March 3, 2014

FONT Canada preview: Brad Turner

Saturday, March 15 “Directions in Jazz Trumpet”
Doors open at 830, 
Music starts at 9pm
185 avenue Van Horne (for venue info contact )

Brad Turner Quartet (Vancouver-Montreal): Brad Turner trumpet, Fraser
Hollins bass, Dave Laing drums, piano – David Ryshpan.

Brad Turner‘s phenomenal talents as a trumpeter, pianist, drummer and composer make him one of Canada’s most in-demand and highly esteemed musicians. Brad has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Joe Lovano, Kenny Wheeler, John Scofield, Michael Moore, Reneé Rosnes, Jimmy Greene, Ingrid Jensen, Dylan van der Schyff, Mike Murley, Seamus Blake, Kenny Werner and Ernie Watts. Brad’s groups have opened for McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter, Clark Terry, Diana Krall, Ahmad Jamal and Tony Bennett.

As a leader, Brad has released seven albums, six as a trumpeter with his quartet, and one as a pianist with his trio. Three of those releases have been nominated for Juno awards.

What Is, released in 2005, won Best Jazz Album, at the 2006 Western Canadian Music Awards. As a pianist with his trio, the 2004 release, Question the Answer was nominated for a 2005 Canadian Urban Music Award, and a 2006 Canadian Indie Music Award.

In 1997 and 1998 Brad won Juno Awards for Best Contemporary Jazz Album recognizing his work in the internationally acclaimed electric jazz group Metalwood.

Winner of National Jazz Awards for Jazz Composer of the Year (2000 and 2002), Brad was awarded Musician of the Year for 2005, and was a recipient of 2006 Victor Lynch-Staunton Prize for excellence in musical achievement.

In 2008 and again in 2009, Brad took home National Jazz Awards for Trumpeter of the Year and Producer of the year.

Brad is a member of the jazz studies faculty at Capilano University, in North Vancouver, B.C., and plays Cannonball trumpets.


Ray Kirkham (VSO)
Dr. Wayne Gorder (Western Washington U – he moved to Kent State and
has since retired)
Thomas Parriott (VSO – passed away unfortunately)
Leonard Candelaria (UNT)
Henry Christian (Vancouver)


Freddie Hubbard
Clifford Brown
Woody Shaw
Clark Terry
Kenny Wheeler

Current Projects: On going work on composing for Vancouver based projects, running my studio, practicing the exact same stuff I always have (!)

On the Side: Cars… my ’65 Mustang

I knew I wanted to be play trumpet when: I saw my Grandpa play – he gave me my 1st horn – a Boosey cornet

A Performance Highlight: Playing with Joe Loving

Dream Band: Too tough to answer!!

Did you know? My twin boys were in a movie with Kristen Stewart called ‘The Messengers’

September 15, 2013

Douglass St. preview: The Westerlies


Monday, September 16th
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

The Westerlies: Riley Mulherkar – trumpet, Zubin Hensler – trumpet, Andy Clausen – trombone, Willem de Koch – trombone

The Westerlies are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four friends from Seattle, Washington. Avid explorers of cross-genre territory, the Westerlies are a collectively run ensemble dedicated to the cultivation of a new brass quartet repertoire that exists in the ever-narrowing gap between American folk music, jazz, classical, and indie rock. The Westerlies have premiered over 30 original works for brass quartet since their inception in 2012. As a horn section the Westerlies have worked with new music mavericks Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz, Relatives, Juilliard Dance, and Mason Jar Music. Members of the Westerlies currently study at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.

You’re all from Seattle, correct?  But how did you all meet and how did this project come together?

We all grew up in Seattle and went through the great jazz education programs in the public schools there, but we didn’t start playing in this configuration until we had all relocated to New York. In late 2011 we got together to try playing as a brass quartet, starting with more standard brass repertoire, Bach chorales, and free improvisations. It was really magical, so we started composing our own music and over the last two years gradually expanded our repertoire to include music from each of us as well as some of our favorite composers. The best thing about this band is that the four of us would be making music together no matter what instruments we played, as we were already friends and just love each other’s musical sensibilities.

Some of your tunes tend to flow beautifully from this somber and traditionalist brass carol into free improvisation, and then the next song will be a mid-century jazz piece or like some sort of angry Duke Ellington.  What music, besides what could seem obvious, inspired the direction of your repertoire?

As a group we think of our music as existing at the intersection of Classical, Jazz, and American Folk traditions, but individually we have extremely varied tastes. We definitely draw a lot of influence from the great composers who combined folk traditions with art music, like Charles Ives, Bela Bartok, and Stravinsky, as well as our favorite jazz composers, like Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, and George Russell. We’re also constantly inspired by the contemporary composers and musicians we get to hear in Seattle and New York, people like Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Relatives, etc..

You’ve been known to do some collaborations with vocalists, electronic musicians, etc…. What is your process for finding these collaborations and how do you fit them within the framework of what you’re trying to accomplish as a band?

We love collaboration, it’s been an essential part of this project since almost the beginning. We’ve tried to establish our core identity as an original music brass quartet, but the great thing about our instrumentation is that we can adapt to all sorts of situations. We really enjoy playing as a horn section for indie bands, like our friends The Relatives, but also have played our own music joined by piano and drums (Sam Yulsman and Jason Burger), and recently completed an original collaboration with Juilliard dance choreographer Garth Johnson. We’re very lucky that many of our closest friends are our favorite musicians!

Have there been any collaborations that have really changed your concept?  Like, “maybe we should start working more in this direction…”?

Over the last few months we’ve been working with Composer/Pianist Wayne Horvitz on a new project that features our arrangements of his music from the last thirty years. We premiered the arrangements in two shows at The Stone last May, then spent a week recording with Wayne out in the San Juan Islands of Washington state. Working with Wayne, both in his composer and producer roles, was an incredible learning experience for us, as he has so much experience putting together (and finishing) projects. I think the most significant part of it so far was learning to create a balanced set of music that stands on it’s own; up to this point we’ve steadily composed new pieces but have not had to organize them in to one ‘project’.

On collaborations, what would be your dream match-up?

We had an amazing time last spring collaborating with Juilliard dance choreographer Garth Johnson; the whole experience really opened our eyes to the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration. So we’d love to experiment with more modern dance match-ups, a distant dream would be to work with William Forsythe. But we’re also really interested in working with artists in other disciplines, like film, theater, or visual art. Other dream collaborations – Bill Frisell, Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, Radiohead. Fleet Foxes, Sam Amidon.

Any big plans for the rest of the year or 2014?

The album of Wayne Horvitz’s music we just recorded will be released by Songlines around March of 2014, so that project will be our main focus for the next year. After that we plan to do an album of our own music. We’re super excited to play at FONT on September 16th, then head to Seattle for two shows at the Earshot Jazz Festival on October 11th and 12th (opening for Dave Douglas on the 12th!).

Favorite city you have performed that is not NYC or Seattle and why?

We’ve been lucky to play in the beautiful and supportive Portland, Oregon. Double billed with awesome bands, played for open-minded audiences, ate bacon ice cream, what’s not to love?

What was the best audience member comment to you after a show?

We once got some hate-mail from the upstairs neighbor of an apartment we played a show was definitely the most entertaining if not the most supportive! We take kindly to tough love.

September 14, 2013

Douglass St. preview: Lina Allemano


Monday, September 16th
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

LINA ALLEMANO FOUR: Lina Allemano – trumpet, Brodie West – alto saxophone, Andrew Downing – double bass, Nick Fraser – drums.

Lina Allemano is a Toronto based trumpeter, improviser and composer. Her artistic vision has gained her international recognition as being adventurous, expressive, compelling, forward thinking, inventive, and sophisticated. She appears on over 30 recordings including five of her own critically acclaimed CDs with her band Lina Allemano Four, with whom she has been touring extensively for the past 8 years across Europe, USA, and Canada. Hailed as one of Canada’s leading avant-garde/free-jazz bands, LINA ALLEMANO FOUR is known internationally for their inventiveness and synergy as they deftly blur the line between composition and improvisation. Their newest album, Live at the Tranzac, has been receiving much favorable attention from reviewers internationally. “There’s no mistaking that Allemano is an important new talent…” (Point of Departure, June 2013). Lina Allemano was named one of DownBeat Magazine’s top innovative trumpeters for the future in 2007.

Teachers:  Axel Dörner (Berlin), Laurie Frink (New York City), Kevin Turcotte (Toronto), Bill Dimmer (Edmonton)

Current Projects:  As a leader, I have two active groups, Lina Allemano Four (my acoustic group) and Titanium Riot (my electric group).  I’ve just been writing new music for Lina Allemano Four that we’ll be playing during our US tour and FONT gig.  I also play in various other creative projects as a side person as well as play a lot of improvised music.  Trumpet-wise, I’m currently honing my circular breathing, which is a new thing for me, as well as other extended techniques that I’ve been checking out while studying with Axel Dörner in Berlin this summer.  I’ve also been making my own mutes to produce various sounds that I use in Titanium Riot (which has analog synth and electric bass) – it’s my way of using “effects” that sound kind of electric-ish, but are actually totally acoustic.

I knew I wanted to be play trumpet when… I noticed it only had 3 buttons.  How hard could it be?

Dream Band:  My long-time project, Lina Allemano Four.  8 years going and still full of surprises!

September 14, 2013

Douglass St. preview: Matt Holman


Monday, September 16th at 8pm
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

Matt Holman

Matt’s new project, “The Tenth Muse”, will feature: Matt Holman – trumpet & flugelhorn, Sam Sadigursky – woodwinds, Andy Milne – piano, Chris Dingman – vibraphone

New York based trumpeter/composer/educator Matt Holman has performed and/or recorded with such diverse jazz and creative artists as Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, Darcy James Argue, Jon Gordon, Kate McGarry, Kurt Elling, Matt Ulery, Bob Newhart, Andrew Rathbun, Los Amigos Invisibles, and The Gregory Brothers in countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and Australia.  He has earned national and international performance awards including the International Trumpet Guild’s Jazz Improvisation Competition, the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, the National Trumpet Competition, and Down Beat.

 Taking inspiration from such diverse influences as Wayne Shorter, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Sigur Ros, Holman has composed works for Marvin Stamm, Ed Soph, David Baker, Marie Speziale, and The National Conservatory of Costa Rica and was a 2009 ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Competition winner.  A current member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, Holman was the winner of the 13th annual BMI Foundation’s Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize and will compose a new work for the Manny Albam Commission in June 2013.

Trumpeter and composer Matt Holman has performed with such creative artists as Fred Hersch, John Hollenbeck, and Darcy James Argue. He has earned national and international performance awards including the International Trumpet Guild’s Jazz Improvisation Competition, the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, the National Trumpet Competition, Downbeat, and ASCAP. His 5-piece chamber jazz group, Matt Holman’s Diversion Ensemble, released their debut recording “When Flooded” in March 2013 on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records. As a composer Holman has been commissioned to write works for Marvin Stamm, Ed Soph, David Baker, and the National Conservatory of Costa Rica. A former member of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop, he was the winner of the 13th annual BMI Foundation’s Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize/Manny Albam Commission. He is the current Artistic Director of the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Program.  

Teachers: Laurie Frink, Dominic Spera, Pat Harbison, Bill Adam

Current Projects: The band I’m presenting as part of FONT is for a new group, The Tenth Muse, which features my compositions based on the ancient fragmented poems of Sappho. In addition, I’m working on (err…should be working on?) several Big Band charts and arrangements for performances throughout the next year.

I am also part of a collective quintet called Sketches, and we are releasing our debut recording “Volume 1” in November. The premise of the band is pretty cool: each band member composes a work based on the sketch or other incomplete work of another member and then we put it together in rehearsal which makes it a collaborative process throughout.

I knew I wanted to play trumpet when… I grew up in Arizona and my mother is a Spanish teacher. She is passionate about Mexican culture so every year we’d attend the International Mariachi Conference, which is a pretty huge event. While I sound nothing like a Mariachi trumpet player, as a kid I found the sound of the trumpet powerful and vibrant and wanted to play it like the mariachis. (That, and I sucked at saxophone after 2 months of trying).

A Performance Highlight: It’s hard to narrow down just one, but I have to say that a performance I had today, on Rosh Hashanah, was pretty cool.  I played the shofar for the first time down at a congregation in Miami. Playing a Yemenite Shofar (essentially a ram’s horn) in front of a thousand people is a pretty weird thing but to be part of such an ancient and important “wake up” call for the Jewish New Year is a real honor.

Did you know? I’m known as a “beverage whore” to some. I love making and ingesting interesting drinks of all kinds. I’m totally impressed by new ways of brewing coffee, tea, booze, etc. So bring me something!

September 14, 2013

Douglass St. preview: David Smith


Sunday, September 15th
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

David Smith

David Smith is a Canadian-born trumpeter currently residing in New York City.  He studied and began his professional career in Toronto, and in 2000 he relocated to New York with a study grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.  Before long he was much in demand on the New York City jazz scene.

His debut album as a leader, “Circumstance”, was released in October of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label (FSNT 267), and features his original compositions and an outstanding quintet featuring Seamus Blake on tenor, Nate Radley on guitar, David Ephross on bass and the ubiquitous Mark Ferber on drums.  In 2010 he followed that up with “Anticipation” on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records label (BJUR 015), featuring Kenji Omae on tenor, Nate Radley on guitar, Gary Wang on bass and Greg Ritchie on drums. While the roots of his music are in classic jazz, he combines elements of classical harmony and counterpoint resulting in a very original compositional style. His approach to the trumpet is also unique, intervallic and harmonically sophisticated yet lyrical and emotional.

Teachers: Don Johnson, Kevin Turcotte, Charles Tolliver, Laurie Frink

Influences:  Booker Little, Miles Davis, Charlie Shavers, Tom Harrell, Woody Shaw, Ingrid Jensen, Scott Wendtholt, Philip Dizack, too many others to mention all

Current Projects: I have a couple of compositional “tools” that I’ve been investigating for a few years, trying to explore different ways that they are useful without winding up with the same song every time.  I’m trying to write tunes that balance compositional structure with freedom to go places, always a challenge to strike it right IMO.  Practicing a lot of bebop tunes in twelve keys, and the constant struggle to find the balance between developing as a jazz artist and developing as a working trumpet player to continue to pay for my jazz habit.

On the Side: tube audio, photography

I knew I wanted to play trumpet when… a teacher mentioned that it was possible to make a living doing it.

A Performance Highlight:  Making my last record with my very close friend Kenji Omae.

Did you know… I started playing trumpet in school in Saudi Arabia.  My family lived there for a number of years because of my Dad’s work and it was at an American school there where I began playing and had my first lessons.

September 14, 2013

Douglass St. preview: Laura Kahle


Sunday, September 15th
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

Laura Kahle trio with : LK – pocket trumpet, Orlando le Fleming – double bass, Jeff “Tain” Watts – drums

 Trumpeter and composer Laura Kahle released her debut album “Circular” in 2011, featuring Yosvany Terry, JD Allen, Jeff “Tain” Watts and Orlando le Fleming. A participant in the 2012 Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at UCLA, Laura is the arranger for the Watts Family Reunion Band, a 16 piece jazz orchestra lead by Jeff “Tain” Watts and featuring a stellar band including Don Byron, Lew Soloff, Yosvany Terry, Frank Lacy, Robin Eubanks, Ravi Coltrane and Alex Sipiagin. Laura’s arrangements have also been performed by The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Danish Radio Big Band, The Norrbotten Big Band and the Branford Marsalis Septet. Currently performing on the pocket trumpet, Laura’s style is melodic, adventurous and imaginative.

John Hoffman

Influences: Duke, Mingus, Miles, Monk, Don Cherry, Gil Evans, Johnny Carisi, Eric Satie.

Current Projects: I’m the arranger for the Watts Family Reunion Band (17pce). Currently I’m finishing up a symphonic work to feature soprano saxophone.

On the Side: I have two year old twin girls, they keep me busy.

I knew I wanted to be play trumpet when… playing trumpet just happened, I didn’t choose it and I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

A Performance Highlight: Performing with Bill Lee and the Natural Spiritual Orchestra.

Dream Band: Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Yusef Lateef, Juni Booth and Jeff Tain Watts.

September 14, 2013

Douglass St. preview: Chad McCullough


Sunday, September 15th at 8pm
Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
10$ suggested donation

Chad McCullough Quartet with Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – tenor sax, Or Bareket – bass, Kenneth Salters – drums

 Chicago-based Trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough… called “a thoughtful improvisor with technique to spare” by, Chad’s various albums have received wide critical-acclaim. His stable of collaborators is a diverse collection of unique musicians and speaks to the depth of his palette. Dan McClenaghan writes, “He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach is one that is measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere that the best recordings have.”

He is a member of the West African-inspired group The Kora Band, a group who’s latest record ‘Cascades’ has garnered national attention, peaking at #12 on the World Music Charts, and won NW Recording of the Year in Earshot Magazine. They were recently awarded a CMA New Jazz Works grant for their upcoming record. He also tours with Tunnel Six, an international group that has been awarded 4 Canada Council of the Arts grants. Their debut record made the top ’100 albums of 2011′ on eMusic, and a new ‘live’ record was just released this year. His new group The Spin Quartet will record this summer as well.

Bob McCurdy, Allen Vizzutti, Laurie Frink, Thomas Marriott

I really like just about everyone who plays the trumpet.

Current Projects: What are you working on? Arrangements, techniques you’re practicing, other projects
Currently I’m finishing up a quartet record with my band, The Spin Quartet, and a quartet of Belgian musicians. I’m also working on a project of the music of Charles Tolliver, and just trying to keep up with everyone. 

On the Side: any other hobbies, other interests…
Coffee, photography, and graphic design.

I knew I wanted to play trumpet when…
I found out about all of the money, and women that came along with it. Also, when I discovered that you could buy lots of mouthpieces.

Dream Band:
I had a dream that I played a concert with Freddie Hubbard, but my horn fell apart… luckily I just ended up playing the valve section and sounded great.

September 8, 2013

Q&A with Stephanie Richards Vice-President of FONT 2013


Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) Preview Week

Q&A with Stephanie Richards
Vice-President of FONT 2013 

Click here for the full 2013 FONT  Program

How 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?

Choosing the trumpet seems quite happenstance when I think how it ended up influencing my life so massively.  I remember liking many different styles of music, and trumpet seemed the most flexible instrument musically and stylistically.  My band instructor, however,  assigned me to play french horn (then later allowed me to switch to trumpet) but I like to imagine how different my life would have been!  FONF (Festival of New French Horn) just doesn’t have the same ring to it….

Before picking up the trumpet in jr. high, I grew up playing piano as well as tenor drum in a Scottish pipe & drum band.   There is likely some sort of correlation between the theatrics and choreography involved with playing the tenor drum (where drumming involves fancily choreographed stick swings and flourishes) and my present interest in theatrics and movement with trumpet playing somewhere in there.  The trumpet has such flexibility of movement and sound, and I believe there is much yet to discover.

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

Influential recordings also seem quite haphazard as my first recordings were things I seemed to stumble upon.  The earliest (no pun intended) influential trumpet recordings I experienced were of  Maurice Andre’s baroque piccolo recordings.  I remember grooving so hard them!  He had such a gorgeous tone, intensity of musicality and he really could swing.  That was my first experience recognizing a difference in players’ sense of time and “pocket” — Maurice had a good pocket, not matter that he was playing classical music.

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?

The trumpet demands a unique maintenance of it’s player, but for me, that habit a labor of love.  Is it the hardest instrument to play?  I don’t think so.  I do think that for anybody, any instrument, any musician, it’s playing something new–making new music, that is hard to do. That is why we need to stick together and support each other.  I appreciate FONT for that reason; bringing everyone together in support of music that is new, vulnerable, unheard or unknown.  It meant the world to me when I moved to town years ago and FONT asked me to play a show.  I want to pass that confidence and opportunity on to other players doing new things in the city.

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?

Of the many incredible musicians I’ve known so far, Butch Morris was a mentor I’ll always be grateful to have known. Moving to the city, Butch liberated me as a musician.  He opened up an intent, an intensity of sound, of improvisation and a way to communicate that was new and relevant.  This year at Roulette, we’re presenting a special performance in tribute to Butch and his language of Conduction.  The band will consist of some of the many musicians that were close to Butch, his language, and who believed in what he was trying to move forward.  The goal isn’t to “recreate” anything that Butch was already doing, but to keep speaking the innovative language of Conduction and moving it forward, letting it evolve as languages do.  As the guitarist Brandon Ross, who played with Butch in Conduction no. 1, mentioned to me, “…the search didn’t END with Butch, I believe he’d want it to grow – beyond him.  If we use it, it will.” His presence is missed by the many incredible musicians that he touched throughout all of the world and I’m thankful that FONT is presenting this very special performance.

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

Highlights of the festival for me will be the FONT run at Roulette (both evenings will be incredible!), and hearing Marcus Belgrave perform-his joyfulness of spirit sings through the horn every time he plays!


September 8, 2013

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

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!

September 8, 2013

FONT PREVIEW WEEK: Q&A with FONT Co-Founder, Director and Co-Curator Dave Douglas

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Dave Douglas

Q&A with Dave Douglas,
Co-Founder & Director of FONT 2013;
Curator of St. Peter’s Church Programming

Denver-Based Trumpeter Hugh Ragin Makes Rare NYC Appearance
Sept. 22 Leading Jazz Vespers at St. Peter’s Church
Featuring Trumpeters Lew Soloff, James Zollar, Nate Wooley

Douglas’ Own Sextet Sept. 23, Featuring Jon Irabagon, Josh Roseman,
Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston & Special Guest Vocalist Heather Masse,
Celebrating Release of New Sextet CD, Pathways, Part of DD|50 Box

Check Out Exclusive FONT Interview with 2013 FONT Honoree 
Marcus Belgrave, Conducted by Trumpeter Greg Glassman

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

DD: 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.

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

DD: 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?

Q: 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?

DD: 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.

Q: 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?

DD: 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.

Q: How did you select the people you wanted to showcase in your particular curation? Were these people you felt were deserving of wider recognition? Were they people you felt shared a similar working aesthetic as you or came from someplace completely different?

DD: 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.

Q: 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?

DD: 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.

Q: 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?

DD: 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.

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

DD: 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.

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

DD: 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.

Q: Any other thoughts about this year’s festival?

DD: 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.

April 18, 2013

Kenny Wheeler: Master of Melancholy Chaos

“Everything I do has a touch of melancholy and a touch of chaos to it. I write sad songs and then I get the musicians destroy them” – Kenny Wheeler, interviewed on BBC Radio 4, 2010

Kenny Wheeler: Master of Melancholy Chaos
16th April 2013 to 5th April 2014 

A new exhibition at the Royal Academy of Music, London turns the spotlight on the quiet genius of a much-loved jazz trumpeter and composer, Kenny Wheeler.

Now 83 years old, Wheeler remains one of the most enigmatic and original jazz voices in the world. His career spans an extraordinary breadth of styles and historical events – a titan of the European Free Jazz movement, a long-standing member of John Dankworth’s Big Band and the composer of some of the most hauntingly beautiful compositions in the genre.

Tracing Wheeler’s varied career via seven milestone albums, the exhibition draws on many previously unseen items from his musical archive acquired by the Academy in 2012. Handwritten sketches and scores illuminate his creative process, from his very early arrangement of the jazz standard ‘Stella by Starlight’ to manuscripts from his latest big band offering ‘The Long Waiting’, among many other unique exhibits.

The displays are also enriched by unprecedented access to Wheeler’s personal memorabilia and recordings of recent interviews with him. Together these give glimpses of his famously self-deprecating personality, his wry and quick wit, and his quietly determined musical ambitions. Visitors to the exhibition will have a unique opportunity to see a letter from a nineteen-year-old Wheeler seeking work experience, hear about the children’s television programme that inspired his first album, and see one of the few remaining flugelhorns that Wheeler has not damaged or given away!

Wheeler enjoys huge and heartfelt acclaim from his many friends and collaborators in the jazz world. This exhibition is complemented by an exclusive video featuring behind the scenes footage of his latest Big Band recording session, and new interviews with singer Norma Winstone, saxophonist Evan Parker and trumpeter Dave Douglas recounting their musical memories both old and new.

Follow this link for a selection of images from the exhibition.

A lively events programme of performances, talks and family events accompanies the exhibition:

Family Play Day: Gnu Jazz!
Saturday 25th May, 11.00am–12.30pm
Museum Piano Gallery

Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and London Vocal Project: ‘Mirrors’ album launch 
Pre-Concert talk by Pete Churchill, Academy professor of Jazz Composition
Saturday 25th May, 7.00pm and 8.0pm
Kings Place

Friends of Kenny Wheeler in conversation with Alyn Shipton 
Thursday 13th June, 6.00pm
Concert Room