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!
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.
On September 28, the FONT Music Festival will be hosting one of two nights featuring three trumpet “Visionaries” on the jazz scene today including Joe Moffett, Jaimie Branch and Leo Hardman-Hill (more on them in coming blog posts) at Downtown Music Gallery (Purchase tickets here). Curating the evening is another leading voice in creative trumpet world, Nate Wooley. We wanted to give a quick spotlight on this unique voice in the trumpet world and hear his thoughts on his curatorial picks and his idea of “Visionary”:
A Note from Nate:
“The term “visionary” comes with a lot of baggage. Who is to say which ways of thinking will prove to be visionary and which will be well intentioned ideas that never quite make it. For that very reason there are many that don’t take the opportunity to find their own musical and aesthetic limits, whether it is with the idea of staking a claim as a “visionary” or not. The three trumpet players I chose for this series are the ones that are taking the chance and are heavily engaged in an attempt to push beyond the already possible systems of playing to form a new one that is best suited to who they are and what they think.”
More about Nate:
Nate Wooley was born in 1974 in Clatskanie, Oregon, a town of 2,000 people in the timber country of the Pacific Northwestern corner of the U.S. He began playing trumpet professionally with his father, a big band saxophonist, at the age of 13. He moved to New York in 2001, and has since become one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson.
Wooley’s solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Along with Peter Evans and Greg Kelley, Wooley is considered one of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, as well as demolishing the way trumpet is perceived in a historical context still overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. A combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor has led one reviewer to call his solo recordings “exquisitely hostile”.
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.