FONT ’15 Preview – Sept. 26, 2015 “Signatures in Brass” @ The Jazz Gallery
Saturday, September 26, 2015
“Signatures in Brass”
Jazz Gallery (1160 Broadway, New York, NY)
7:30 & 9:30 PM – $22
Music performed by:
Piano: Theo Hill
Bass: Eric Wheeler
Drums: Obed Calvaire
World Premiere by: FONT Music Roy Campbell Jr. Commissioning Grant recipient, Kendall Moore: Signature in Brass
From the Curator:
“This music presents the wide variety of sounds and styles that uniquely constitute contemporary jazz trumpet music. In earlier times, jazz was more easily associated with a singular specific sound. Today, we feel there is an immense increase in the stylistic breadth of jazz. Our goal is to demonstrate how diverse musical voices now authentically fall under the jazz umbrella. This program showcases these voices and personalities through a very special night of original compositions, both orchestrated and spontaneous. I’m happy to be working with the range of trumpeters and their musical visions in this collaborative effort.
Buy Tickets to “Signatures in Brass”:
Full Festival Pass ($100 all ticketed events & VIP Reception): http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2125774
Marquis Hills’ Website:
FONT Music Blog Feature on Marquis Hill:
Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist & Curator: C.J. Camerieri
C.J. Camerieri has been a staple in the FONT Music cast of characters (er… trumpeters) since its inception. Over the past decade, C.J. has been developing a career that defies stylistic definition – we love these kind of musicians here at FONT Music. Graduating Juilliard, playing with Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, forming a contemporary classical (you can’t really call it that) group yMusic and recently recording with Ben Folds. What’s next?!
We’re very lucky to have him this year curating and performing at our Opening Concert at Rockwood Music Hall on September 24th on a program we have titled “Without A Frame” (Buy tickets here). We hope you can join us for that, but check out what C.J. has to say today as we sit down with him for a few questions.
C.J. thanks for chatting with us today. You’ve been a foundational member of FONT Music over the years, right?
I’ve been lucky enough over the years to play with FONT Music since (maybe) the very beginning. The first time I played on a FONT Music concert was at Tonic which has sadly been closed since 2007. Since then I’ve played with a variety of groups including Butch Morris, the New York Trumpet Ensemble, and with my group yMusic. A few years ago FONT Music commissioned the great composer Andrew Norman to write a piece for yMusic and it was a huge success. The piece was the featured single off of our last record “Balance Problems” and has been met with much critical acclaim. This year FONT Music has commissioned Mick Rossi to write a piece for us and I’m excited to start learning that new work in the coming weeks. I am very grateful for FONT Music and feel lucky to be a part of this community.
I think the luck is ours, or at least mutual! Thanks for all you’ve done over the years. You’re a pretty unique player and all over the map stylistically (I mean this in a great way!). How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Juilliard in 2004 and was trying to do a little bit of everything. I played with orchestras, broadway shows, jazz, free jazz, studying harmony/arranging and was really happy but a bit musically unfulfilled. I found myself searching for a musical scene that would allow me to play a variety of styles, to improvise but also play technically challenging material, to play other instruments (I also play the French Horn and piano) and get a chance to shape the music through arrangements and my own creative ideas. I also wanted to be on bigger stages playing for more people! I was lucky enough to find that scene in alternative music. I started playing in 2006 with Sufjan Stevens and immediately joined his band as a featured soloist. I then began touring with bands such as The National, Rufus Wainwright, The Plastic Ono Band, Angus and Julia Stone, Martha Wainwright, My Brightest Diamond, Gabriel Kahane, and many other artists. I joined Bon Iver in 2011 and won two grammy’s for the band’s sophomore record in the same year that my group yMusic released it’s debut record which was named Time Out New York’s Number 1 classical record. Since then I have become a member of Paul Simon’s band, toured and played with Sting, and played on over 200 recordings total in the last ten years.
Dang! You’re a busy guy and playing with some the best musicians from so many different styles – that’s what we’re all about here at FONT Music, as you know. So yMusic will be playing at Rockwood for our opening night – what is up with yMusic these days?
yMusic is a lot of my musical focus these days. We are releasing a record this fall with Ben Fold’s that I co-produced/arranged called “So There” and will tour that a bit. yMusic is in residency at New York Live Arts and we have a number of exciting commissions we’ll be premiering there including a performance with Bill T. Jones.
That all sounds awesome! What else can we expect to see you doing coming up?
I’ve been recording a bunch with Paul Simon, Jose Gonzalez, The Tallest Man on Earth, and many other exciting artists and hope to get back into the studio with yMusic in early 2017 to get started on our 3rd record.
So you’re curating our opening night at Rockwood Music Hall with Stephanie Richards called “Without A Frame”. We recently chatted with Brandon Ridenour (see article here) who will be playing at that concert with his group FOUNDERS. yMusic will be playing and so will Asphalt Orchestra. It looks to be an amazing evening! Give us some insight into how you got to curating this evening.
When I was asked to curate an “indie classical” concert at FONT Music this year my initial reaction was to not do it! I think that the classical trumpet repertoire is in my opinion probably one of the worst collections of pieces in existence and I just don’t know why! So many other instruments have so many great pieces but I’ve always found our repertoire extremely lacking. I don’t want to go to a concert and hear the Hadyn Trumpet Concerto or the Arutunian ever again (isn’t that what college is for)? That’s just my opinion. I started to look around though and there is so much interesting music happening in the trumpet world right now that has a strong classical backbone yet is hard to put a label on. I wanted to put together a night that featured these kinds of classical trumpet centered ensembles/performers that are really pushing the boundaries of what we call classical music. I think it should be a fun night.
Totally agree – we can’t wait to check out this amazing night of music. Thanks again C.J., we’ll see you next week!
Buy your ticket to our FONT Music 2015 Opening Concert “WITHOUT A FRAME” on Sept 24th (8:30pm) @ Rockwood Music Hall here!!
More info on C.J.: As a trumpet player, french hornist, arranger, and keyboard player, C.J. Camerieri has enjoyed an active, diverse, and exciting career since completing his classical trumpet training at Juilliard in 2004. He has become an indispensable collaborator for numerous indie rock groups as a performer, arranger, improviser, and soloist and is a co-founder of the contemporary classical ensemble yMusic. yMusic’s debut record was named Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of 2011, the same year that Camerieri won two Grammys as a member of Bon Iver for the band’s sophomore record, which later reached gold status. He is currently the newest member of Paul Simon’s band, joining for 2014’s “Paul Simon and Sting: On Stage Together” tour.
CJ began working in alternative music as the trumpet player and keyboard player for Sufjan Stevens in January of 2006. He then went on to tour the world as a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band in 2007-2008 before starting yMusic with Rob Moose in the spring of 2008 and later joining Bon Iver in 2011 while also touring with the Plastic Ono Band and The National. In 2014 CJ became the newest member of Paul Simon’s touring band.
As an arranger, trumpet player, french horn player, and keyboardist C.J.’s discography includes well over 200 recordings including current and forthcoming releases by Paul Simon, Bon Iver, yMusic, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, The Tallest Man on Earth, David Byrne, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, Aero Flynn, Gabriel Kahane, The National, Angus and Julia Stone, Ingrid Michaelson, The Staves, My Brightest Diamond, Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, GOASTT, Jesse Harris, She and Him, Harper Simon, Chris Garneau, Clare and the Reasons, Welcome Wagon, Anthony Coleman, ACME, The New York Trumpet Ensemble, Argento New Music Ensemble and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.
Check out this great video interview with C.J.:
Here’s ymusic’s website: http://ymusicensemble.com
Here’s C.J.’s website: http://www.cjtrumpet.com
Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Thomas Bergeron
Thomas Bergeron is one of those trumpeters who does it all – and really well! As comfortable in the jazz world as he is in the classical world and in the creative contemporary music world, he continues to blur the line of what these genres might even mean to someone. This is why we are big fans of him here at FONT Music.
He will be presenting music from his latest project “Sacred Feast” at The Dimenna Center (Benzaquen Hall) on Sept 25th for FONT Music 2015. We are seeing this as a DO NOT MISS performance (buy your ticket here). Not only is he a great artist, trumpeter and composer – he’s also a great guy and we had a blast chatting with him today. Here’s what he had to say…
Hey Thomas, thanks for chatting with us a bit today, we’re really excited to experience your show in couple weeks at The Dimenna Center – we’re so glad to have you on the program this year. I was surprised to hear this is your first time presenting with us. You are a great example of a “Crossing Genre Artist” we like here at FONT Music. We’ve found that FONT Music means different things to different people and artists, what does it mean to you?
I’ve been an admirer of FONT Music for years, and has become an important and influential force in the creative trumpet community, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. To me, FONT Music is one of the most forward-thinking “New Music” festivals because it recognizes and embraces the many forms and genres that should fall under the heading of “New Music”, and focuses on the post-academic paradigm where performers are composers and vice-versa.
Right, that’s a great point about the performer being the composer and vice versa. In our community, you rarely are seeing the sole “composers”, but more so the performer is writing for themselves and others they are closely related to. In some ways, it becomes a bit more personal that way I suppose.
Among the many accolades for your new album “Sacred Feast”, the head honcho here at FONT Music Dave Douglas has said some pretty awesome stuff about your new project. “A really fine, beautiful statement. Subtle and rich … I can’t think of another player anywhere that could pull this off”. That’s pretty awesome…
Because Dave is such a model for me as an artist, as soon as “Sacred Feast” was finished, I sent the tracks over to him. I assumed that I was one of dozens of artists sending him material every week, so didn’texpect a response. He not only listened to it, but wrote me an email from the airport with his thoughts! How cool is that? This meant so much to me, and again shows how committed Dave is to supporting young artists and trumpeters. I was obviously thrilled when he asked me to perform at FONT Music this year. I hope that in time I can pay it forward by supporting future generations of FONT Music artists.
Dave Douglas has long been a huge creative and professional inspiration to me, and this Festival is a perfect example of why that is. On top of being a prolific creative force, stunning improviser, and virtuosic trumpeter, Dave is devoted to furthering the art form by supporting other creative artists, especially trumpeters.
Yeah, Dave’s a pretty amazing guy! So, for those of us new to Thomas Bergeron, can you give us a brief history? What have we missed thusfar?
This is a loaded question! I spent a good portion of my early years working in the classical world, both orchestra and chamber music. During this time I was mostly focused on honing my trumpet playing. Because I was taking orchestra auditions (and every freelance gig felt like an audition), I became obsessed with developing my sound and perfecting my technique. I soon realized that sound development and technical work would be never-ending pursuits.
It wasn’t long before I grew hungry for more creative outlets. I had played jazz for as long as I was a trumpet player, but after college I became more intensely interested in improvising and composing (and their intersections). It wasn’t until I arrived at Yale for graduate school that this became a career focus. Yale is primarily focused on classical chamber music, but there were a few fantastic jazz musicians in the program (and luckily for me they were rhythm section players :)). We put together a small jazz group, which provided an oasis of creativity for me. I wanted to convince the school that jazz performance practice had a place within their established chamber music curriculum. My strategy was to arrange jazz versions (written for jazz players) of the music of classical composers like Debussy, Villa Lobos, Chopin, and Ravel.
I love it – change the system from the inside out! Including your musical history and interests creating something unique. And this brought you to your first album?
My first jazz album interpreted the music of Claude Debussy (“The First of All My Dreams“). I was encouraged by the response to the music, especially when we performed live. We would constantly hear jazz fans saying they didn’t realize how cool Debussy was, and classical fans saying they never thought they’d enjoy a jazz show so much. While I was working on this creative outlet in the jazz realm, my classical career continued to have a life of its own.
I’m now going into my fourth season as principal trumpet with the Springfield Symphony, my third season with the Atlantic Brass Quintet, and I recently finished a two-year residency at Carnegie Hall with Ensemble ACJW. Working with these ensembles is of course immensely rewarding, not only because I get to perform alongside some of the worlds greatest players, but because I’m constantly exposed to some of the greatest music ever created. As a composer, jazz musician and improviser, I feed heavily off of the music that I’m exposed to in classical settings.
Wow – you’re ALL over the place musically, that’s so cool! And you’re drawing all areas of your musical interests into your creative playing and writing! So unique and personal! What can we expect next from you?
While promoting “Sacred Feast“, I’m always thinking about new material. I’m currently working on some ideas for smaller jazz groups (trios and quartets), and I’m also writing some new music for the Atlantic Brass Quintet. This is exciting to me because Atlantic is a traditional brass quintet made of up virtuoso players, but most of the players are also stellar improvisers with firm footing in the jazz world (like our trombonist Tim Albright, for example). The variety of skill sets in the ensemble opens up a lot of doors compositionally. I tend to pick a point on the horizon to sail towards, but allow the winds to blow me to a new course if they want to. So who knows, man? In general just trying to stay creative, stay healthy, and continue working hard to serve the world of music.
Yes… serving the world of music, that sounds about right. Do you have any big classical projects coming up?
As for nerve-wracking classical projects … there are a few coming up. Most notably, I’m performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto, as well as Copland’s Quiet City with the Springfield Symphony in November (along with Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks … yes all on the same program … yikes).
So, Sacred Feast is your newest album out taking a “different” look at the music of Messiaen. Can you give us some insight?
I became captivated by the music of Olivier Messiaen when I was studying with one of his students, Joan Panetti, who teaches a course at Yale called “Hearing”. What struck me most was his ability to manipulate harmony and tone color to magical effects. Messiaen was known as a mystic, and perhaps more famously as a devout Roman Catholic (someone tell the Pope this concert is happening on the day he’s in NYC!).
Right! He’ll be a half mile away from you when you’re performing “Sacred Feast” – we’re seeing that as more providence than coincidence here. We’ll save him a seat.
Seriously … Tell the Pope this show is happening while he’s in town. He will love it. He probably already loves Olivier Messiaen’s music. If he hasn’t heard of Olivier Messiaen, he should. If ever there was a Pope in history who would enjoy a jazz Messiaen show, it’s Pope Francis.
We totally agree. We’ll see what we can do … Speaking of spiritualness of the music, how does the music affect you?
I am not a religious person per se, but Messiaen’s music takes me to a place that I can only describe as spiritual. That’s why I created this project. I wanted to expose people to his music who might not otherwise find it.
The band has only sunk deeper into the music through the numerous performances we’ve given since the recording sessions (I’ve often thought that bands should re-record their albums at the end of the tours that promote them. It could be like a musical version of one of those before/after pictures in weight-loss ads).
Ha! Yeah, the music evolves so much over time – that’s actually kind of a cool idea. The before and after musical shots… I’d be totally interested in hearing something like that. Tell us a little bit about what to expect on Sept 25th for your concert at The Dimenna Center (Benzaquen Hall) for the Festival?
This FONT Music performance has turned into quite a special affair, with the addition of a fantastic string section and the brilliant Becca Stevens (who sings a 3-part song cycle of Messiaen’s on the record, in addition to his Vocalise). The icing on the cake is that my friend and Pakistani tabla master Yousuf Kerai will be in town that weekend, so I’m re-arranging a number of our pieces to allow him to join us. I met Yousuf while visiting Karachi in January. Just a few days after meeting him, we put together a concert with some local musicians in which we combined Eastern and Western musical practices. Yousuf is the real deal when it comes to tabla. He grew up in Pakistan and studied with Ustad Khurshid Hussain. I remember him describing tabla as a “means of discourse”, which is a particularly apt description in the context of our collaboration.
It’s been such a pleasure talking with you, and we can’t wait to hear this pretty special concert!
Thank you for supporting contemporary music and people crazy enough to devote their lives to playing the trumpet. You’re making the world a better place.
We seem to think so too – glad you agree! Okay, so if we DO get a hold of The Pope, how can we entice him to stop by?
My suggestion, if you have his ear:“Excuse me Your Holiness, there is a concert happening across town tonight entitled ‘Sacrum Convivium’ (use the latin, trust me). Music inspired by the great Catholic composer Olivier Messiaen, including performers from Pakistan, Japan, and the US. Would you like to attend?”How could he say no?
Well, if you didn’t convince him, you’ve convinced me! Thanks Thomas!
Get more info about Thomas at his website: http://www.thomasbergeronmusic.com
Here’s a great clip of “Porquoi” from the “Sacred Feast” recording session:
Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Brandon Ridenour
The ongoing question of “How do we save classical music?” has been looming for years it seems. Luckily, in the creative world, multiple ensembles are not just asking the question, they are finding unique ways to SOLVE it. FONT Music 2015’s opening concert “Without A Frame” will be held at Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday September 24 at 8:30 where we will be featuring three of contemporary classical music’s forward looking, genre bending “classical” ensembles – yMusic, Asphalt Orchestra and Founders. It’s hard to truly call them “classical” groups as they start in one camp and jump constantly around to countless others. We’ll be spotlighting these groups in the next few weeks to give you a sneak peek for this exciting evening.
Today we catch up with FONT Music, Canadian Brass and Juilliard alumni and all around great trumpeter, pianist and musician, Brandon Ridenour. What doesn’t he do? We’re still trying to figure that one out. His latest musical project brings together 5 classically trained musician in a more “Singer Songwriter” setting – bringing both covers of multiple genres and originals to listeners ears. If this is what the future holds for classical music, I think we’re in for a treat. Here’s what Brandon had to say to us!
The last FONT Music concert I recall being involved in was back in 2008. I played an arrangement of mine of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time – written for trumpet w/ electronic effects, electric guitar, bass guitar, synthesizer, piano, and auxiliary percussion.On a Messiaen side note, Thomas Bergeron’s “Sacred Feast” features works of Messiaen reinterpreted on Sept 25 at The Dimenna Center this year (coincidence? Maybe…). This year you’re coming back to us with a whole new project – singer-songwriter meets classical. A match made in heaven, in my mind. Tell us a bit about this group.
Founders is the group I’ll be playing with at FONT Music this year. It’s a singing-songwriting group of classical musicians. I was told the working theme of this FONT Music event was something like “Indie Classical”. So yeah, you could call us that. We do some originals, some arrangements. Sometimes there are vocals, sometimes not. The other instruments are violin, viola, cello, bass. I alternate between trumpet and piano depending on what the song calls for. Like yMusic, we might appear to be a classical group, but we don’t necessarily sound classical. Better to experience it in concert than for me to keep rambling about it…Yeah, we’re looking forward to the experience, but we don’t mind your rambling. Give us a rundown as to what you’ve been up to over the years since your days at Juilliard.
I played with the Canadian Brass from 2006-13. My father and girlfriend are both professional pianists, and I play trumpet/piano
world to singer songwriters. The ensemble’s instrumentation is flexible, but always acoustic. Could be as small as 3 instruments, oras large as a 20 piece chamber orchestra. Our debut album “A Dream Within A Dream” uses the full ensemble, featuring a major mixture of musical minds. Melodies are intertwined from Debussy, Mahler, Glass, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and current writers/singers Leila Adu, Elliot Cole and….me. It’s a fun project. Maybe FONT 2016??Doesn’t sound like a bad idea … we’re really looking forward to Sept 24th! Thanks for chatting with us!
Purchase tickets for FONT Music’s Opening Concert “Without A Frame” on Sept 24th at Rockwood Music Hall featuring Founders, yMusic and Asphalt Orchestra.
Check out Brandon Ridenour’s website: http://www.brandonridenour.org
Check out Founders website: http://www.foundersmusic.org
Check out this video of the Founders recording session:
Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Jonathan Powell
Jonathan Powell is a busy guy – from playing with some of the best big bands in town including Darcy Argue’s Secret Society and Arturo O’Farrill’s Big Band to performing alongside Eddie Palmieri to leading his own groups featuring some of the most creative and cutting edge players on the scene today. We are proud to have Jonathan debuting his newest band The Jonathan Powell Latin Jazz Sextet during the FONT Music 2015 at The Blue Note on Sunday, September 27 at 11:30am and 1pm featuring a “Who’s Who” of the latin jazz scene today (Buy Tickets Here).
Thanks for chatting with us today. We’re so glad to have you on the FONT Music roster this year, Jonathan!
This will be the first time I’ve been involved with FONT and I’m really excited to be a part of it!
You’ve been pretty busy over the years here in NYC. Can you give us all a quick rundown of your history since moving here.
Well I moved to NYC from Florida in 2001 to pursue my love of music.
Since then I delved into the Latin Music Scene playing with NJ-NY based salsa-Timba bands La Creacion, La Bola and La Excelencia among others. All the while pursuing my first love of jazz having had the chance to record with Sam Rivers, Reggie Workman and Charlie Persip while playing with some great young luminaries like Pedro Giraudo, Darcy James Argue, Miguel Zenon and others.
Not too shabby!! If you started with THOSE guys, who are you playing with now?
Currently, I’m playing with the groups of Eddie Palmieri (Salsa Orchestra and Latin Jazz Septets), Arturo O’Farrill and the Latin Jazz Orchestra, Henry Cole’s Afrobeat Collective, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and JT Taylor (the voice of Kool & the Gang) among other groups as a freelance trumpet player.
So, we know you’re highly sought after as a sideman and section player, but you are also a very active leader. Tell us a bit about what’s going on with your own projects.
As a leader, I’ve been focusing my energies on a new recording with my Nu Sangha group called “Beacons of Light” (Purchase Here!). I’m celebrating this new release and currently working on a new album for that group which will feature chanting from all over the world mixed in new arrangements featuring the band and special guests.
Wow! That sounds really fascinating… I can’t wait to hear that. But at FONT Music 2015, you’ll be unveiling your newest group, right?
Yes, this will be the debut of my new Latin Jazz Group with which I wish to honor my 14 years in NYC playing Latin music. In the front linewill be Palmieri-band mate Alto Saxaphonist Louis Fouché and myself. We’ve developed a great personal/musical relationship over the years and are looking forward to applying it to this new context.
Also special guesting with us will be my brother tenor Saxophonist Jeremy Powell whom will be brought up to play some of the Nu Sangha repertoire for this show. The rhythm section features the best and brightest of the Latin Jazz genre: Grammy nominee Manuel Valera on piano, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, drummer Henry Cole and percussionist Mauricio Herrera. The music will be an eclectic mix of Latinized Nu Sangha tunes, originals by other members, arrangements of a few standards and of course one or two Eddie Palmieri tunes as he has taught me so much in this music.
Can’t wait to hear this … thanks for your time Jonathan, and keep up all the great work!
Check out this video of Jonathan Powell’s nu Sangha Live at The Blue Note:
Catching Up with FONT 2015 Artist & Curator: Marquis Hill
If you are at all involved in the jazz scene, you likely have heard the name Marquis Hill over the past couple years – he’s the definition of a “rising star” and “young lion” in the jazz trumpet world. While being a sought after unique voice in his native Chicago jazz scene for years now, Marquis began to get the national/international attention he’s deserved recently after winning the 2014 Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet Competition (and International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition in 2012). We’re excited to have him on the FONT Music team this year as not only an artist, but a curator of the event at The Jazz Gallery on September 26th entitled Signatures in Brass (buy tickets here).
Thanks for being a part of the FONT Music team this year – we’re excited to have you on board. For the rest of the reading world, give them your history with FONT Music:
This is actually my first year involved with FONT; I discovered the effort about two years ago and have wanted to be involved with their good work ever since. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of it this year.
You’re proudly from Chicago, which has a unique jazz scene. We just recently chatted with fellow Chicagoan, Chad McCullough last week who will also be performing at the festival. What are your thoughts about growing up in the Chicago jazz scene:
Born and raised in Chicago, I was fortunate enough to learn and grow well in the city’s energetic scene. It has long had a number of authentic voices and artist that see artistic vision. Though currently splitting time between Chicago and New York, I’m ever grateful for the rich opportunities my home town has, and continues to offer. To learn from and perform alongside some of the city’s great thinkers in the music – Willie Pickens, Von Freeman, Fred Anderson, Ken Chaney, Ernest Dawkins, and Bobby Broom – is a blessing.
Wow, a blessing for sure! Tell us about some of the professional stuff you’ve been up to.
I’ve been involved with some pretty fulfilling projects over the past few years. Matt Ulery’s “Loom,” Juan Pastor’s “Chinano,” Geof Bradifield’s “Our Roots” have each been uniquely fine opportunities in which I had the the oppurtonity to grow and contribute. As of late, my main focus has been my working group, The Marquis Hill Blacktet. We released our latest project, “Modern Flows vol. 1,” last fall; currently, we are preparing to go back into the studio and record the next project entitled “The Way We Play.”So what’s next for you?
Some great things are coming up; I’m energized to be playing the music from “Modern Flows Vol. 1” at the Chicago Jazz Festival, in September. Thrilled to be spending more time in New York – where I get opportunity to learn and grow with a number of compelling artists – I will also be doing a two-month European tour with the great bassist-composer-leader Marcus Miller, beginning in October. After that my focus will come back to the project to be released next spring (“The Way We Play”) Its an exciting and grateful time.
That’s fantastic! Can’t wait to hear about the Marcus Miller tour – you’ll have to give us a recap of that when you’re back! Luckily, before you split for that FONT Music gets you on September 16th at The Jazz Gallery. Can you tell us a little about how you’ve curated this event?
This is a project I call “SIGNATURES IN BRASS: The Personality-packed review of contemporary Jazz Trumpet.” It features Philip Dizack, Josh Evans, Keyon Harold, Ingrid Jensen, Billy Buss, and myself, on trumpets – as well as Theo Hill on Piano, Eric Wheeler on Bass, and Obed Calvaire on the kit. This is a great opportunity to feature a number of different and unique voices emerging under “Jazz Trumpet” umbrella. Featuring all-original music from the band as well as a commissioned piece – written by long time friend and fine composer, Kendall Moore. Should be a true fellowship!
Purchase tickets to SIGNATURES IN BRASS here!
Fellowship indeed! That’s what we’re all about here at FONT Music. We’re so glad to have you on board. Be sure to check out Marquis’ recent performance of his tune “White Shadows”at Tribeca Arts Center with his group Blacktet below:
Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Chad McCullough
Chad McCullough is no stranger to FONT Music, as over the past few years he’s been involved not only as a performer, but also behind the scenes as one of our graphic designers (see the web banner above – that’s him!). A diverse performer and composer, Chad is at the helm of the Chicago jazz scene and regularly is performing all across the world, in addition to teaching at DePaul University. Among his many music projects, his group Chicago based, Spin Quartet has just recently released their newest album, Starting From Zero.
He’ll be joining FONT Music 2015 at Downtown Music Gallery on Sunday Sept 27th at 7pm for our first night of the “Visionaries” Concerts, where he’ll play a duo set with New York pianist, Dan Cray (buy tickets here!). We touched base with Chad to see what he’s been up lately:
Give us a quick snapshot of your past and what you’ve been up to over the years?
I’ve been involved in some extremely rewarding long-term collaborative projects in the last few years. I’ve got a band with a great Belgian pianist, Bram Weijters, and we’ve been luckily enough to tour around the world. My band, The Spin Quartet has been an exciting group to work with and develop over the last few years as well. I also play with The Kora Band, a US-Canadian collaboration called Tunnel Six, and in Chicago am a member of a few very hip (I think!) bands; James Davis’ Beveled, Luke Malewicz’s Heritage Quartet; and just about anything else I can do to keep busy!
Wow! Sounds like you keep busy! Enough about the past, what’s on the horizon for you these days?
Lots on the horizon! In September I’m playing at the Chicago Jazz Festival and touring Canada, and a few days in the Pacific Northwest with The Spin Quartet in celebration of our newly released live record, The Kora Band is releasing a new album with a UK tour in October, and in November Bram Weijters and I will celebrate our latest album with a mid-west US tour. All good things! On top of all of that I’m very much looking forward to starting the upcoming school year, and working with the new students at DePaul.
You also will be joining us here in NYC in September for a set of duo music with NYC (and former Chicago) pianist, Dan Cray at FONT Music’s Visionaries Series (tickets here). Tell us a little about this setup and your history with Dan.
Dan and I have been friends for a while, and have played and talked a lot about music. This duo project will focus on our original music. As far as pianist in that setting, I really can’t think of anyone I’d rather play with! I’m really looking forward to this show.
Great! We’re looking forward to hearing that next month. Anything else you want to leave the trumpet world with til next time?
I’m around at any time to talk embouchures, valve oil, vintage horns, or just get together and play some long-tones with.
Check out this live video from Spin Quartet’s recent album release “Starting from Zero”:
We hope you can join us for FONT 2015 on Sept 24-29 here in NYC! We highly suggest pre-purchasing tickets to all events as seating is limited and we wouldn’t want you to miss these events!
FULL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
SINGLE TICKETS PURCHASE || FESTIVAL PASS
Catching up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Jesse Neuman & Blast of Brass
Trumpeter/Educator, Jesse Neuman is not a new name to the FONT Music community – he’s back again this year by popular demand with his creative, energetic and fun children’s (of all ages!) brass program Blast of Brass! We got a bit more in depth last year with him with an interview (read here), but we wanted to take a few minutes this year to see what he’s been up to and talk a bit more about Blast of Brass. Be sure to catch his new video of the group at the bottom of the article!
Mark your calendars to bring your children (or your inner child):
Sunday, Sept 27 – 12pm
Brooklyn Children’s Museum – FREE event!
What have you been up to recently:
I just spent an amazing two weeks in Cuba with a group of high school music students. Naturally folks think of Salsa when you mention the Caribbean, but I was lucky enough to witness several “Rumba” performances. Not to be confused with the Perez Prado “Rhumba” craze, traditional Afrocuban Rumba involves several cross-rhythmic percussion parts (cowbell and woodblocks, shakers and scrapers), a lead vocalist and chorus, a trio of bata drummers (playing the very same Iya/mother, Itotole/father, and Okonkolo/baby drums used in Santeria rituals), and of course the dancers, whose dramatic antics play out in front of a hollering crowd. Of course the biggest lesson I learned was that I have so much STILL to learn, but it’s a journey I’m looking forward to taking.
Tell us about Blast of Brass:
Luckily, the drummer in our Blast of Brass Band (multi-percussionist Brian Adler) is just as much a fan of Afrocuban music as I am. Along with trombonist Elizabeth Frascoia and tubist Joe Exley, we are looking forward to returning to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. It’s a great forum for my teaching non-profit, Musicworks, to connect with young kids about the science (and silliness!) of brass instruments, dancing and singing, and creating an overall commotion. We love getting to set up so close to the audience, and always have several curious customers come up and ask questions and try out the instruments afterwards…though Joe does have a rule: If you are small enough to fit inside the tuba, you probably shouldn’t try to pick it up on your own! Luckily, my pocket trumpet is available.
Find out more information about Jesse here: http://jesseneumaninfo.weebly.com/
Here’s where you can hear Jesse’s music: www.JesseNeuman.Bandcamp.com
Check out a video about “Blast of Brass”:
Music Works NYC from Sasha Santiago on Vimeo.
Meet FONT Music 2015 Curator: Aaron Shragge
Last Monday, we posted an article featuring trumpeter and 2015 FONT Music Curator, Nate Wooley discussing his view of “Visionary” as he is curating one of two nights during the FONT Music 2015 called “Visionaries”. The other night, Sunday September 27, is hosted and curated by trumpeter and FONT Music’s Secretary, Aaron Shragge. Aaron himself is quite a visionary in the modern/creative music and trumpet world as you’ll read and hear below.
A Note from Aaron:
The term ‘visionary’ can be a difficult to define. For that reason I think it’s all the more important to search deeply and find a way to actualize its essence. The artists that I’ve chosen for this series (Chad McCullough, John Blevins, Leo Hardman-Hill) are all wonderful examples of the unity and diversity of the trumpet. I feel they have each committed themselves to the visionary path by continuing to search for their own unique musical voice without being swayed by convention or novelty.
More About Aaron:
Aaron is active in the NYC improvised/creative music scene and serves on the board of Festival of New Trumpet Music NY/Canada. His unique instrument the Dragon Mouth Trumpet was designed to expand the trumpet’s melodic capacity and is the result of over a decade of studying both the Shakuhachi (Japanese, Flute) as well as North Indian Vocals. Aaron Shragge’s current projects include a duo with Ben Monder, a Jazz quintet that plays the music of Tom Waits and his continuing solo works for Dragon Mouth Trumpet/Shakuhachi.
AARON SHRAGGE’S MUSIC “…DELVES DEEPER INTO THAT SATORI PLACE IN YOUR BRAIN” – JAZZ TIMES.
Find out more about Aaron at his website: http://www.aaronshragge.com/
Listen to Aaron play solo on his uniquely designed instrument, Dragon Mouth Trumpet:
Be sure to check out the updated listings of FONT Music Festival 2015 Here!