July 23, 2013

Improvisation and Gestalt Therapy: A Comparison by Edward T. Daniel, Jr. MSW, LCSW

FONT board member/performer Ted Daniel is a revered jazz trumpeter and composer largely known for his work in the 1970s and collaborations with musicians including Andrew Cyrille, Henry Threadgill and the late Billy Bang. Recently in June 2011, Ted Daniel’s International Brass Membrane Corps performed at the Abrons Art Center, co-presented by FONT and the Vision Festival.
In his article “Improvisation and Gestalt Therapy: A Comparison”(p.11) published in the June 2013’s issue of The New York City Jazz Record Ted Daniel discusses the parallels between Gestalt therapeutic process and a creative musician’s experience improvising in a band setting. Ted looks deeply into the question that: “As creative artists, in our personal quest to experience meaningful improvisation in music and in life…Are we investing too much time in someone else’s authenticity to the detriment of our own?”

July 13, 2013

Workshop With Marco Blaauw at New York University

Trumpet innovator and virtuoso Marco Blaauw will be giving a two hour workshop at NYU on Saturday, July 20th, 2013 from 11am-1pm at Frederick Loewe Theatre, 35 West 4th Street, NYC. Sponsored in part by Analog arts.

Marco Blaauw is starring in a musikFabrik’s production of Michael’s Journey Around the World at Lincoln Center Festival from July 18th-20th.

“Sometimes music vibrates beyond the clouds, and we can no longer hear its echo,” wrote Karlheinz Stockhausen. “Very rarely is it truly infinite; then it makes us forget the earth.” Avery Fisher Hall is set to be transformed in the overdue American premiere of this seminal instrumental opera by 20th-century musical visionary Karlheinz Stockhausen in a production from the Wiener Taschenoper. A rich fabric of clarinets, trombones, violins, and percussion, marked by a truly exceptional trumpet concerto, gives life to the beautifully illuminated cosmos of director Carlus Padrissa’s celestial, state-of-the-art staging. Michaels Reise um die Erde (“Michael’s Journey Around the World”) is the second act of his opera Donnerstag (“Thursday”), part of his monumental career-capping seven-opera cycle titled Licht, only portions of which have ever been produced. The musicians of Cologne-based Ensemble musikFabrik, whose Stockhausen recordings have been received worldwide to broad critical acclaim, provide the propulsive sonic background of this unforgettable event.

“Mind, prepare to be blown.”

—Globe & Mail (Canada)

“A sui generis creation that commands the listener’s concentration and the performers’ virtuosity.”

—Financial Times

“Truly monumental…a posthumous triumph for Karlheinz Stockhausen. It is not he who has arrived in the present, but rather the present that has caught up with him.”

—Die Welt



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

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


October 4, 2012

Interview with Jack Walrath

Interview with Jack Walrath

October 4, 2012 – See full festival schedule here.

By Stephanie Richards

Jack Walrath performs at Jazz Standard Thursday, October 4th, 2012. A veteran of the international jazz scene, Jack Walrath’s talents have been utilized by Charles Mingus, Ray Charles, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ricky Ford, Sam Rivers, Joe Morello, Charli Persip, Miles Davis, and Quincey Jones, among many others. He has appeared in films, TV and Radio both as a sideman and leader since 1965, and has released 22 albums as a leader. In addition he has appeared on countless albums with others (Mingus-14, Abrams-3,and others such as Persip, Davis, Lou Rawls, Richie Cole, Ricky Ford, the Jazz Tribe, Joe Lovano, the WDR Big Band, Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Gruntz to name a few).


SR: You’ve called your brand new piece that you’ll play at Jazz Standard, a FONT commission, a work of “extended composition.” What do you mean by this?

Jack Walrath: What Mingus meant by “Extended Composition” was a composition that may have had different movements, tempi, etc.  “Extended Composition” was basically going beyond the mere song form which, except for Ellington, perhaps, was the rule of the day.

The piece is in five movements and the working title is “Life’s Times”






All I can say is that it is my stuff that I have discovered.  The movements are connected by “idee fixes”, if you will, threaded through all the movements.  I use my own harmonic techniques that were inspired by North African, Greek, and all kinds of music that I have studied and experienced in my travels.  One piece also uses harmonies of my own derivation that have nothing to do with II-V-I or chords built in thirds.  I also make up my own scales.  I don’t want it to sound like I threw in the kitchen sink, but as I write it, I notice that I have been invoking musical elements that I have experienced in my lifetime—even going back to when I was ten years old and met Louis Armstrong.  It seems to be shaping up as somewhat autobiographical, even though it wasn’t originally intended to be that way.  Of course, I can’t get away from the blues, so that is a major thread in the piece.  I like to play with intervals, so that is in there, and yes, you can dance to it!

I hope that I don’t sound pretentious, but I don’t know how to explain it any other way.  In some ways, it is also a tribute to my idols, who showed me that the most important lesson is not to be like them!

SR: How did you come upon choosing the players and instrumentation for this work?

JW: I try to keep a consistent personnel in my groups.  This is, of course, very hard these days.  The guys have either traveled, played or recorded with me fairly consistently for the last 4 or 5 years.  Victor is a sub, but we have played in many bands together.  The first time I played with Victor was in the mid-seventies.  This was also his first day in New York.

SR: Your performance history includes playing with many great musicians that tend to embrace the legacy and roots of jazz and blues while focusing on moving the direction of music forward, and your personal works suggest the same.  Can you tell me a little more about your outlook on furthering the direction of jazz and improvisation?

JW: I have always seen jazz as innovative.  Unfortunately, this has become harder to achieve with the demise of working/traveling/steady bands and the apprenticeship system.  Jazz “education” is also a culprit.  The “rules” and “dogmatism” has kept it back. It has gotten to the point that often school teachers think that they are the cats.  Once a “professor” asked me, “DID YOU EVER PLAY THE ARBAN’S BOOK?”, to which I answered, “HAVE YOU EVER APPEARED ON STAGE?”  I once heard a “teacher” ask Woody Shaw, “CAN YOU READ?”  He answered, ‘CAN YOU PLAY?”  What I find ludicrous is that cats are going back to school to be teachers and their “teachers” are grading them on things that they may have actually invented.  I offered to teach Mingus courses in several schools that had them and was either told the they had somebody that did that or I don’t qualify because I don’t have a degree!  When I went to Berklee there was no degree.  I had eight hours a day of music.  Nowadays, I meet people with Masters degrees that don’t know what I learned in the first four semesters.

As far as the future of the music and improvisation, jazz must be seen a relevant again as an art form and not just a craft.  These are conservative times and so many play it safe.  We have been vamping for over fifty years now.  Perhaps it is time to start evolving again.  There are a lot of chords, forms and melodies that still haven’t been discovered as yet.  Jazz will always be around because people play it for the same reason people write poetry.  Also, they are some people in this world that love instrumental music and we don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of electrical equipment to make our point.

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


Read More

August 1, 2012

FONT’s 10th Anniversary Festival

FONT Music Presents: The 10th Anniversary

The Festival of New Trumpet Music


September 8 through October 7, 2012 – in NYC and Brooklyn – The Festival of New Trumpet Music, directed by Dave Douglas, presents its 10th Anniversary Festival, a multi-genre, multi-venue celebration of new trumpet music by the instrument’s most creative players and composers. Hailed as “a grand highlight of the musical season” by The New Yorker and “a cross-stylistic extravaganza” by The New York Times, FONT Music reaffirms its status as one of the most adventurous and consistently innovative music festivals in the New York scene.

From Dave Douglas: “For our tenth festival we decided to go back to the full month model—a blowout of creative music that spans generations and genres that is our biggest festival since the early days when we had residency at Tonic. We’re book-ending the festival with two great free events: Stephanie Richards’ Rotations Rotations and Claudio Roditi with the West Point Jazz Knights. In between we’ve commissioned creative pioneers like Charles Tolliver, Tom Harrell, and Jack Walrath, and emerging talents like Adam O’Farrill, Alicia Rau, Bruce Harris, and Douglas Detrick. We’re really excited to co-curate with yMusic at Rockwood Music Hall, bringing up the NO BS! Brass Band from Virginia. I am also proud to present my own new project featuring singer Aoife O’Donovan on music from Be Still. I hope you will join us for this exciting and varied program! I am proud to be part of the group of ambitious musician/curators who have worked hard to support and expand the field through this festival’s programming.”


Saturday, September 8, 6:30-7pm –  Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jane’s CarouselDUMBO, between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges. FREE!

FONT’S 10th Anniversary Celebration and Grand Opening – Rotations, Rotations by Stephanie Richards Rotations, Rotations is a site-specific performance composed and directed by Stephanie Richards, who will be joined by nine moving brass and percussion players performing with the nostalgic sounds of the carousel’s “mechanical band”. Personnel includes Kirk Knuffke and Ben Holmes on trumpet, Brian Drye and Jen Baker on trombone, and Andrew Munsey, Nick Jenkins and Kenny Wollesen on percussion.   Wardrobe stylist  Sarah Maiorino and movement direction by Mark DeChiazza.

September 13-15 – The Jazz Gallery all concerts 9 & 10:30pm, 290 Hudson St, NYC. Thursday 9/13 1st set: $15.00 | $10.00 for Members, 2nd set: $10.00 | $5.00 for Members. Friday and Saturday 9/14-5 both sets $20.00 | $10.00 for Members.

Thursday, September 13 Douglas Detrick’s AnyWhen Ensemble Pre-Concert Talk at 7:30pm. Chamber-Jazz quintet Douglas Detrick’s AnyWhen Ensemble gives the world premiere of its Chamber Music America-commissioned The Bright and Rushing World: Suite for Five Musicians. (The Bright and Rushing World: Suite for Five Musicians has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s 2011 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.)

Friday, September 14 – Adam O’Farrill Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill performs new music with Luis Perdomo, piano; and Burniss Traviss, bass and Nasheet Waits, drums, and will be joined by a special guest on trumpet.

Saturday, September 15 – Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet performing new, “thoughtfully tumultuous” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times) music for his sextet.

Wednesday, September 19 – The Checkout: Live from 92YTribeca featuring Dave Douglas Quintet with special guest Aoife O’Donovan. 92YTribeca, 8pm, 200 Hudson St, $12.00, The Checkout Live from 92YTribeca Co-produced by The Checkout-WBGO & NPR

Dave Douglas Quintet with special guest Aoife O’Donovan – CD Release Concert – Dave Douglas describes the title of his new release, Be Still, as “aspirational.” The continually evolving trumpeter and composer settles down for a ballad-like set that presents a series of hymns and folk songs with an intensely personal connection. Be Still brings out the most lyrical side of Douglas, and introduces both a newly configured Quintet, and an important new collaborator, vocalist and guitarist Aoife O’Donovan.

Thursday and Friday, September 20 and 21 – Speyer Hall, University Settlement8pm, 184 Eldridge St, NYC.

September 20 – The Spaces In Between with Sao Paulo Underground Cornetist Rob Mazurek and choreographer/artist Marianne Kim’s FONT-commissioned collaboration grown out of the meditative environments of Mazurek’s solo performances at the Rothko Chapel, in Houston, TX and at the Abbaye Royale de Fontevrau, France.

September 21 – TILT Brass performs music by Dave Ballou, the latest installment of Nate Wooley’s 7-Storey Mountain, and the New York premiere of Louis Andreissen’s De Volharding for brass sextet and a cast of special guests. Tickets available HERE

Sunday, September 23 – The Village Zendo7pm, 588 Broadway, NYC, Suite 1108. $20 Suggested Donation, www.villagezendo.org

Villagers and Trumpet: FONT Music at the Village ZendoNatsuki Tamura and Josh Deutsch each present duo sets of their music in an intimate and diverse concert at the beautiful Village Zendo

September 26-27 – Smalls Jazz ClubSets at 7:30, 9 and 10:30pm, 183 West 10th St, NYC, $20, www.smallsjazzclub.com

Wednesday, September 26 – Dave Chisholm’s Calligraphy, Jean Caze Group, Jon Crowley’s Heart of Darkness

Thursday, September 27 – Alicia Rau’s aRAUz, John Raymond Group, David Weiss Group

September 30 – Rockwood Music Hall Doors 6:30pm, 196 Allen St, NYC, $12, Rockwood Music Hall

Sunday, September 30 – 7 pm – yMusic – 8pm – No BS! Brass Hailed by NPR’s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” yMusic is a sextet of young performers equally comfortable in the overlapping classical and pop music worlds. yMusic will be premiering a FONT-Commissioned work by Andrew Norman. No BS! Brass Band is a powerful brass band that embraces the spirit of New Orleans into its original East Coast modern funk.

October 4-7 – Jazz Standard Showtimes 7:30 and 9:30 with an 11:30 set on October 5 and 6, 116 East 27th St, NYC. Jack Walrath, Charles Tolliver and Tom Harrell all perform new music commissioned by FONT Music.

October 4 – Jack Walrath

October 5 – RETROFORWARD ™, Charles Tolliver & Music Inc/Continuum

October 6 – Tom Harrell

October 7 – West Point Jazz Knights featuring Claudio Roditi – The exciting, post-bop oriented trumpeter Claudio Roditi joins the West Point Jazz Knights in a concert of new music by Roditi. FREE!

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.