closed, a library burned down or the sun no longer rose. That is why it is difficult to be a trumpeter.

The places and the memory will keep forever the sound of his trumpet, next to the laughter and that push of autopoiesis that he always had.

Yes, it is difficult to be a trumpet player. Gonzalo Rojas was able to write it: «I hear it in the improvisation of heaven, the angels fly in the Latin Augustus of Rome with the trumpets very free, very slow, in a chord that is no longer time, in a buzzing of arteries and petals to leave me in the torrent with the waves… ».

One day a good-natured, cheerful and hyperbolic boy appeared in Chilean music. That was Cristián Cuturrufo, trumpeter and portent of humanity.

Cuturrufo Trumpets © Alexis Díaz Belmar