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Photo via Nadje Noordhuis

Nadje Noordhuis had her first encounters with music at an early age. The Australian-born trumpeter began her studies on the piano at age three, and switched to her current instrument in the third grade. She performed Euro-American classical repertoire in concert bands throughout her childhood, but a chance discovery of Miles DavisKind of Blue changed her life.

Nadje was on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in sound recording at the time, but the album inspired her to dive headlong into a study of jazz. She would continue on to earn a second bachelor’s in improvisation in Australia before moving to New York after receiving a scholarship to attend the master’s program at Manhattan School of Music. The trumpeter has shared her talents in performances with Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, Jim Black, Ben Monder and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, among others.

In 2007, Nadje was selected as one of ten semifinalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition. In 2010, Carnegie Hall selected the trumpeter to apprentice with Dave Douglas as a part of their Young Artists program.

After three nights of programming in conjunction with the Festival of New Trumpet Music, a.k.a. FONT (who commissioned Nadje in 2009), we are pleased to welcome Nadje and her quintet to our stage this week. They will give a special CD Pre-Release concert as a part of our debut series this Thursday night. The group includes the violinist Sara Caswell, the pianist Orrin Evans, the bassist Ike Sturm, and the drummer Jared Schonig, as well as a special guest, the percussionist James Shipp.

Watch a clip of Nadje performing at the Australian venue Colbourne Avenue.

Photo by Hilary McHone

The cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has been heralded as “one of his generation’s top avant-garde figures” (The New York Times). Described by The Boston Phoenix as “a young brass master and compelling composer,” Time Out Chicago proclaims him to be “one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation.”

Taylor was born in Baltimore, MD, and raised in Boston, MA. He studied with Bill Lowe at Northeastern University while auditing classes there during high school, and attended Weslyan University, where he began his lengthy and ongoing association with Anthony Braxton. His collaboration with Braxton has resulted in countless performances and over twenty recordings ranging from a duo setting to a full orchestra. Taylor currently leads his own sextet and the chamber ensemble SpiderMonkey Strings, co-leads Positive Catastrophe (with Abraham Gomez-Delgado), and is a collaborator in several collectively-led groups. His performance and recording credits include the likes of  Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Tomas Fujiwara, and Tyshawn Sorey, among numerous others.

Taylor will bring his sextet to our stage on Saturday as a part of our collaboration with the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT) this week. The group includes the alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, the guitarist Mary Halvorson, the bassist Ken Filiano, the drummers Chad Taylor and Tomas Fujiwara, and his old teacher, the bass trombonist/tubist Bill Lowe.

Each of our featured FONT performers took the time to answer a set of questions from our House Manager and resident trumpeter, Russell Moore. Taylor speaks:

 


 

How does your relationship to the trumpet inform your approach to composition?
Actually, I mainly play the cornet, the trumpet’s forgotten sibling in the brass family. It’s a subtle difference in timbre and articulation, but a real one. Nonetheless, it has the same basic technique, register, and role in the ensemble as the trumpet, and they look pretty similar (though the cornet is a little smaller and more graceful, in my biased opinion), so obviously they usually get lumped together.
Anyway, whether trumpet or cornet, the instrument is a notoriously unreliable ally, as a player you’ve got to embrace the uncertainty. All you’ve got is your air, your lips, and three valves to try and make an infinity of notes and tones and sounds. The trumpet players that move me the most (whether heroes like Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, and Don Cherry, or contemporaries like Nate Wooley, Cuong Vu, and Amir ElSaffar) let it all hang out, they take risks and inevitably sometimes they miss or crack a note, but that sense of adventure is always in their playing. I try to capture that aesthetic as a player, but also as a composer. I want to create work where my musicians can take similar risks in navigating the structure of the music. As a cornet player, as a composer, and as a listener, I much prefer an adventurous failure that reveals real artistic ambition and human vulnerability, over a safe, competent, but boring success.
How do the physical demands of your instrument affect your daily life?
When he was in his 80s, Bill Dixon once told me “I learn something new about the trumpet every day.” Any musical instrument is a lifelong commitment, but brass instruments (as mentioned above) demand a special kind of dedication. Just to maintain one’s chops takes an hour or two of rudiments and exercises each day, and one can always improve on the instrument, there are always new technical hurdles to jump and concepts to explore. Of course, there are times I wish I could run away from it and hide. But when I’m at my most positive, the daily relationship to the cornet takes on a kind of meditative quality; the time becomes a chance to let go all the other troubles of life and business, and reconnect with my body and my horn.
Have you been mentored by trumpet players? If so, tell us about your relationship to them and what you learned.
My very first musical mentor wasn’t a trumpet or cornet player, but he dealt with weightier brass: bass trombonist and tubaist Bill Lowe. We’ve been working together for over twenty years now, and I’m still learning from him; these days he also does me the honor of playing in my sextet.
I got the chance to work closely with Bill Dixon on several projects before his death. He was a true philosopher of sound. His approach to the instrument, to composing, to bandleading, inform my musical decisions every day.
More recently, I’ve gotten the chance to spend some quality time with guys like Wadada Leo Smith, Bobby Bradford, and Baikida Carroll. They are some of my heroes on the instrument, and the fact that guys of their generations, after fifty years of music-making, are still so creative is deeply inspiring to me.
Name some “desert island” picks of recordings featuring the trumpet.
I’ll try to avoid the usual list of Armstrong, Dizzy, Miles, Brownie, etc (all of whom I love of course), and pick some less-heralded classics I’d want to spend some more time with. (Though I’d also want some Ellington featuring all his great trumpet and cornet players: Bubber Miley, Rex Stewart, Cootie Williams, Ray Nance, Clark Terry, et al.)
Rex Stewart’s 1939 small group recordings with Django Reinhart.
Henry ‘Red’ Allen – World on a String
Thad Jones – The Magnificent Thad Jones
Don Ellis – How Time Passes
Don Cherry – Complete Communion
Mongezi Feza – Music for Xaba
Lester Bowie – The 5th Power
Sonny Simmons – Manhattan Egos (featuring Barbara Donald on trumpet)
Julius Hemphill – Flat Out Jump Suite (featuring Olu Dara on cornet)
David Murray – Death of a Sideman (featuring Bobby Bradford on cornet and compositions)
If I’m alone on the island, my three favorite solo trumpet recordings for inspiration:
Bill Dixon – Odyssey
Wadada Leo Smith – Kabell Years
Baikida Carroll – The Spoken Word

Photo via Facebook

DownBeat review of the O’Farrill Brothers’ album Giant Peach (Zoho) observes, “The high level of playing and composing displayed here would be commendable for artists of any age; that the leaders are still in their teens suggests something truly great lies ahead.”

At a very young age, Adam O’Farrill has already established himself as one of NYC’s trumpeters on the rise. The son of GRAMMY-winning pianist Arturo O’Farrill co-leads an ensemble with his brother, Zack, who plays drums. The Wall Street Journal proclaims that the group, aptly named The O’Farrill Brothers Band, “bristles with confidence and creativity.” Adam has already performed with a range of artists including Stefon Harris, Arturo O’Farrill, Benny GolsonDJ LogicKenny Burrell, and James Moody.

On Friday, Adam will bring his own group to our stage, presented in conjunction with the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT). The lineup includes the pianist Luis Perdomo, the bassist Matt Brewer, the drummer Henry Cole, and special guest trumpeter Jason Palmer.

Each of our featured FONT performers took the time to answer a set of questions from our House Manager and resident trumpeter, Russell Moore. Adam speaks:


 

How does your relationship to the trumpet inform your approach to composition?

When I play trumpet, I don’t think like a trumpet player, or even really like a musician. I put myself in the mindset of a painter, artist, or designer. They use different colors, materials, and techniques to create their work. I try to apply the same method to my playing, which as a result affects the way I compose. One of my biggest influences is Claude Monet, both for playing and writing, because he was a painter that didn’t give away with detail, and he also used uncharacteristic mixtures of colors. A good example of that is his painting, Agapanthus.

How do the physical demands of your instrument affect your daily life? 

The physical demands don’t really affect my daily life too much, other than that a long day of practice does make me feel tired, mentally more so than physically. When I’m done playing a gig, I usually just wanna play another!

Have you been mentored by trumpet players? If so, tell us about your relationship to them and what you learned.

I’ve had two main teachers. My first teacher, Jim Seeley, is the reason I’ve made it this far. He taught me how to play my horn, and he wasn’t any ordinary teacher. He had me listening to Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Clifford Brown in my first years of playing. Jim is such an amazing, deep, knowledgeable player, and a true musical father.

Nathan Warner was my teacher while I was studying at Manhattan School of Music Pre-College. He really got me to realize how bad I was at the instrument! Nathan inspired me to hit the grind, and take my trumpet playing seriously. He’s one of the best and also one of the most fun teachers I’ve ever worked with.

I also had the opportunity to take a couple of lessons with Ambrose Akinmusire. One lesson I had with him completely changed my views on improvising. The two of us traded choruses on “All the Things You Are,” and he taught me to really think about what I play, and what I’m saying through my horn.

Name some “desert island” picks of recordings featuring the trumpet.

Red Clay – Freddie Hubbard
Relaxin’ – Miles Davis
Black Codes – Wynton Marsalis
Flow – Terence Blanchard
Far Cry – Eric Dolphy with Booker Little
Christian aTunde Adjuah – Christian Scott
Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie
…too many to name!

Photo via http://douglasdetrick.com

This week at The Jazz Gallery, we’ll be presenting three concerts in conjunction with the Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT). The first performance features Douglas Detrick, an Oregon-bred trumpeter whose music occupies the nexus between jazz improvisation and chamber ensemble precision.

Douglas currently resides in New Rochelle, NY, and has been active on the NYC music scene since his arrival in 2010. In addition to performing with his flagship ensembe, AnyWhen, Douglas has also worked with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and leads or co-leads three other groups. He is on the curatorial board of FONT and is slated to perform at FONT events in Portland, Chicago, and New York with support from Chamber Music America‘s “Presenting Jazz” program. As a composer, Douglas has been commissioned by the new music outfit Beta Collide and Grammy-winning flutist Molly Barth (formerly of eighth blackbird), among others. His performance at The Jazz Gallery this Thursday will feature the world premiere of a CMA commissioned 10-movement work, The Bright and Rushing World: Suite for Five Musicians.

Each of our featured FONT performers took the time to answer a set of questions from our House Manager and resident trumpeter, Russell Moore. Douglas speaks:


 

How does your relationship to the trumpet inform your approach to composition?

I like to hear the trumpet played throughout its whole range: from top to bottom, loud to soft, and from the brightest sounds to the warmest, darkest, fuzziest whispers of which it is capable. My music has taken on a lot of these qualities, but I can’t say which came first, my sensibility for music, or my natural inclinations on the instrument. They have developed together as I try to learn to play as much of the trumpet as possible, and to create music that is interesting to me both as a composer and as a player. I’ve always been inspired by a mix of classical and jazz trumpet players, and so this has had a direct effect on my composing as well. AnyWhen Ensemble is founded on the idea of collaboration between classical and jazz musicians, where we improvise with the freedom of a jazz band, and play written music with the precision and flexibility of a chamber ensemble. So, techniques from both classical and jazz playing are part of my usual practice and have been for years.

How do the physical demands of your instrument affect your daily life? 

The trumpet can be a difficult instrument on which to maintain your level of performance, and continuing to improve is even more difficult when you add in a job and a personal life, so most of the time I practice with a mute at night and then I binge on the weekends. I’m also a composer, so I practice less when I’m on a deadline to finish a piece, and more when I actually need to learn the piece and play it for an audience. So, there is a bit of a cycle in my relationship to the instrument: not quite “boom and bust” but more of a functional, practical relationship where I prepare specifically to perform my compositions. I prepare specifically for each piece that I write, and I like to write pieces that are all very different, so the preparation can also be quite different. For instance, the new piece we will be premiering at The Jazz Gallery on September 13th is a 10-movement suite composed all on a single theme. Since I improvised this theme six months ago, it has been a part of my practice, so that when I perform the piece, the written parts are completely integrated with my improvisation. But, endurance and regular technique issues are also a concern, so my practice has focused on preparation for those challenges as well.

Because I focus nearly exclusively on my own music, and much of it is very involved on the writing side, I’m not quite the versatile, do-everything player that some trumpeters are and that I sometimes wish I could be. That has been hard to accept, but I’m proud to say that when an audience hears me play with AnyWhen Ensemble, they will hear not just the same old sounds that lay well under my fingers in a slightly different context, but a unique experience which I’ve devoted a great deal of time to constructing, in both from the written and improvised parts. The new piece contains a lot of new language for me as a player, and for all the members of my group, so the audience will experience a group of musicians that have been confronted with some new challenges, and have worked to solve them both as individuals and as a group in rehearsal. All the music for this group is conceived as an audible process of discovery, for each player and for all of us collectively as an ensemble.

Have you been mentored by trumpet players? If so, tell us about your relationship to them and what you learned.

Brian McWhorter was my trumpet teacher at the University of Oregon, where I did a Master’s in Jazz Composition. Studying with him turned out to be one of the most important periods of my life. His teaching method really worked for me, and his aesthetic concept really helped me to open up my perception of my own work and to focus my efforts on what I really wanted to do, not what anyone else expected of me, or what a trumpet player or a jazz musician or a composer is supposed to do. He also found a way to help me finally figure out the fundamental issues of trumpet playing which has helped me to really build my own sound on a more solid physical foundation. His new-music chamber ensemble Beta Collide is a really inspirational model for what the future, in both jazz and classical music, can be like.

Nate Wooley has also been incredibly important to me as a friend and as a musical mentor. Though most of my music is very different from Nate’s, I’m still inspired by his commitment to his own music, and the sheer force of his vision that comes across every time he plays.

Name some “desert island” picks of recordings featuring the trumpet.

Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder, Norwegian composer Trygve Seim’s Sangam featuring Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, Arve Henriksen’s Chiaroscuro, Miles Davis’ Complete 1964 Concert: My Funny Valentine and Four and More, Nate Wooley’s Seven Storey Mountain, Kenny Wheeler’s Angel Song.

Photo by Scott Friedlander

The late comic book legend and avant music enthusiast Harvey Pekar proclaims Joe Fiedler as “among the most impressive trombonists to emerge in the past couple of decades” (via Signal to Noise). Time Out New York recognizes the diversity of settings in which Joe receives the first call, heralding him as “an MVP in configurations that range from salsa bands to the jazz avant-garde.” Practitioners of his instrument have also taken notice; Stan Pethel of the International Trombone Association Journal declares, “You will be hard pressed to find more adventurous and imaginative use of the trombone as an instrument of musical expression.”

A veteran of the New York music scene, Joe has worked with everyone from Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor to Wyclef Jean and Jennifer Lopez, from Andrew Hill and Lee Konitz to Celia Cruz and Eddie Palmieri. He has contributed to over one hundred recordings and countless performances, and is a regular member of large groups led by Charles Tolliver, Miguel Zenón, David Weiss, and Jason Lindner, among others.

Joe’s newest album, Big Sackbut (Yellow Sound), is the eponymous debut by a quartet of the same name, which also features the trombonists Ryan Keberle and Josh Roseman, and the tubist Marcus Rojas. The project was inspired by Joe’s first experience hearing the World Saxophone Quartet live, and resolving to one day create a lower-register equivalent. Joe speaks:

The drive and energy that they put forth, all without a traditional rhythm section was quite compelling. In addition, the tunes had a wonderful balance of ‘loose-tightness’ or ‘tight-looseness’ that totally sucked me right in. And this is to say nothing of the four powerhouse solo voices. I immediately thought of how I might incorporate my image of all of those elements into a trombone driven project of my own. Those ideas rattled around in my head for more than 20 years. Then a little more than two years ago, while on a gig with Ryan Keberle, I told him of my intention to finally follow through and put it all together. As it turned out he was curating a series for the New York Slide Workers Union and offered me a gig. It was just the little nudge that I needed to bring the project to life, and here it is!

We look forward to hosting the album release party for Big Sackbut this Saturday, September 8th. This event has been selected by Time Out New York as a Critics’ Pick, and included on their itinerary for a “Perfect Saturday.”

Stream a sneak peak from the record below:

[audio http://www.jazzspeaks.org/wp-content/MEDIA/JoeFiedler’sBigSackbut_MixedBag.mp3]