FONT Music Canada 2015 Highlights

Merci & Thank You for an amazing Festival!

Opening night of Festival of New Trumpet Music Canada 2015. Trumpet section of Altsys Jazz Orchestra plays Bill Mahar’s arrangement of Kenny Wheeler’s “Solo One”. From left to right on trumpet: Bill Mahar, Jocelyn Couture, Aaron Doyle. FONT Music Canada 2015 is dedicated to trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler.

FONT Music Canada 2015: Night 1 & 2 Highlights:

  • Jake Henry’s Sweet Talk: Jake Henry – trumpet, Dustin Carlson – guitar, Cody Brown – drums
  • Joes Sullivan Quintet: Joe Sullivan – trumpet, André Leroux – tenor sax, Andre White – piano, Dave Laing – drums.
  • Pink Saliva: Ellwood Epps -trumpet, Michel F Côté drums/microphones, Alexandre St-Onge electric bass/laptop.
  • Stephanie Richards’ Urban Survayor Project (NYC): Stephanie Richards trumpet, James Carney- piano, Sam Minaie -bass, Andrew Munsey – drums.

FONT Music Canada 2015: night 3 Highlights:

  • Frédéric Demers – trumpet & Sonia Paço-Rocchia – electronics.
  • Aaron Shragge -dragon mouth trumpet & Ben Monder Guitar
  • Ingrid Jensen quartet with Ben Monder – guitar, Fraser Hollins – bass, Greg Richie – drums.

Festival of New Trumpet Music Canada 2015 was dedicated to:

Wheeler

Kenny Wheeler (1930-2014) 

FONTCanada2015Sponsors

Interview with Ellwood Epps

Ellwood Epps, co-artistic director of FONT Music Canada performed last night at Cafe Resonance with his trio Pink Saliva. The festival continues tonight:

ellwood-eppsHow did you become a trumpet player? Did you play other instruments before the trumpet? If so, did those instruments inform how you played trumpet? Or did your view of how music is played change once becoming a trumpeter?

My father and his father had played trumpet, so it was chosen for me. I had wanted to play saxophone, and during highschool I did play some baritone, along with a lot of clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, and piano. I imagined becoming a multi-instrumentalist like Roscoe Mitchell or Joseph Jarman, but when I finished highschool, all I had was a trumpet. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I’m glad I did. This is probably why I am so interested in sound, and so little interested in treating the trumpet electronically.

Were there recordings in the beginning and even years into learning the instrument that drew you into the trumpet’s sound and possibilities?

Early on I listened to Dizzy Gillespie’s RCA sides (52nd Street Theme!!!) all of Wynton Marsalis’s records, Bix Beiderbecke, Maurice Adré, Louis Armstrong, Lester Bowie, Miles Davis, and Don Cherry. Later I fell in love with Bill Dixon, Rex Stewart, Henry Red Allen, and Wadada Leo Smith.

People often talk about how the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. Do you feel this is true? What doesn’t the general public understand about playing the trumpet that you wish people would realize?

It is certainly the hardest of the dozen or so instruments I’ve spent some time with, and the least forgiving. Forget about the general public; I wish the musicians I play with realized how much harder it is to play music on this instrument at a morning rehearsal. One doesn’t just unpack and tune up; it’s more like what an athlete does in terms of warming up, knowing one’s limits, and ultimately transcending them.

If you had to identify with one or two gurus, trumpeters or otherwise, who had the greatest impact on your musical journey to date, whom would they be?

In terms of the trumpet, Laurie Frink, Bill Dixon, and Mary Ann Fratia. In terms of the music, David Mott and Bill Dixon. In terms of what’s underneath or behind the music, the practice of Zen Buddhism, the writings of Ken Wilber, and the teachings of Gurdjieff have helped me immensely in making some sense of this life.

Who is your favorite trumpeter today (as in today, the day you are writing this email) and what recorded song available to the public best exemplifies why this trumpeter is so great?

Favourites are ever shifting. Lew Soloff passed away today, and he was such a mighty force in so much good music. In the book Trumpet Profiles, Lew made 4 pages out of a simple questionnaire like this one. He had so much to share. He practiced more, heard more, and played more than almost anyone. People have already heard his solo on Spinning Wheel (Blood Sweat and Tears), and they may also find his work  with George Russell interesting, especially Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature.

Interview with Joe Sullivan

 

joe_sullivan_promo_shot_2How did you become a trumpet player? I started playing trumpet in grade 11. I had been going to a school that had no band program but changed schools to be able to play a wind instrument. I had thought flute at first, but the music teacher suggested the trumpet might be a better option, he had plenty of flute players already, so I went for it.

Did you play other instruments before the trumpet? Yes, I played classical piano from a young age.

If so, did those instruments inform how you played trumpet? It was very helpful, obviously, because when I started trumpet, I could already read music, knew my scales and so on. I had also done theory rudiments, ear training and played at a decent level for my age, though I was far from a standout.

Or did your view of how music is played change once becoming a trumpeter? Both – playing trumpet was so different. I found the reading aspect very easy compared to piano, but on the other hand, the physical challenges were different. There was a social aspect to playing in band that was so much more fun than piano, which is more solitary.

Were there recordings in the beginning and even years into learning the instrument that drew you into the trumpet’s sound and possibilities?
At first, I listened to Bill Chase a lot, because of his rock band. I knew very little of jazz, except for the pre-bebop music from the big band era, which was great. I had joined a general business band that worked quite a bit while I was in high school and got exposed to swing styles that way. But Chase’s band was amazing to me and it showed me what a great instrument the trumpet really is.People often talk about how the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. Do you feel this is true?

I can’t speak for other instruments, and some things about trumpet come easily to me. Not high range of course, that has always been a struggle, but I do really enjoy playing the instrument, it only feels like work when my chops are out of shape or I feel physically weak or tired. It’s a great feeling to warm up slowly and them work on music, like improv concepts or just playing tunes. At those times, the trumpet does not seem so difficult.
What doesn’t the general public understand about playing the trumpet that you wish people would realize?
Nothing. The general public has no need to hear about our struggles with the instrument – if I can’t make music they enjoy listening to, that is not their problem but mine.If you had to identify with one or two gurus, trumpeters or otherwise, who had the greatest impact on your musical journey to date, whom would they be?

Art Farmer remains the trumpet player who has influenced me the most, just because I embraced his beautiful phrasing and harmonic approach early on. When I go back to his recordings I am always struck by how much his playing resonates with me. Miles and Dizzy are very present as well, though I don’t thinks I sound much like them and have never actively imitated either. Miles’ introspective lyricism and Dizzy’s fearless abandon are both essential elements of the complete jazz trumpeters voice, I think. Like everyone, I feel both of those things when I play and I practice to be able to express those emotions in the moment.Who is your favorite trumpeter today and what recorded song available to the public best exemplifies why this trumpeter is so great?

I have been listening to Clark Terry, the virtuoso and happy extrovert – so I guess he is my favorite today….many, many recordings of course. Check him out playing Mack The Knife with Oscar Peterson.

Jake Henry Interview

imgresHow did you become a trumpet player? Did you play other instruments before the trumpet? If so, did those instruments inform how you played trumpet? Or did your view of how music is played change once becoming a trumpeter?

My first instrument was guitar. I was pretty serious about it actually. I started playing trumpet a year after that, but until my last year of high school I considered myself more of a guitarist than a trumpet player. That year I got a gig in a working band on trumpet, and after a lot of shows and a long summer tour that I couldn’t take my guitar on, I was all of a sudden more of a trumpet player and less of a guitarist.  When I got to college, I realized that I had to choose one to focus on and I picked the trumpet.

As for how that’s informed my music, when I ultimately chose to be a trumpet player I spent a lot of time practising the guitar language that I already had in my ears. I started improvising on guitar, so my ears didn’t develop like most trumpeters.  I’ve always had an interest in wide intervals and atypical harmony, and I think I may have spent a little too much time trying to make my trumpet sound like I’m playing it through guitar pedals.

Not to mention that I often write music on the guitar.  My history with the guitar is really what influenced me to write music for trumpet guitar and drums trio.

Were there recordings in the beginning and even years into learning the instrument that drew you into the trumpet’s sound and possibilities?

Here a few that really changed things for me trumpet wise, more or less in order.

Miles Davis “Four and More”, Kenny Wheeler’s “Deer Wan” and “Gnu High”, Dave Douglas’s “Songs for Wandering Souls”, Chris Speed’s albums with Yeah NO featuring Cuong Vu (“Emit” and “Swell Henry” were the ones that I heard first), Mostly Other People Do The Killing’s “Shamokin” with Peter Evans.

People often talk about how the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. Do you feel this is true? What doesn’t the general public understand about playing the trumpet that you wish people would realize?

I don’t think the trumpet is harder than other instruments, I just think that it’s different. I think it can be confusing to learn and maintain because sound production on the trumpet is an abstract concept. In trying to figure it out people often forget about the music, which leads to problems. Mostly though I think that we end up talking about this too much. I don’t believe that it’s helpful to offer the excuse that our instrument is harder, if only because it lowers and codifies our expectations of what we can accomplish. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what difficulties exist in our instruments.  All that matters is what people hear.

If you had to identify with one or two gurus, trumpeters or otherwise, who had the greatest impact on your musical journey to date, whom would they be?

I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of fantastic teachers and mentors that have all helped me a great deal.  Saxophonist Tony Malaby was my most recent teacher and I learned a lot from him. He definitely has played a major role in shaping my musical journey, such as it is. Also, I might not even be playing right now if it wasn’t for Ron DiLauro. He helped me through a really rough trumpet patch years ago and I still use his warmup every day.

Who is your favorite trumpeter today (as in today, the day you are writing this email) and what recorded song available to the public best exemplifies why this trumpeter is so great?

Today? I can’t decide! Here are two: Brad Henkel on “Oh Baby” with TrumpetTrumpetSynthesizer (link to oh baby) and Kenny Warren on “County Line Waltz” with Laila and Smitty (link to county line waltz).