It’s been thirteen years since the trombonist Ryan Keberle first arrived in New York. In that time, he has performed with a staggering and diverse roster of iconic artists ranging from Wynton Marsalis, Darcy James Argue, and Pedro Giraudo, to Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, the Saturday Night Live Band, and Sufjan Stevens. Maria Schneider, another prominent employer, remarks, “Ryan Keberle is one of the truly great young musicians coming up and turning heads. He has much to say as both a player and writer…This is an individual whose career I will take enormous pleasure in watching bloom.”
The son of music educators, Ryan was born and raised in Spokane, WA. Gravitating first towards classical violin, he eventually took up piano before finally settling on the trombone. Eventually, the trombonist packed his bags and set out across the country for New York, where he completed coursework at the Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. While maintaining a heavy performing schedule, Ryan formed his Double Quartet, described as a “malleable, brass-heavy octet that showcased his deft composing and arranging skills.” The group received two recordings, both well-received: The New York Times described the first release as “auspicious…featuring his bright arrangements,” and both JazzTimes and Stereophile proclaimed that the second was one of the best of the year.
This Thursday, Ryan will return to our stage as a leader (he just finished two nights with Darcy James Argue, who held court at The Gallery this past weekend) to present the album release concert for his new band, Catharsis. The lineup, featuring the trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, the bassist Jorge Roeder, and the drummer Eric Doob, does not include a chordal instrument. Ryan explains, “I’m very much piano-centric when it comes to arranging and composing. Catharsis pushed me out of that box and forced me to come at the music from more of a contrapuntal perspective. It’s really incredible how versatile these guys are; it was a meeting of the minds from the start.” However, the results transcend the means, which Ryan views simply as a vehicle to achieve an emotional connection with the audience:
When you boil down everything else that you love about music, it really comes down to the emotional connection that people make with it. Good popular music has this inherent emotional connection because of the history of the blues in our musical society. With all the social media and technology these days, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to find that interaction on a personal level. So I’ve been trying to capture that more consciously in my own music.
Watch a video of Ryan performing “Big Kick Blues” with Catharsis at Sycamore earlier this year.