Category

Interviews

August 31, 2015

Catching Up with FONT 2015 Artist & Curator: Marquis Hill

marquis 1 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 marquis 3and 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 marquis 2get 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:

Also, check out more about Marquis at his website here: www.marquishill.com

 

August 24, 2015

Catching Up with FONT Music 2015 Artist: Chad McCullough


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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:

Thanks for chatting with us today Chad – tell us about your involvement with FONT Music over the years:
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with FONT since 2010. I started just making some small web banner graphics, and now do most all of the graphic design for the festival. I was able to perform in 2013, and will be back this year!

Give us a quick snapshot of your past and what you’ve been up to over the years?
I live in Chicago, and am very happy to be a part of this town’s vibrant jazz scene. I grew up in Seattle, learning from many of thechad 1 great musicians in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been in the midwest for about 2.5 years, and teach at DePaul University in the jazz studies department.
 

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 Pacificchad 3 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”:

August 5, 2015

Catching Up with Nadje Noordhuis: On Life and Laurie

Nadje Noordhuis Laugh- Blue
Nadje Noordhuis

Since moving to New York City from Australia 12 years ago, trumpeter/educator Nadje Noordhuis has taken the jazz trumpet world by storm.  After attending Manhattan School of Music, Nadje quickly became a sought after voice on the New York jazz scene for her unique sound, musicality and technique.  During her time at Manhattan School of Music, she formed a strong friendship to master trumpeter and educator, Laurie Frink, who passed away in 2013.  After her passing, Nadje began to continue to carry Laurie’s torch by helping to coordinate The Laurie Frink Brass Summit and deeply involved with The Laurie Frink Career Grant.  Nadje has also been an imperative part of the FONT Music leadership team, in addition to being a performer for the festival many times over the past few years.  We recently caught up with Nadje about her music, life and Laurie – here’s what came out…

Thanks for answering some questions for us Nadje – We know you have a long history with FONT Music, give us the rundown for our readers as to what you’ve done with FONT Music in the past:

As of this year, I’m a board member for FONT. I’m such a fan of this festival and have checked out performances every year since I moved to New York in 2003, and it’s incredible that now I’m in a position to help achieve the goals of this organization.

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Nadje performing with her quintet with Sara Caswell at 2014 FONT Music in NYC.

I first performed in 2009 as the FONT commissioned artist for that year – that was an unexpected honor for me. It was first time I performed with a small group in New York under my own name, and it helped me solidify what I wanted to do in terms of my own music. It was also at the 2012 FONT festival that I performed for the first time with vibraphonist James Shipp – we have been playing regularly ever since and are headed into the recording studio soon. I performed in 2013 as part of Henry Brant’s 52 trumpets extravaganza, and again in 2014 with my quintet as part of the series curated by Jeremy Pelt.

So what’s new with your music and your career these days?:

This past year I have been increasing my teaching workload. I took a few years off from having students, but since her passing, have tried hard to expand my knowledge in how to teach brass through an individual tailored approach and by problem solving. I teach privately, for the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Program, and with the environmental arts group Bash The Trash. I’m also a teaching artist with the NY Pops, specifically working with school brass sections in middle and high schools. As well as gigging around the US and teaching masterclasses with my own quintet, I’ve also been busy with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Saulnier’s Awakening Orchestra, and Rudy Royston’s 303, among others.

Tell us a little bit about your history with Laurie Frink:

Laurie Frink
Laurie Frink

Laurie was my teacher while I studied at Manhattan School of Music from 2003-05. Most people who studied with her say this – her lessons were like an oasis from the troubles of the world. I would walk into her studio with the weight of the world on my shoulders and walk out with a big smile. We chatted a lot in lessons about life, our struggles in being women musicians in jazz, and about very important things like great coffee and chocolate. She was inspirational, rock steady, and so incredibly funny. I miss her a lot.

How did your time with Laurie affect you as a teacher:

I have been teaching several students that have had particular chop problems or unusual playing habits, and I’m trying to channel Laurie in these lessons to help them achieve their musical goals.

You are deeply involved in The Laurie Frink Career Grant and Brass Summit, can you tell us about these two awesome things:

The Laurie Frink Career Grant was founded in 2014 by her long-term partner, Lois Martin, to continue Laurie’s legacy in helping young brass players to achieve great things. The first $10K grant was awarded last year to trumpeter Riley Mulherkar, and applications will be open in 2016 for the next one. There’s a small team of us administrating the grant who were close to Laurie, and it feels wonderful to be a part of this life-changing project. The Laurie Frink Brass Summit is the result of an idea I had at the gym – probably the most effective workout I’ve ever had! It’s basically a bunch of around 25 musicians and a special celebrity brass expert, and we talk about top secret brass stuff. It’s great fun, and a wonderful way to foster the community in the way that Laurie always did.

For more information on these events, or to make a tax free donation, please check out www.lauriefrink.com or www.facebook.com/lauriefrinkcareergrant. You can also email to be put on our mailing list.

What’s on the horizon for you:Nadje live action

I’m currently plotting and planning my next quintet+guests record, trying to promote my latest album, “Ten Sails” with pianist Luke Howard, and working hard to become the best teacher and player that I can.

Check out this recording from her new album “Ten Sails” with Luke Howard:

Buy “Ten Sails” Here: http://music.lukehoward.com/album/ten-sails

Stay up to date with Nadje at her website: www.nadjenoordhuis.com

July 20, 2015

The Doctor Is In: Eddie Henderson On Life As ‘The Funk Surgeon’

Eddie Henderson's latest album is Collective Portrait. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist
Eddie Henderson’s latest album is Collective Portrait.
Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

 

 Eddie Henderson had no choice. His mother was a dancer at the original Cotton Club, and counted Billie HolidayLena Horne and Sarah Vaughan as friends. His birth father was in a major vocal group, The Charioteers. And his stepfather was a doctor to the stars: Duke EllingtonCount BasieMiles DavisJohn ColtraneCannonball Adderly and more. With all of that talent surrounding him during childhood, he just had to turn out a jazz musician.

Read more at NPR.org

http://www.npr.org/2015/02/15/386086679/the-doctor-is-in-eddie-henderson-on-life-as-the-funk-surgeon

November 29, 2014

Interview with Taylor Ho Bynum

A special edition of the Spanish Jazz radio show Club de Jazz where we conducted an interview with Taylor Ho Bynum.

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Source: http://www.elclubdejazz.com/vocesdejazz/taylor_ho_bynum_11_2014_eng.html