Sept 19-25, 2016 – New York City
Co-Curators Dave Douglas, Marquis Hill, Stephanie Richards, Michael Gurfield, Aaron Shragge, John Blevins, and Taylor Ho Bynum Represent A Broad Spectrum of Styles And Sensibilities
2016 FONT Music Award of Recognition Goes To Jazz Trumpet Legend John McNeil
From September 19 through 25, 2016, New York’s award winning Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music) returns for a new season of genre-crunching, forward-looking brass music.
Since 2003, FONT Music, directed by trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas, has presented exceptional programs of new trumpet music across genres. Along with trumpeters and longtime FONT Music collaborators Stephanie Richards and Aaron Shragge, Douglas and his core team have this year invited a community of brass players to “co-curate” the festival. Trumpeters Marquis Hill, Michael Gurfield, Taylor Ho Bynum, and John Blevins all contribute their unique visions to this year’s extraordinary program.
The theme for the 2016 Festival is Flexus. Flexus is not only the name of an influential book by Laurie Frink and John McNeil, two trumpeters who are honored at the Festival this year, it is also a philosophy of practice. Douglas explains, “Flexus refers to flexibility in every aspect of music making. FONT Music has always celebrated a diversity of means —presenting and supporting new ways of thinking about the instrument and including it in new music of all varieties. Flexus represents our belief in constantly emerging forms, and in our need to broaden the understanding of the possibilities for brass music.”
“Honoring John McNeil” will be the culminating event of the Festival at The New School at 5pm on Sunday September 25. He will be awarded with the festival’s Award Of Recognition, acknowledging him as one of the most original and creative jazz artists in the world today. McNeil’s restless experimentation and stylistic versatility are an apt fit with FONT Music’s mission. Previous recipients include Wadada Leo Smith, Kenny Wheeler, Raymond Mase, Bobby Bradford, Eddie Henderson, and Laurie Frink.
The evening will include a performance of “Anxiety Option” for trumpet and electronics written and performed by Jeff Beal, an accomplished trumpeter and composer of music for film, television, and the concert hall – and a student of both Frink and McNeil. Following Beal’s set, John McNeil will take the stage with his ensemble: Gary Versace, piano; Jerome Harris, bass; and Jay Sawyer, drums. The 2016 Laurie Frink Career Grant award winner, Tony Glausi, will join them. The performance will be preceded by a Panel Discussion about Laurie Frink and brass pedagogy, moderated by Nadje Noordhuis, trumpeter, Frink student, and member of the Laurie Frink Career Grant Board. Panelists include past Laurie Frink students featuring Keyon Harrold, Michael Rodriguez, Dave Ballou, and Dave Douglas.
Signatures in Brass, curated by Marquis Hill, winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, will perform on Wednesday, September 21 and Thursday, September 22 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with sets at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. The group was a highlight of the 2015 Festival of New Trumpet Music performing at the Jazz Gallery. This year Marquis brings the group — featuring trumpeters Marquis Hill, Theo Croker, Maurice Brown, Jason Palmer, Darren Barrett, and Ingrid Jensen — to Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola for two shows, co-sponsored by the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music) and Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC). This marks FONT Music’s first collaboration with JALC, bringing together two formidable advocates for jazz and new music. The shows will also feature a world premiere of new music by Marquis, funded by the FONT Music award of the Roy Campbell, Jr. Commission, in honor of the organization’s co-founder.
Saturday, September 24 features a Night of Large Ensembles at The New School at 7pm. First up is trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum’s PlusTet, a fifteen-piece ensemble made up of some of his closest collaborators, including Tomeka Reid and Nicole Mitchell. Drawing on a variety of techniques from improvised conduction to big band orchestration, the PlusTet presents Bynum’s unique take on the creative orchestra tradition. This special FONT Music performance is the NYC debut of this all-star band, and celebrates the release of the new recording “Enter the PlusTet” (Firehouse 12 Records).
The evening also features a special presentation of trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith’s “Rosa Parks – Oratorio, 6 Songs with Video” performed by a 12-piece ensemble, featuring Ted Daniel, Hugh Ragin, and Graham Haynes. According to Wadada, “‘Rosa Parks’ employs the song form as composition to convey a philosophical and spiritual narrative about my vision of Rosa Parks. The oratorio is concerned with ideas, my meditation on the Civil Rights movement; and through the use of light and video images, reconnecting history with the present.”
Opening the Festival on Monday, September 19 and Tuesday, September 20, curators John Blevins and Aaron Shragge present two nights of programs — Wing Walker Orchestra + FONT Music — that expand the idea of what a trumpet player can do and highlight musical innovation that defies genres. Monday’s program features trumpeters Nadje Noordhuis in a duo with percussionist James Shipp; the Kenny Warren Quartet; and Ralph Alessi playing with the Wing Walker Orchestra. On Tuesday night, trumpeters Aaron Shragge and Eli Asher perform as a duo; Shane Endsley brings his quartet; and Endsley closes the night fronting the Wing Walker Orchestra. Shows start 8pm at Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn.
On Friday, September 23, curator Michael Gurfield presents Explorations in New Music featuring the Brooklyn Brass Quintet and The Practical Trumpet Society at The New School at 7pm. This evening of trumpet music is based around the concept of deconstruction / reconstruction, in reference to both musical material and form, as well as overall aesthetic, which each piece demonstrates in unique ways. The concert includes World and New York Premieres and features the Brooklyn Brass Quintet, The Practical Trumpet Society, and duo trumpeter Jason Price and trombonist Jen Baker. The program includes music by Lim, Globokar, Stockhausen, Kagel, and others.
Asked about the selection of John McNeil as the FONT Music Awardee for 2016, Dave Douglas said, “McNeil has long been a forward-looking voice on the instrument in jazz, influencing many in subsequent generations. His unique view of jazz practice has opened doors for countless players. FONT Music is proud to be able to celebrate him in our community this year.” Douglas added, “Laurie Frink was really a pillar of the trumpet community. Not only did she support FONT Music from its very inception, including performing several times, she was also a teacher to many of the trumpeters involved. The book she co-wrote with John McNeil called Flexus continues to be a source of inspiration to trumpeters around the globe. Her approach to music is one we can all aspire to.”
Nate Chinen of the New York Times described the Festival last season: “the Festival of New Trumpet Music…folds an enormous range of original music into its embrace. Increasingly, Mr. Douglas has engaged a brain trust of fellow trumpeters to help program the event.” The 2016 Festival continues this tradition, furthering its mission to support a diverse community of trumpet and brass players, and presenting their work to the public.
At a Glance:
2016 Festival of New Trumpet Music Program – Flexus
Monday, September 19 8:00 pm $10
Visionaries Night 1 @ Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn
Music for Wing Walkers + FONT Music featuring Nadje Noordhuis, Kenny Warren, Ralph Alessi with Wing Walker Orchestra
Tuesday, September 20 8:00 pm $10
Visionaries Night 2 @ Threes Brewing, 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn
Music for Wing Walkers + FONT Music featuring Aaron Shragge, Eli Asher, Shane Endsley with Wing Walker Orchestra
Wednesday, September 21 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm $35
Thursday, September 22 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm $40
Signatures in Brass @ Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
Curated by Marquis Hill. Featuring Marquis Hill, Theo Croker, Maurice Brown, Jason Palmer, Darren Barrett, and Ingrid Jensen
World premiere of new music by Marquis Hill, funded by FONT Music’s Roy Campbell, Jr. Commission.
Friday, September 23 7:00 pm $20
Explorations in New Brass Music @ The New School, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street
Curated by Michael Gurfield. Featuring the Brooklyn Brass Quintet, The Practical Trumpet Society, and Jason Price. Music by Lim, Globokar, Stockhausen, Kagel, and others.
Saturday, September 24 7:00 pm $20
Night of Large Ensembles @ The New School, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street
Taylor Ho Bynum’s PlusTet, a 15-piece ensemble with Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell and many others
Wadada Leo Smith’s “Rosa Parks” – Oratorio, 6 Songs with Video, a 12-piece ensemble featuring Ted Daniel, Hugh Ragin, Graham Haynes.
Sunday, September 25 3:00 pm FREE
Panel @ The New School, Glass Box Performance Space, Arnhold Hall, 1st floor, 55 West 13th Street
Panel Discussion about Laurie Frink and brass pedagogy, moderated by Nadje Noordhuis. Panelists include past Laurie Frink students Keyon Harrold, Michael Rodriguez, Dave Ballou, and Dave Douglas.
Sunday, September 25 5:00 pm BY DONATION
Honoring John McNeil @ The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center,
Arnhold Hall, Room I-202, 55 West 13th Street
Featuring Jeff Beal, John McNeal Ensemble & Laurie Frink Career Grant awardee Tony Glausi