No matter how hard I try not to, I keep associating increased tempo markings with improvement.  I keep thinking I'm right in that when I can play exercises a little faster, it must mean I'm getting better.But then something(or someone) always debunks that thought. Let me give you one of many examples.

    Without a doubt, the greatest example I can illustrate is Louis Armstrong playing "Wild Man Blues." Not his 1927 recording of it, but the 1957 recording(I included the example below). After all, there is nothing technically demanding in that opening statement, as far as speed in the fingers or articulation is concerned. But he sounds extremely well. And no matter how many times I correctly play these first few notes on my horn, I feel miles away from achieving the same results. His sound is a gentle gruff with boldness. It's all Louis Armstrong. The day I can say, "So this is what Hector sounds like" is the day I will feel like a true trumpet professional. 

    The style in which he phrases every note is perfect. I've yet to hear another musician swing better than Louis Armstrong.  In my opinion, he’s the best storyteller.