December 1, 2012

FONT after 10 years

Since its beginning in 2003, FONT has focused on the trumpet player and the realization of his or her creative vision, even when that vision is unconventional, experimental or out of the cultural mainstream. FONT continues to support bold and unique work by emerging and established trumpeters, and after ten years the festival is as vital as it ever was and its best years are yet to come.

Our Achievements

With an all-volunteer board and staff primarily of artists, The Festival of New Trumpet Music has done some amazing things:

  • FONT has produced ten festivals and off-season events including concerts, panel discussions and workshops.
    Overall, FONT has produced over 300 concerts and engaged over 200 artists.
  • FONT’s annual Award of Recognition has honored creative pioneers and revolutionary teachers who have
    made remarkable contributions to the field over their lives, often without receiving any recognition ever before.
  • FONT has commissioned 28 composers to create new work for the trumpet, some of them established masters
    and others that had never received a commission before.

What Makes Us Unique

As a festival focused on an instrument, rather than a genre, FONT has been able to achieve a flexibility and diversity in its programming that is rare in the music world. With an equally strong tradition of great players working in the jazz and classical traditions, the instrument has had a rare history as a major part of music made in concert halls, nightclubs, dancehalls, and in the recording studios of the United States and all over the world. It has been FONT’s goal to celebrate this aspect of the instrument by creating multi-genre programs featuring trumpeters working from the broadest possible spectrum of technical and aesthetic viewpoints.

FONT has also made a real commitment to celebrating not only the instrument, but the player as well. The Festival attempts break down racial and gender barriers in the music world by supporting women and people of color in its concerts and commissions, and to bring together well-known trumpeters in the primes of their careers with emerging artists. Our audience has responded to these efforts, and a community of listeners with similar diversity have shown its support for the festival over its history.

FONT’s Lifetime Achievement Award honors creative pioneers and veterans of the instrument who have made significant contributions to the field. In a world where recognition is rare for most musicians, FONT attempts to seek out some of the most significant trumpeters who have inspired entire generations of players and to give them a platform to continue their creativity through the later stages of their careers. By embracing an entire field of musicians, FONT has helped to nurture what is now an incredibly vibrant trumpet music scene.

Plans for the Future

The 2012 festival delivered on its promise to continue the excellent, genre-breaking programming for which FONT has become known. We opened the 10th Anniversary with Stephanie Richards’ Carousel Music, featuring 12 brass players performing new music by Richards at Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Carousel Music was FONT’s first-ever outdoor, free event in a public space. The festival also included concerts by Dave Douglas, Taylor Ho Bynum, Douglas Detrick, Rob Mazurek, Adam O’Farrill, CJ Camerieri, and more. The fall festival was the centerpiece of FONT’s work in 2012, but efforts are already underway to expand FONT into a bigger and better organization.

FONT is working to expand its organizational resources. Recent new projects include the Villagers and Trumpet concert series, a partnership with the Village Zendo and co-curated by Aaron Shragge and Douglas Detrick. FONT also plans a mentorship program, an expanded offering of collaborative artist services and more vigorous fundraising in order to expand FONT’s capacity to bring more music to audiences in New York and elsewhere.

See you in 2013!

November 10, 2012

Ted Curson

“Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus” is one of the recordings that changed my life. That 1960 album combined the technical virtuosity of bebop, the raw expressiveness of the blues, and the exploratory wonder of the nascent free jazz scene into one potent mix. I was in college when I first heard the record, and was leading a quartet with the same instrumentation (trumpet, alto sax, bass, and drums). It was both slightly devastating and deeply inspiring to realize everything I wanted to accomplish musically at the time had been done to near perfection thirty-five years earlier.

Trumpeter Ted Curson, the last surviving member of that quartet (with Eric Dolphy on reeds and Danny Richmond on drums, alongside the leader’s propulsive bass), passed away November 4th at the age of 77. Most remembrances (this one included) will start with his time with Mingus; too many will end there. Curson sometimes bristled at being identified only with Mingus, it was only one year of a six decade career. At the same time, he was part of one of the music’s classic ensembles, and of that he remained justly proud. (One of jazz’s many ongoing tensions: an improvised music that fetishizes recordings, where the evolution of an artist may be ignored through the celebration of a fixed remnant of his/her past.)

Because it is not just what Mingus brought to Ted Curson, but what Ted Curson brought to Mingus (and all the other music he made). He first emerged during a period where everything was in flux, where the idiomatic boundaries were wholly permeable, and that aesthetic openness fueled his whole life. His playing displayed his Philadelphia roots in hard bop (where he grew up alongside Lee Morgan), while maintaining the flexibility to work with avant-gardists like Cecil Taylor and the New York Contemporary Five (where he and Don Cherry split duties in the trumpet chair). He co-led a criminally neglected small ensemble throughout the sixties with tenor saxophonist Bill Barron; that group combined harmonic sophistication with innovative structures and impassioned playing in a way that rendered irrelevant the binary arguments between form and freedom.

Like many jazz musicians, he found more work abroad and split his time between Europe and New York. He cultivated musical communities in different corners of the globe, from a 40-plus year residency at the annual Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, to an eight-year stint leading a late night jam session at the Blue Note club in New York City, mentoring scores of musicians along the way. (He also cultivated an impressive handlebar moustache in recent years, giving him the look of a mystic wizard.) The only time I saw him live was at one of those Blue Note jam sessions. I was too shy to try and sit in, I just sat in the corner and marveled at the personality of his playing, still fresh and still evolving, four decades after the recording that first etched him in history.

 Taylor Ho Bynum


August 13, 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Park Presents Jazzmobile with Jeremy Pelt


Brooklyn Bridge Park is happy to announce that it will be hosting its 2nd annual Jazzmobile program, featuring one of the great jazz trumpeters on the scene today, Jeremy Pelt. The concert will take place at 7 pm on August 21st at the Harbor View Lawn at Pier 1.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jazzmobile back for its second season at Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “Jazzmobile presents fantastic outdoor summer concerts around the city and we are proud to be hosting acclaimed jazz trumpeter Jeremy Pelt as their offering this year.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park on Facebook

Brooklyn Bridge Park on the web

Jeremy Pelt


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June 2, 2012

New FREE Monthly Series at Sam Ash NYC

Hosted by Matt Lavelle, this new monthly series will present trumpeters from all walks of life. This month, Amir El Saffar will be presenting a clinic on “Trumpet Micro Tones and learning the Maqam”. Amir ElSaffar (born near Chicago, Illinois, United States) is an Iraqi-American trumpeter and vocalist. In addition to being a classical and jazz trumpeter, he is also a skilled interpreter of Iraqi maqam, which he sings and plays on santur. In 2002 he began studying the maqam tradition in Baghdad and London, with Hamid al-Saadi, one of the most renowned maqamsingers in Iraq. He has released a CD of this music and also applied maqam techniques to his trumpet playing. ElSaffan has performed with Cecil Taylor, Simon Shaheen, Randy Brecker, Miya Masaoka, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Samir Chatterjee.


May 9, 2012

Reveille Collective Composition Prize

The Reveille Trumpet Collective has announced their second annual Composition Prize. This year’s Prize is for Trumpet and Percussion

Here’s the basics. More info is available HERE

The Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $1500 (CAD)
  • At least two performances by members of Reveille during the 2012-13 concert season
  • A short video presentation promoting the winning piece
  • A contract with new music publisher qPress

If a Runner-Up is chosen, the composer will receive:

  • $500 (CAD)
  • A contract with new music publisher qPress (At the discretion of the jury, more prizes may be awarded.)

November 7, 2011

Kind Folk

Thanks to everyone who participated and attended the Kenny Wheeler Celebration at Jazz Standard for making it an absolute success! Here are some pictures and writings. We are very grateful to Kenny Wheeler for having flown over and shared his music with us. Join us in September 2012 for the next big three week New Trumpet Music Blow Out!

Best to all.

NY Times Review

Kenny Wheeler takes New York (guest post by Paul Rushka)

Nice short piece by Fred Kaplan on Stereophile’s blog


Photo by Zak Shelby Szyszko



Photo by Geoff Countryman


Photo by Geoff Countryman


October 6, 2011

Celebrate Kenny Wheeler

The 9th annual Festival of New Trumpet Music celebrates Trumpeter/Composer Kenny Wheeler at the Jazz Standard,
October 20 – 23, 2011

THURS, OCT 20: Ingrid Jensen + Brass
featuring Kenny Wheeler

Ingrid Jensen – trumpet, Jonathan Finlayson – trumpet, Tony Kadleck – trumpet, Shelagh Abate – french horn, Elliot Mason – trombone, Jennifer Wharton – tuba, Kevin Hays – piano, Matt Clohesy – bass, Matt Wilson – drums.

$25, 7:30, 9:30 PM

FRI & SAT, OCT 21 + 22: John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble featuring Kenny Wheeler

John Hollenbeck – drums; Shane Endsley, Jon Owens, Tony Kadleck, Nate Wooley – trumpet; Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Mike Christianson, Rob Hudson – trombone; Chris Cheek – tenor saxophone/reeds; Dan Willis – tenor saxophone/winds; Jeremy Viner – alto; Ben Kono – alto saxophone/winds; Bohdan Hilash – baritone saxophone/reeds; Matt Mitchell – piano; Kermit Driscoll – basses; Brad Shepik, guitar; Theo Bleckmann – voice; J.C. Sanford – conductor. Special Featured Guests: Nate Wooley and Shane Endsley, Chris Cheek, Brad Shepik $30, 7:30, 9:30, 11:30 PM

Kenny Wheeler New York Quintet featuring Dave Holland

Kenny Wheeler – trumpet, Jon Irabagon – alto saxophone, Craig Taborn – piano, Dave Holland – bass, Rudy Royston – drums $30, 7:30, 9:30 PM

In addition to the events at the Jazz Standard, on Saturday, October 22, from 3-6 PM, Dave Douglas will lead an informal reading session of Kenny Wheeler’s Music at NYU Steinhardt Jazz Studies, located at 75 3rd Ave., (at East 11th St.). All instrumentalists are welcome, trumpeters encouraged. Sheet music will be provided in concert and Bb keys. A rhythm section will be provided, but rhythm players are also welcome to participate. The session will also be attended by trumpeter Nick Smart, director of the jazz program at the Royal Academy of Music, London, UK. This is a free event, however advance registration is required through the festival’s website:


jazz standard logo

Show Times: 7:30 & 9:30 + 11:30 PM on Fridays & Saturdays.
Jazz Standard is located at 116 East 27th St. (betw Lex and Park) No minimum & student discounts.
For reservations call Jazz Standard @ 212 576 2232, or visit

September 7, 2011

ON THE HORIZON – New Yorker Magazine



Oct. 20-23

The ninth Festival of New Trumpet Music, at the Jazz Standard, pays tribute to Kenny Wheeler. The eighty-one-year-old trumpeter, making a rare New York appearance, will be joined by Ingrid Jensen’s + Brass band and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble and will play with his own quintet. (


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August 24, 2011


FONT logo


 (New York City, NY) – JAZZ STANDARD, one of the nation’s premier jazz clubs, presents the 9th Annual Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) series, “Kenny Wheeler Celebration,” from Thursday, October 20, through Sunday, October 23, 2011. Program schedule and artist bios are outlined below.

The FONT series celebrates Kenny Wheeler, one of the most creative and iconic of progressive trumpeters. Wheeler, a Canadian residing in the UK since 1952, celebrated his 81st birthday this year. He will make a rare New York appearance in this series devoted to his music and vision.

The Festival also presents a cadre of progressive New York trumpeters, among them Ingrid Jensen, Shane Endsley, Nate Wooley, Jonathan Finlayson, Tony Kadleck, and Jon Owens. As part of this celebration, Kenny Wheeler will be featured with Ingrid Jensen + Brass, will play his music alongside John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, and will also convene a New York Quintet, featuring Jon Irabagon, Craig Taborn, Matt Brewer, and Rudy Royston.

Kenny Wheeler commented on being honored by FONT Music and returning to NYC:  I first came to New York in the late 40′s. I was with a big band attached to the American forces and I had joined with the sole purpose of getting to New York. I just wanted to find and maybe talk to Miles. I couldn’t find him but in the process I had a really short (even for me) conversation with Charlie Parker. I was so disappointed I had missed Miles that it wasn’t until hours later I realized I had actually spoken to Bird! By that time though New York had gone from being in my head to being in my blood, heart and soul. It’s where most of the Jazz I listened to before and after that trip was born.

Although I have played in New York a few times over the years every time I come back I still feel the same excitement I felt that first time I visited all those years ago. For me New York is the place to play. The fact that I am being honored with a New York week and that so many fantastic trumpet players are involved is overwhelming. I am so proud and, before my nerves get the better of me, I would just like to say thank you to all of the people who have put this event together and thank you to New York for giving me the opportunity to come back and play here again.

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