A 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 Golson, DJ Logic, Kenny 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!