Aaron Shragge

January 15, 2014

Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble & Tim Hagans/Jukkis Uotila duo at Village Zendo

Villagers and Trumpet 4: FONT at the Village Zendo will featureMichele Brangwen Dance Ensemble and the Tim Hagans/Jukkis Uotila duo at 8 pm, Friday, January 17 2014 at The Village Zendo.

The program will include DREAM-TRANE and INVITATION, two excerpts from SANCTUARY MOON, in which gongs, Burma bells, wood blocks and snaps combine with trumpet and saxophone to create an environment in which dancers and musicians evoke the emotions conjured by these ancient sounds on modern ears.

In DREAM-TRANE two musicians tell each other their dreams using their instruments and dancers as extensions of their psyche. The work is completely improvised based on a concept by Michele Brangwen and Seth Paynter. INVITATION, which features choreography by Michele Brangwen and music by Seth Paynter, invites us to unite poetically within ourselves and with each other.

$16 online tickets click here.
$20 at the door the night of the show.
For more info contact:


Music by Tim Hagans
Choreography & Poetry by Michele Brangwen
Performed by Robin Gilbert, dancer
Tim Hagans, trumpet

Music & Choreography Created Spontaneously In the Moment By All performers
Concept by Michele Brangwen & Seth Paynter
Performers by: Lindsey McGill & Michele Brangwen, dancers
Tim Hagans, trumpet
Seth Paynter, opera gongs


Music by Seth Paynter
Choreography by Michele Brangwen
Performed by Lindsey McGill, Robin Gilbert & Michele Brangwen, dancers
Seth Paynter, saxophone
Tim Hagans, wood block & Burma bells

Set II

Tim Hagans – Trumpet Jukkis Uotila – Drums with guest Seth Paynter

The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble is a contemporary dance company featuring all new choreography, live original music, and the integration of all its musicians into the imagery, so that dancers and musicians break the boundaries of traditional ensemble interaction. Performance works include original choreography and music as well as improvisation by all performers, creating a spontaneous performance environment where anything can happen. The Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble is known for innovative format, bold subject matter, and wide range of music spanning from classical to jazz to avant-garde and experimental. Now entering its 15th Season, the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble is based in New York City and in Houston, Texas.



Tim Hagans is a Grammy-nominated jazz trumpet player and composer. He performs and records with the Tim Hagans Quartet. The Moon Is Waiting, his latest CD (Palmetto Records, 2011), features his quartet performing all original compositions by Hagans. It was heralded by JazzTimes as “scrumptious madness,” by Downbeat as “an artistic success,” and by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “free jazz with constant drive and passion.” Hagans is a featured soloist on Howard Shore’s soundtrack for The Score starring Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro. For 15 years he was artistic director and composer-in-residence for the Norrbotten Big Band, traveling to Sweden to perform, conduct and arrange projects with guest artists such as Rufus Reid, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano. Last year Hagans was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Hagans is composer-in-residence with the Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, which works exclusively with live original music. In January 2012 Hagans’ Outside My Window was performed with the MBDE at Dance Theatre of Harlem. He has played with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Stan Kenton, Joe Lovano, Dexter Gordon, and Thad Jones. Hagans is the subject of the feature documentary Boogaloo Road, directed by Runar Enberg and Marianne Soderberg for Swedish television.

January 11, 2014

Roy Campbell, Jr.

It is with deep sadness that FONT has learned of the passing of co-founder Roy Campbell, Jr.

At an early age Roy Campbell, Jr. was mentored by jazz trumpet legends such as Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham. He went on to have a career that spanned over four decades in which he performed internationally and collaborated with countless world class musicians including: William Parker, Matthew Shipp and Don Cherry.

Roy Campbell, Jr. was an inspiration as both a human being and musician and will be greatly missed by musicians and listeners who were deeply touched by his powerful music. Funeral arrangements  will be announced soon. Please see Larry Blumenfeld’s piece “On the Resonant Voices of Roy Campbell and Amiri Baraka” in ARTINFO

November 17, 2013

FONT 2013 Press Highlights

“This was a community — 52 strong, plus followers, showing its power and diversity, alloyed through the possibilities of the trumpet.”Larry Blumenfeld’s for ARTINFO.

“…full of insight, with a logical sense of phrase that occasionally evoked Clifford Brown. “New York Times – review of Marcus Belgrave at Jazz Standard by Nate Chinen.

“…they made a mighty sound.”New York Times review of Henry Brant/Butch Morris show by Viven Schweitzer.

The Pace ReportBrian Pace video interview with Marcus Belgrave at the Jazz Standard.

The Checkout from WBGOJosh Jackson’s interview with Marcus Belgrave.

September 30, 2013

Marcus Belgrave at the Jazz Standard

Tuesday and Wednesday, October 1st and 2nd, 7:30pm and 9:30pm – Jazz Standard – 116 E 27th St, NY 10016

Festival of New Trumpet Music Celebrates The Marcus Belgrave Quartet with Geri Allen, Marion Hayden, and Kassa Overall.

Marcus Belgrave is Detroit’s internationally recognized jazz trumpet great. He came to prominence in the late 50’s, touring and recording with the late great Ray Charles’ Orchestra, at the height of Ray’s hit-making era. Marcus is heard as a trumpet soloist on some of Ray’s most famous “hits”… both albums and singles. He always pays tribute to Ray, who mentored him from the young age of 19. He is the only living member of Ray Charles’ small band horn section. He was also mentored by the Great Clifford Brown. Clifford’s early influence on the young Belgrave can still be heard in his tone. Belgrave then spent the early 60’s spearheading the modern jazz movement in New York working and recording in the bands of such major innovators as Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Max Roach.

Belgrave moved to Detroit in the early 1960’s to join Motown Records as staff trumpeter, playing on most of the Motown hits. Marcus has established himself as Detroit’s foremost jazz musician. He was recently awarded the singular title of the official Jazz Master Laureate for the City of Detroit., as well as a Kresge 2010 Eminent Artist award for his 46 years of service to the young musicians of Detroit.

Always the teacher, Marcus continues to mentor the “next generation” of jazz musicians. His protégés include the who’s who of young jazz musicians: violinist, Regina Carter, bassist, Robert Hurst, saxophonist, Kenny Garrett, pianist Geri Allen, saxophonist James Carter, guitarist, Ray Parker Jr., drummer Ali Jackson, the list goes on and on. Marcus Belgrave, Jazz Master, Mentor.

September 21, 2013

Artist statement from Dave Douglas

Festival of New Trumpet Music 2013

Even though trumpet was one of my earliest instruments after piano and trombone, I always naturally thought of myself as a musician. It didn’t occur to me that I was a trumpet player until it was way too late, which is one of the reasons for this festival. It’s to celebrate the trumpet as a piece of equipment in the hands of musicians of every variety, to counter the idea of the trumpeter as a music jock, a sort of athlete of the high notes and proponent of the showiest, brassiest sounds regardless of what the music calls for. We celebrate the Music first. Then the Trumpet, then the New. This is a Festival for music and musicians involved in some of the most compelling, expressive, protean, challenging, and fun music around.

When I finally realized and accepted that I was a trumpeter I was drawn to unique sounding players like Miles Davis, Thad Jones, Lester Bowie, Woody Shaw, Herb Robertson, and of course all the other giant spirits of jazz. I also listened to great classical players like Gerard Schwarz and Raymond Mase, more recently Alison Balsam and Hakan Hardenberger. But I am really a sucker for Macedonian and Mexican brass bands. When the trumpet itself makes people dance how can you not smile?

They say the trumpet is the hardest instrument to play. I’m not sure I agree — they are probably all equally hard. But the trumpet is exposed and personal, like the human voice. You have to figure out how to get a part of your body to effortlessly vibrate at extremely high velocities. This is why trumpet sounds range from the most vulnerable to the most brazen and powerful.

Aside from all those trumpeters I’ve loved, John McNeil, Carmine Caruso, and Laurie Frink have had the biggest impact on my life as a musician-trumpeter. No question, without them I would not be where I am today. We would likely not be doing this festival. I met co-founder Roy Campbell when I first came to New York in 1984 and at that time I was studying with Carmine. Roy and I heard each other a lot around that time. In starting this festival we both had the same sense that a booster organization for creative
trumpeter/composers was an essential job that needed to be done.

Every year we try to cast as broad a net as we can. We try to support recent arrivals to the scene. We try to celebrate creative pioneers who have pointed the way. And yet, no matter how broad the net, we are always discovering new players and new sounds. We always leave people out, unintentionally! This is one of the richest periods ever as far as new music goes.

I practiced a lot today, so if you ask me who is my favorite trumpeter today I am going to say that I am my favorite trumpeter today. How about that? We are all out here practicing to make music and life better. And we all doing it together one note at a time. I love so many players these days and the Festival of New Trumpet Music is a way of celebrating that.

For the past few years I have been involved in music and spirituality, through recording hymns and spirituals, and through exploring the essence of making music in the moment. Hugh Ragin is a trumpeter who shares that pursuit. When the concert hall at St. Peter’s Church became available for this festival I knew right away that I wanted to present my suite Pathways there. And I knew I would try to get Hugh Ragin to do something. He surpassed my wildest imagination by creating music for the vespers service itself! I cannot wait to hear it.

As I listen to this year’s honoree Marcus Belgrave what amazes me most is how he pulls notes out from all around the horn, the embouchure, and the room. Watching him play is like watching popcorn pop — you never know where the next movement is going to come from. He has one of the most amazing techniques I have ever seen. We are proud to bring him to New York with his own group to honor him with our Award of Recognition.

The Henry Brant Flight Over A Global Map for 52 trumpets and percussion is our pièce de resistance this season. I’ve never been involved in anything like this. So many great trumpeters are coming forward to play. It has been a supreme piece of work to organize and I know it is going to be an amazing thrill that will not be repeated any time soon.

Festival of New Trumpet Music enters its 11th season stronger than ever. New board members, new players, new venues. As a 501(c)3 public nonprofit we appreciate all the support we have had and encourage interested parties to visit our site and consider donating. Thank you. Dave Douglas

September 21, 2013

FONT 2013 at St-Peter’s

Sunday, September 22nd @ 3:30pm, 5pm and 7pm – St. Peter’s Church – 619 Lexington Ave at 54th St, NY 10022 Free admission for 3:30pm and 5pm events, 20$ suggested donation for 7pm event.

3:30pm a talk with Ted Daniel on Exploring the correlation between improvisation and therapy. 5pm: Vespers with Hugh Ragin and trumpeters.7pm: Hugh Ragin with David Amram, Lew Soloff, James Zollar, Myles Sloniker, Bruce Cox.  

Hugh Ragin

Best known for capably filling the problematic trumpet chair in saxophonist David Murray’s various large ensembles, Hugh Ragin possesses the well-rounded technique and abundant imagination that his predecessors in those bands did not. A harmonically daring player, Ragin combines the clear, ringing tone of a classical trumpeter with the chops and rhythmic ingenuity of a top-notch bebopper. Ragin was raised in Houston, TX. Ragin received schoolboy honors in music (traveling to England and Wales with the Houston All-City High School Orchestra) then attended the University of Houston, where he received his bachelor’s degree in music education. Trumpeter Donald Byrd influenced Ragin around this time. Ragin attended Colorado State University, receiving his master’s in classical trumpet performance. In late 1978, he attended the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY, where he studied composition with Roscoe Mitchell. The following summer, he played the annual jazz festival in Moers, Germany, with the Roscoe Mitchell/Leo Smith Creative Orchestra. Later that year, he toured with Anthony Braxton.

 Since then, Ragin has periodically traveled to Europe to perform and teach. Ragin first met Murray in 1980; he toured with Maynard Ferguson throughout 1983. In 1985, Murray brought him to New York to play in his band. The two have been close musical associates ever since. On his 1999 album An Afternoon in Harlem (Justin Time), he’s joined by Murray, drummer Andrew Cyrille, and pianist Craig Taborn. He followed with more releases for Justin Time: Fanfare & Fiesta in 2001 and Feel the Sunshine in 2002. Ragin has taught extensively, including a stint at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Lew Soloff

A consummate fixture on the New York jazz scene, Lew Soloff’s career is filled with a rich history of renowned sessions and world-class collaborations. From the time he eased into the east coast world of trend setting musicians in the mid 1960s, Soloff’s creative ventures have resulted in a respected body of work that places him in a category of true accomplishment and keeps his elegant and lyrical signatures in constant demand. Whether interpreting a standard or improvising on an original composition, his phrasing and note choices exemplify his unique voice. Soloff is known as a virtuoso with tremendous range and superior technical command, yet he exudes a wisdom for quietness and melody. Soloff’s expertise includes trumpet, flugelhorn, harmon mute, plunger mute and he is particularly recognized for his work on piccolo trumpet.

Monday, September 23nd 7pm – St. Peter’s Church – 619 Lexington Ave at 54th St, NY 10022  20$ suggested donation 

Dave Douglas Quintet and Sextet with special guest vocalist Heather Masse and Jon Irabagon, Josh Roseman, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston. Post concert reception celebrating release of new album.

Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas is a prolific trumpeter, composer and educator from New York City.

His unique contributions to improvised music have garnered distinguished recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Copland award and two Grammy nominations. Douglas has developed his work for several unique ensembles with whom he’s currently active, including his new quintet, an electric sextet (Keystone), and Sound Prints Quintet, co-led with saxophonist Joe Lovano. His new quintet released its debut recording, Be Still, in September 2012 with singer Aoife O’Donovan, the first time Douglas has featured a vocalist on a recording. The follow-up to that critically-acclaimed recording, Time Travel, was released in April 2013.

Since 2005, Douglas has operated his own record label, Greenleaf Music, releasing his own recordings as well as albums by other artists in the jazz idiom. Through his artist-friendly approach and innovative practices, he continues to prove himself a pioneer in new music marketing and delivery methods for the jazz world and among artist-run labels.

Douglas has held several posts as an educator and impresario. From 2002 to 2012, he served as artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at The Banff Centre in Canada. He is a co-founder and director of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2012. In 2013, he begins his second year as International Jazz Artist in Residence at the Royal Academy of Music in London and launches his own Jazz Workshop, dedicated to enriching the musical experiences of younger players.

September 14, 2013

Q&A with Richard Johnson

img_5395How 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 dad had an old horn he played in high school that he kept in the closet at home. A few times a year we would get it out and the whole family would take turns trying to make a sound on it. When I started 5th grade I wanted to play drums or saxophone, but when they said both those sections were full I figured I could try the trumpet, since we already had one at home. I remember once I got started it just felt like the right thing, like I was supposed to play trumpet all along. Eventually a solo on “Sleigh Ride” that ended with a half-valved horse whinny planted the seed for sonic exploration. What other sounds could I get out of this horn?

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

When I first started playing my Dad brought home a jazz trumpet compilation tape from the discount bin at a local record shop. It had a little of everything – Armstrong, Eldridge, Dizzy, Miles, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Maynard, Al Hirt. It was amazing to hear all the different sounds everyone had on this one instrument. Later on in high school my band director, an alto player, would give my records to take home and check out. One day he sent me home with copy of “Bitches Brew”. I still remember putting it on the turntable, shutting off the light and sitting on my bed to listen. It completely blew my mind!

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?

Maybe it isn’t that the trumpet is the hardest to play, but that it’s one of the easiest to hurt yourself with. No one really likes to talk about it, but a lot of us struggle through periods of serious, sometimes almost career ending, injuries from playing too hard or too much.

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?

That said, Laurie Frink has had and will always have a huge impact on my musical journey. Her teaching and support helped me through more than one rough spot in my playing and I’m forever grateful.

Growing up, two local trumpeters, Dr. George Hitt and Bernie Bernstein, were my musical grandfathers. Their teaching, support and encouragement started me on my path.

How did you select the people you wanted to showcase in your particular curation?

We’re these people you felt we’re deserving of wider recognition? We’re they people you felt shared a similar working aesthetic as you or came from someplace completely differently?

I curated this years run at Douglass Street Music Collective. Douglass Street is one of those spaces people can explore their own ideas and sounds without having to worry about commercial success. A place you can take risks that you may not feel comfortable taking somewhere else. Some of the players I know from sitting alongside them in big bands in the city. It’s always great to play in those groups and hear about what everyone is working on. The rest are people have submitted recordings to FONT and we have a chance to feature them this year. In my opinion, all the groups are deserving of wider recognition as they all bring their own visions to the concept of small group improvisation and composition and I’m excited to hear them all.

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 badass?

My favorite trumpeter right now, this morning?
Mr. Trumpet Man

What event besides the events you curated are you most looking forward to checking out live?

The Zendo, Smoke, Jazz Standard – it’s hard to pick just one thing… but I am looking forward to the Henry Brant piece at Roulette – Fifty. Two. Trumpets


September 14, 2013

Q&A with Aaron Shragge

Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) Preview Week

Q&A with Aaron Shragge
Curator of FONT 2013 Program at the
Village Zendo

Click here for the full 2013 FONT  Program

How did you become a trumpet player? Did you play any other instruments before the trumpet?

The was something about the sound of the trumpet that sparked my interest around the time I was eleven years old. I had already played the violin and then briefly the accordion but without very much dedication or success.

The moment when I decided I was going to become a trumpet player was much later in high school when I had a transcendent experience improvising. The feeling I had while improvising on the horn seemed to instantly liberate me from all my worries and give my life new meaning and direction.

I also feel like really being a trumpet player is never becoming a trumpet player. It’s never arriving at any fixed destination. It’s to relentlessly and fearlessly grow towards what is limitless by continually bowing to the practice of an instrument that has an endless number lessons to teach us.

If so, did those instruments inform how you played the trumpet?

I find what most informs my trumpet playing is the practice of the Japanese Flute, the Shakuhachi and North Indian Vocals. Playing the Shakuhachi for the last nine years has changed the way I breath as well as the way I hear sound and space. From learning North Indian Vocals over the last seven years I’ve developed a greater awareness of my throat, which allows me to open my trumpet sound in different ways. The singing has also revolutionized the way I hear intonation and the space between each pitch. It’s from learning these musical traditions away from the trumpet that lead me to develop a custom horn with a seven position slide as well as valves, built by Josh Landress.

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

On of the recording that sticks out the most is Jon Hassell’s album Facsinoma. I remember hearing it at a record store in L.A and not realizing that what I was hearing was a trumpet. His sound had so much breath and the subtlety-flexibility of a voice. Later I would make the connection that the style of Indian vocals that I was learning had been the same that Jon Hassell has studied many years before.

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 trumpet that you wish people would realize?

I think the trumpet is as hard as we make it. Though I do feel that before I met Laurie Frink I didn’t stand a chance in every getting anywhere. I think once you find the right method/teacher it’s not as bad as everyone says. It is high maintenance but I see that as a blessing. The ritual of practicing the trumpet is what keeps me going through everything that I face in life.

I do wish more people would realize that there are an abundance of different ways the trumpet can be played. So many times whether in school or in performance situations I get the sense that people still assume the trumpet is about being loud high and fast. That is why I think FONT is so amazing and important. I think it represents a very unique all inclusive trumpet culture that not nearly enough listeners of the instrument are aware of.

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

I’d say Laurie Frink, for simply proving to me that what I thought I’d never be able to do on the trumpet was possible.

Then I’d say my Indian vocal teacher Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. I feel that I’ve learned music from him as intimately as a child learns language from their parents. He also never gives up on pushing me way past where I think I can go.

Last, I’d have to list my flute teacher Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin. He has a powerful compassionate presence that comes through his playing/teaching and it is something that I always think of when I play music.

How did you select the people you wanted to showcase in you particular curation? We’re these people you felt we’re deserving of wider recognition? We’re they people you felt shared a similar working aesthetic as you or came from someplace completely differently?

What attracted me to RPE duo is how Matt Postle’s trumpet seamlessly integrates with Radek Rudnick’s electronics. Listening to their music in a way reminds me of meditating at the Zendo. As we are on Broadway there can be some very intense city sounds that come up from the street and as you sit those sounds become a sonic landscape for seeing your mind. In a similar way Matt’s trumpet focuses the various musical textures of Radek’s soundscape. For that reason I thought they would be perfect for performing at the Village Zendo.

Douglas Detrick is the first person I talked to about bringing FONT to the Zendo and I’m extremely grateful for his guidance in the organization and curating process. I believe his music is a perfect fit for the Zendo because it maintains an incredible balance between being compositionally challenging and aesthetically pleasing to the listener. In a similar way the openness of the Zendo can be equally inviting and challenging to all those that enter the space to meditate.

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 badass?

It’s hard to list one, but I’d have to say Kenny Wheeler, Angel Song.There is something about the depth of his sound and the sensitivity of his musical ideas that never ceases to amaze me.

Talk a bit about the venue you chose to curate in? Why is it special to you? Why do you want people to experience that particular venue? Or was it the most hospitable venue available for what you wanted to do?

The Village Zendo has existed as a meditation center in lower Manhattan for over twenty five years. Since 2009, Village Zendo Arts has been presenting music, visual art, music film and theatre at the Zendo. In 2012, we began “Villagers and Trumpet” an ongoing series in collaboration FONT music that is inspired by a Zen parable in which villagers gain insight into their true nature through listening to a visitor play the trumpet.

People often say there is a real vibe or energy at the Zendo, which might be because there are people meditating there three times a day. Either way it’s a beautiful loft space with wonderful warm acoustics and it provides the listener with an extremely intimate way to experience creative music.

I hold the Village Zendo as a space and community close to my heart. I feel as though the community there is like my family and has allowed me to grow in ways that I never thought possible. It is for that reason that I’m all the more excited to share it with the trumpet/greater musical community.

Can you all share an anecdote about this year’s honoree Marcus Belgrave and what bearing, if any, he has had on you life as a listener, trumpet player, student of appreciator of creative music?

What I find most inspiring about Marcus Belgrave is that beyond his huge contribution to wide range of musical styles he has also dedicated himself to mentoring and educating others. In an interview with Bret Primack Marcus said some of the best advice he can give his students is to “…Look inside yourself and see wherever you want to go…and follow your dream.” I feel these are powerful words to live by not only as a human being but especially as a trumpet player.

What even besides the events you curate are you most looking forward to checking out live?

Hard to pinpoint one but I think I’ll really enjoy the diversity represented at both Smoke and Douglass Street, though I hope to be at every concert!