Author

Lukas Frei

February 22, 2019

Stephanie Richards Interview, NYC

Source: https://jazztrail.net/interviews/stephanie-richards-interview-nyc

Name: Stephanie Richards
Instrument: trumpet, flugelhorn
Style: modern creative, avant-garde jazz
Album Highlights: Fullmoon (Relative Pitch, 2018), Take The Neon Lights (Fresh Sound, 2019)

Tell us a bit more about your forthcoming album, Take the Neon Lights.
This next record is my second record. Unlike the first [Fullmoon], with solo trumpet and a very experimental concept, this one goes more into my roots as a jazz musician. Compositionally, the music is still really complex and rhythmic. It’s a quartet and a lot of the compositions are in song form, so we have cycles over which we improvise. There’s also some open improvisation in there, I mean, it’s still experimental but definitely much more of a jazz record. The music itself is about New York City. I’ve been living here for 10 years now, so I wrote it for certain places in Brooklyn and New York. There is also poetry that was written for NYC and I kind of linked to it by giving each tune the title of a poem.

Why the option for a jazz quartet?
Well, it’s interesting that the instrumentation determines a little bit if it’s jazz or not. It’s a lot easier to call it jazz when you have a quartet and it’s really hard to call it jazz if I’m playing my trumpet against a timpani or a snare drum. But, at the same time, I see it as the same. When improvising, I’m responding to the same information.

What music genres outside of jazz influence you?
I listen to a lot of music. James Brown is a huge influence. I like funk music a lot and for a period of time that was all I did. I’m also really excited about what’s going on in the indie rock scene. I think there’s so much crossover between indie rock musicians and jazz improvisers, especially in a place like New York.

I know you’ve collaborated with the Pixies, which is a band I grew up listening to. How did that happen?
I played in a group called Asphalt Orchestra, formed ten years ago in New York, and the idea behind it was: we’re going to play new music but we’re going to be choreographed. We had this idea for our second album while on tour, and at one point we all agreed we wanted to listen to Pixies record Surfer Rosa. Everyone in the band was digging the record so much and we just had this conversation: ‘man, what if we did a cover record? This is kind of a new music ensemble.’ That was awesome, it was so much fun. We toured that project and opened for Pixies several times.

What made you choose the trumpet?
I wish I had a romantic answer for you (laughs). I was lucky to go to a school that had a band program and I liked the trumpet because, at that time, I had the idea to move between the orchestra and the jazz band. That flexibility was a nice reason when I look at the music I play now. I’m always moving between different genres and different communities.

You played at Winter JazzFest. How was the experience?
At Winter JazzFest you’re playing for people who really love jazz. It’s not like in those clubs where half of the people are there for dinner. There are so many musicians, there’s such a good hang, and the audience is a mix of musicians, writers, lovers of music and people coming from all over the world. I felt especially honored because it was the last set of the last day of the festival and it meant a lot every single person that waited to see us.

Can you tell me two persons who have influenced you the most as a musician?
The first one and most clear is Butch Morris. He influenced me so much. I had the fortune of meeting Butch through a mutual friend. I was playing at my friend’s wedding and Butch pulled me aside, saying: ‘I got the good whiskey.’ (laughs). And then he looked at me and said: ‘you’re not really a trumpet player’. It took me a moment to realize he meant that as the biggest compliment he could give because what I take from his words is that I wasn’t playing the instrument in a traditional way. After that moment, he kind of took me under his wing and he showed me around New York. He introduced me to Henry Threadgill and kind of hooked us up together. I also learned so much from working with Henry, listening to him and watching him.

Is there someone who you would like to collaborate with?
There’s so many and I can go so many different directions, but if I could… in my dreams, it would be Wayne Shorter.

If not a musician, what would you be?
Maybe a dancer or an athlete. Trumpet is a very athletic instrument and I actually love that aspect. I think my body has more music inside of it than my brain does, so when I’m playing I usually let my body take over.

What was the first jazz album you fell in love with?
My first jazz record was Kind of Blue but I didn’t fall in love with it. It took me a long time. I didn’t understand the context or what that music meant. I got the record, I listened to it because teachers were telling me to check it out, I transcribed solos, and then a few years later I picked it up again and could hear the colors inside of it. I could hear the sophistication and the class and the taste that Bill Evans had, and what Miles Davis was doing, which was totally pioneering. My second record was just a collection of all the Verve recordings. A four CD-set of kind of old jazz that took me through decades of jazz, starting in the 20s. I remember being super into J.J. Johnson and Duke Ellington.

Are you working on any other project?
After this record [Take the Neon Lights], I’ve got another record where I worked with a scent artist, someone who creates smells. I wrote music with smells. I’m interested in the idea of the ability to sense music not just with our ears but also with our bodies. The new record is done – it’s with Jason Moran (piano), Stomu Takeishi (bass) and Kelly Wollesen (drums). It’s a great band and it was a wacko project! The other part of it is that, as musicians, we’re trying to figure out how to survive in a digital age. And one part of this project is that you can’t buy smells on iTunes. I was really trying to think about how could we make the physical manifestation of our music meaningful. If the record comes with stickers that you have to smell, then it adds another sort of level to the listening experience. It will probably come out next year and we’ll see how it goes.

by Filipe Freitas

December 27, 2018

Review 2018

Hello all involved in FONT Music 2018 — musicians, listeners, partners, collaborators, supporters.

THANK YOU!

In my opinion it was our best one yet. All the events were solidly attended. With TILT Brass we finally achieved a concert of ‘contemporary brass music’ with an enthusiastic and engaged audience and ensemble! Oh, and the music was astounding! Thanks, Chris McIntyre.

Our shows at Dizzy’s ClubThrees Brewing and The Jazz Gallery were equally wonderful, with new groups formed and new music presented. Linda Briceño, Rachel Therrien, Michael Rodriguez, Giveton Gelin, David Adewumi, Davy Lazar, Adam O’Farrill, Ingrid Jensen, Jesse Neuman, Nadje Noordhuis, Riley Mulherkar, Jaimie Branch, and John Blevins were among trumpeters who brought great new music to our events.

We commissioned a suite of new music from esteemed colleague Jermey Pelt.

We awarded legendary Tom Harrell with our adulation, and he was interviewed from the stage by Mr. Pelt!

We celebrated Laurie Frink, teacher, mentor and friend to so many of us.

FONT JR, a program for trumpeters 12 to 21, had its inaugural run, under the tutelage of Mr. Michael Rodriguez.

And we continued the mission that began at the bar of Tonic, where Roy Campbell, Jr. and I conspired all those years ago. To spread the diversity of people playing the instrument, to engage in new ways the idea of what trumpet music is and can be, to honor great pioneers of the instrument in our community.

All I can say further is, BRING ON 2019!

Thank you all for being with us and I look forward to working on a new festival with all of you in the new year.

Warmly.
Dave Douglas

December 17, 2018

FONTWest San Diego, January 2019

San Diego
January 20-27, 2019

FONT co-director Stephanie Richards became a faculty member of the University of California San Diego Department of Music in 2017. She and Dan Atkinson, a Grammy-nominated jazz producer and artistic director for UC San Diego Urban, have put together the first-ever West Coast edition of FONT, FONT West, for one week in January 2019. The festival involves the collaboration of leading San Diego arts organizations including the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, Digital Gym Cinema, UC San Diego Department of Music, Panama 66, The Loft, Fresh Sound, San Diego Symphony, Quartyard, and UC San Diego Urban.

Full program available here: fontmusic.org/fontwest

May 4, 2018

FONT Jr 2018

The Festival of New Trumpet Music is announcing FONT Jr 2018: A Modern Jazz Trumpet Workshop & Concert with Michael Rodriguez on Sunday, September 9th. This event is hosted by New York University Steinhardt Jazz Studies and The New School, and it is FREE to participating students.

Please go to www.fontmusic.org/jr for further information. Your assistance in sharing this opportunity with interested students is greatly appreciated.

Brochure
Download PDF

Facebook Event
www.facebook.com/events/1022908717871089

May 1, 2018

David Sanford’s Seven Kings

David Sanford’s Seven Kings, a multi-movement work for brass quintet and trumpet soloist inspired by the complex interplay in King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, was commissioned by the Festival of New Trumpet Music and Chamber Music America in 2009 and premiered in January 2010 featuring the Meridian Arts Ensemble and Dave Ballou. The current issue of the Chamber Music Magazine features this piece and a part of the score.

Chamber Music Magazine
https://goo.gl/JejW8X (p 72)

Listen to Seven Kings
landlr.com/t/ba127b980cb4

April 6, 2018

Sound Prints – Scandal

Today Greenleaf Music is releasing Scandal, the second recording from Sound Prints, the quintet co-led by the great Joe Lovano and FONT Music’s artistic director Dave Douglas.

The group, which also features pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Linda May Han Oh and veteran drummer Joey Baron, heads off into swinging, heartfelt and sophisticated new territory inspired by visionary Wayne Shorter. Two of Shorter’s pieces receive special treatment.

Read more on greenleafmusic.com

December 19, 2017

Impressions 2017

“For 15 years FONT has been working to create meaningful social and musical experiences for the trumpet community and beyond, and we’ve celebrated ideas that are new, different, in and out, for every step of the way.”
— Stephanie Richards

Each year at FONT Music, we widen our embrace of trumpet artists with emerging voices, pioneering voices, voices that remind us of our histories, and voices that challenge our notion of diversity and ideas of evolution. This year we had a chorus of progressive sound resonating throughout this city and we thank you for joining us for FONT 2017.

Your support of a tax-deductible donation helps sustain this work – presenting and supporting new ways of thinking about music, life and the world in which we live.

Creative evolution fulfills our highest human potential, and every year we shine a spotlight on some the brilliant voices that are evolving the trumpet scene today. Thank you to our partners, volunteers, and to all of you who are supporting our efforts to continue giving a voice to this astonishing music community. We’re glad you’re here.

We look forward to seeing you in 2018!

July 6, 2017

FONT Music opens September 8, 2017

From September 8 through 14, New York’s award winning Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music) returns with Impact: Celebrating 15 Years of Boundary-Breaking Music.

Impact is not only the title of an album by trumpeter Charles Tolliver, who is being honored with the FONT Music Award of Recognition, but it is also a celebration of the new music being created by the strong community of brass players FONT Music has helped build over the last 15 years in New York and beyond.

The Award, to be presented on Sunday, September 10 at The New School, acknowledges Tolliver as a remarkable talent who has gained an outstanding reputation as a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger and educator. The program will include a panel discussion about Musician Self Determination and Creative Empowerment moderated by Dave Douglas. Panelists include Charles Tolliver, Keyon Harrold, and Meghan Stabile.

Other Festival highlights include

  • FONT Music’s return to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center with“The Flow Anthology” curated by Keyon Harrold, and including trumpeters Marquis Hill, and Maurice Brown.
  • The Wing Walker Orchestra featuring Jason Palmer and Jonathan Finlayson, with the Oskar Stenmark Quartet, Danny Gouker’s Signal Problems, and the Allison Phillips Trio.
  • High and Mighty Brass Band and Slavic Soul Party celebrating groove-based brass band music from around the world.
  • A multi-trumpet celebration of FONT Music’s 15th anniversary presented by Dave Douglas.

Since 2003, FONT Music, directed by trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas, has presented exceptional programs of new trumpet music across genres. Along with trumpeter and longtime FONT Music collaborator Stephanie Richards, Douglas and his core team have this year invited trumpeters Keyon Harrold, Richards, and John Blevins to contribute their unique visions to this extraordinary program.

You can access the full press release and other press materials here: fontmusic.org/press

Please contact us at  if you’d like further information. Thanks for your interest.

The FONT Music Team

February 14, 2017

Impressions 2016

Trumpeters Dave Douglas, Stephanie Richards, Marquis Hill, Taylor Ho Bynum, Michael Gurfield, Aaron Shragge and John Blevins all contributed their unique visions to 2016’s forward-looking program in venues across New York City. 

Thanks to all the musicians for their vision, inspiration and dedication! And thanks to all of our supporters and those who recognize the importance of new creative music for the trumpet.

Videos/Editing by Lukas Frei