NYC trumpeters don't miss this month long trumpet festival

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by Spitty, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. Spitty

    Spitty Pianissimo User

    Oct 3, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell and Jon Nelson Present
    The 3rd Annual Festival Of New Trumpet Music – August 2-27

    FONT Music 2005:
    *FONT Music: For Lester Bowie, August 2-7, The Jazz Standard*
    *3rd Festival of New Trumpet Music presents: Other Music, August 12-15, Tonic*
    *3rd Festival of New Trumpet Music presents: New Bands, August 16-20, Spark*
    *SEMINAR Week-A Week of Masterclasses and Concerts, August 22-27, The Yamaha Artist Services Center*

    The third annual festival will feature artists such as Bill Dixon, Mark Gould, Ray Vega, Steven Bernstein, Randy Sandke, Roy Campbell, Avishai Cohen, Corey Wilkes and many, many others!

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Co-curators Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell and Jon Nelson proudly announce the 2005 schedule of events for the Festival of New Trumpet Music - also known as FONT Music, taking place August 2-27! This year the Festival will once again showcase a plethora of styles of trumpet music performed by more than forty-five of the most accomplished and cutting-edge trumpeters in the world.

    FONT Music kicks off its month long program with “FONT Music: For Lester Bowie†– August 2-7, featuring legendary trumpeter Bill Dixon opening up the Festival and this very special week at The Jazz Standard. From August 12-15, FONT Music presents “Other Music†at Tonic , featuring the Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band, Roy Campbell, Jr., Shane Endsley and Kneebody, Dave Douglas and Keystone, Israeli trumpeter Avishai Cohen, Ray Vega and others. The third exciting week of FONT Music 2005 will take place at Spark with “New Bands,†featuring many of the most outstanding young trumpeters on the scene today, including Matt Lavell and Eye-Contact, Peck Allmond, Keyon Harrold, Diego Urcola, Nabate Isles, Jesse Neuman and the Bruce Lee Band, Jonathan Finlayson, Matt Shulman Trio, Greg Kelley, Nate Wooley and Peter Evans.

    For the final week, FONT Music presents “Seminar Week†(August 22-27) at The Yamaha Artist Services Center (689 Fifth
    Avenue), featuring masterclasses and concerts from the likes of Lew Soloff, the Manhattan Brass Quintet, Dave Douglas, Mark
    Gould (former principal trumpeter for the Metropolitan Opera), Jeremy Pelt (premiering a new work by Max Siegel with an
    ensemble of brass and percussion) and The Meridian Arts Ensemble, featuring FONT Music co-curator Jon Nelson, performing
    commissioned works by Sanford, Sharp, Didkovsky, and Zappa – and announcing the release of their new album, “Brink.â€

    “Seminar Week,†and the third annual Festival of New Trumpet Music closes on August 27 with the legendary conductor and cornetist Butch Morris leading a legion of trumpeters through a uniquely enthralling piece, concluding FONT Music 2005 with an all-out celebration of the instrument, and a display of the myriad styles of playing that make FONT Music one of the most musically diverse and fascinating festivals in the world.

    The Festival of New Trumpet Music, Schedule of Events – August 2-27:

    FONT Music: For Lester Bowie, at The Jazz Standard-August 2 - 7
    116 East 27th street. For more information and reservations call 212 576 2232 or click on
    August 2
    7:30 PM Bill Dixon Trio – The Festival of New Trumpet Music is proud to present Bill Dixon for the second year (Dixon closed the 2004 Festival with a riveting performance at The Baha'i Center). Dixon’s incredible bio includes being the organizer and producer of the October Revolution in Jazz in New York City in 1964, architect of the Jazz Composers' Guild (for the performance of contemporary American Black Music) in New York City in 1964, and founder of the Black Music Division of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont in 1973. Mr. Dixon was Professor of Music at Bennington from 1968-96. This performance provides a rare opportunity to hear Bill Dixon in New York City!
    9:30 PM Herb Robertson and Bromelain – Herb Robertson-trumpet, cornet, trumpenet, flugelhorn, slide trumpet, toys, etc., Okkyung Lee-cello, Gerry Hemingway-drums, percussion. Herb Robertson has been one of the most active musicians on the scene for several years. Herb plays the horns in a lyrical and colorful way, often employing a range of mutes to make his sound more personal and unique. He met Gerry Hemingway 27 years ago. This lasting musical friendship leads to all kind of innovations incorporated into the music at least by those who love the eclectic approach. Okkyung Lee met Robertson just two years ago. Very quickly Herb was captivated by the theatrical way that she plays her cello combining the classical style with her own improvising. This trio refuses to play into stereotypes.

    August 3
    7:30 PM Graham Haynes Electric Church – Trumpeter/cornetist Graham Haynes, so of the legendary Roy Haynes, brings his band Electric Church to Festival of New Trumpet Music in celebration of Lester Bowie.
    9:30 PM Cuong Vu Trio – Cuong Vu-trumpet, Stomu Takeishi-bass, Ted Poor-drums. Presenting music from Cuong's latest recording, "It's Mostly Residual," available only through ArtistShare at the trumpeter’s website. Cuong Vu is currently on tour with The Pat Metheny Group.

    August 4
    7:30 PM Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy – Dave Douglas-trumpet, Clark Gayton-trombone, Marcus Rojas-tuba, Gene Lake-drums, and special guests. Brass Ecstasy will be playing compositions by Dave Douglas, Otis Redding, Martha Wainwright, John Mayer, Missy Elliott, and old brass band tunes.
    9:30 PM Corey Wilkes Abstrakt Pulse – After studies at Berklee, Chicago trumpeter Corey Wilkes once lived in Louisiana in an effort to absorb the very essence of jazz. Since then, Corey has worked with the Jazz Institute of Chicago as an Artist in Residence for the Jazz Links Program. He has also traveled the world, sharing the stage with numerous jazz heavyweights including Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Terence Blanchard, Clark Terry, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Belgrave, Roy Hargrove, James Moody and Kurt Elling. Corey is currently traveling the world with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, filling in for the late, great Lester Bowie in this world-renowned group of jazz legends. His soulful, sophisticated sound can be found on Roscoe Mitchell’s recently released CD “Song for My Sister.â€

    August 5
    7:30 PM Bobby Bradford’s Tete-a-Tete – featuring: Marty Ehrlich-reeds, Mark Dresser-bass and Ken Filiano-bass. One of the best trumpeters to emerge from the avant-garde, Bradford moved to Los Angeles in 1953 where he met and played with Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. Bradford spent time in the military and in school before becoming Don Cherry's replacement with the Ornette Coleman Quartet in 1961-1963, a period when the group unfortunately rarely worked. In Los Angeles, Bradford began a longtime association with clarinetist John Carter. Since the clarinetist's death, Bradford frequently led a quintet (the Mo'tet) featuring Vinny Golia and occasionally Marty Ehrlich. In the '90s, he also performed with the David Murray Octet and Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra.
    9:30 PM Dennis Gonzalez – Dallas trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez has spent twenty plus years at the forefront of the experimental jazz scene, playing with many of jazz’s luminaries, including Cecil Taylor, Roy Hargrove, Oliver Lake, Charles Brackeen, and many others. His group Yells at Eels is made up of Gonzalez and his sons, Aaron and Stefan, on drums.
    11:30 PM Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber featuring Flip Barnes – Renen Akan, Thom Loubet-guitar, Jared Nickerson, Jason di Matteo-bass, Avrem Fefer-bass clarinet, Lewis “Flip†Barnes-trumpet, Matana Roberts-alto saxophone, Petra Radu-Scafaru-tenor saxophone, Jesse Dulman-tuba, Bruce Mack-keyboards, Qasim Naqvi, Trevor Holder-drums, Justice Dilla-x, Lisala Beatty, Mikel Banks, Jermiah Griffin-voices, Satch Hoyt-flute/percussion, Julia Kent-cello, Omega Moon, D-MAXX-lyricists, Greg Tate-conductor. Lester Bowie once said, 'the tradition is innovation'. Burnt Sugar aims to be the living embodiment of that idea at The Festival of New Trumpet Music.

    August 6
    7:30 PM Baikida Carroll Quartet – Baikida Carroll-trumpet, Tim Berne-alto saxophone, Michael Formanek-bass, Tom Rainey-drums. Baikida Carroll is a highly pivotal figure in the music world as both a composer and trumpeter. He has written scores that have distinguished theater, dance, television, film, and concerts for over three decades. His music has been heard at major forums throughout the world including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the Walker Arts Center, The New York Shakespeare Festival, the McCarter Theatre, the Chicago Museum of Art, The Mark Taper Forum, Le Grande Palais (Paris), the Belgium Opera, the Berlin Opera, the Market Theater (Johannesburg, South Africa), as well as a multitude of jazz festivals including JVC, Heritage, Montreux, Kool and Newport. His latest recording is “Marionettes On A High Wire,†on Omnitone.
    9:30 PM Roy Campbell & Tazz – Roy Campbell-trumpet, Andrew Bemkey, Chris Sullivan, and Michael Thompson Drummer Billy Higgins nicknamed Campbell “Tazz†and for good reason. Roy Campbell, Jr. has long maintained several stellar working units. Tazz is a reflection of various musical styles, languages, backgrounds, and sources, with a mission to break down cultural barriers through a sound that is at once eclectic, progressive, polished, and funky; in a word, Tazz is hot!
    11:30 PM Steven Bernstein & Spanish Fly – A ubiquitous figure in New York's downtown jazz scene, Bernstein has been the musical director/leader for John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, the Kansas City Band (from Robert Altman's film Kansas City), Jim Thirwell's Steriod Maximus, and Hal Wilner's Leonard Cohen and Doc Pomus Projects. Bernstein also leads several other active bands, including Sex Mob, Diaspora Blues (with the Sam Rivers trio) and Diaspora Soul. He has performed with Roswell Rudd, Don Byron, and Medeski Martin & Wood, as well as artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Lou Reed, Linda Ronstadt, Sting and Courtney Love.

    August 7
    7:30 PM Randy Sandke and the Metatonal Band – Randy Sandke-trumpet, Scott Robinson-saxes, Ted Rosenthal-piano, Steve LaSpina-bass, John Riley-drums. Sandke and company will be performing "The Mystic Trumpeter," which is a six-part suite from the album of the same name that was released this past May.
    9:30 PM Mac Gollehon's Smokin Section, a tribute to Lester Bowie – Mac Gollehon-trumpet, trombone, double-bell euphonium, misc. brass, Adam Snyder-drums, Guillermo Edgehill-bass, Alex Kolpaki-woodwinds.

    3rd Festival of New Trumpet Music presents: Other Music, at Tonic-August 12-15
    107 Norfolk St., between Delancey & Rivington,, tel 212 358 7501
    August 12
    8:00 PM Ted Daniel and IBMC – In 1998, Daniel conceived the band to reflect the drum and bugle corp and brass bands he heard in his youth. The International Brass and Membrane Corporation features violinist Charles Burham, percussionist Newman Taylor Baker and tuba player Joe Daley, one of the finest tuba players on the scene, playing with all the major improvisers of the day. All of the band's material are original compositions written by Ted Daniel, ranging from field hollers/blues to contemporary music. The music will be performed as a medley with interludes inserted between compositions as the music moves from one experience to another.
    9:30 PM Ahmed Abdullah – Ahmed Abdullah is a trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, organizer and bandleader who has led his own ensembles since 1972. For the last thirty plus years, Ahmed has spent his time performing with the Sun Ra Arkestra (he's on twenty-five recordings with Sun Ra), Ed Blackwell, Arthur Blythe, Billy Bang, Ms. Dianne McIntyre, Sam Rivers, Hamiet Bluiett, Rashid Ali and his own groups. In the last year Abdullah's CD releases have included “NAM Live at the Vision Festival,†“AA's Dispersions of the Spirit of Ra,†“Traveling the Spaceways,†and “Ebonic Tones†and “Tara's Song,†all of which can be purchased from this website.
    11:00 PM Roy Campbell, Jr. – Roy Campbell appearing with the Pyramid Trio featuring Mike Thompson on drums and William Parker on bass.

    August 13
    8:00 PM Dave Douglas Keystone – Dave Douglas-trumpet, Jamie Saft-Wurlitzer, Gene Lake-drums, Marcus Strickland-saxophones, Brad Jones-bass, DJ Olive-turntables. On September 20, 2005 Greenleaf Music will release Douglas’ new studio recording, Keystone, the trumpeter’s musical encomium to the unjustly maligned silent film star, Roscoe Arbuckle. Douglas, a recent recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, and Keystone will launch an international multi-media tour on October 1, 2005 at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, NY.
    9:30 PM Shane Endsley and Kneebody –, Adam Benjamin-keyboards, Shane Endsley-trumpet, Kaveh Rastegar-bass, Ben Wendel-saxophone, Nate Wood-drums, with special guest Jonathan Finlayson. To see Kneebody play live is a unique experience, featuring a huge variety of sounds and textures.
    11:00 PM Jonathan Finlayson – “Common Thread†featuring Jonathan Finlayson-trumpet, Shane Endsley-trumpet, Tim Albright-trombone, Tyshawn Sorey-drums, Thomas Morgan-bass.

    August 14
    8:00 PM Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band – Belle Birchfield-baritone truba, Morgan Clark-baritone truba, Marian Eines-alto saxophone, vocals, Sarah Ferholt-truba, Catherine Foster-clarinet, alto saxophone, truba, vocals, Michael Ginsburg-truba, Tamberlaine Harris-truba, Emerson Hawley-bass truba, Jerry Kisslinger-snare drum, tupan, Seido Salifoski-snare drum, tupan, Matthew Smith-baritone truba
    9:30 PM Avishai Cohen – Israeli trumpeter/composer Avishai Cohen is a member of the groundbreaking band Third World Love,, which also features bassist Omer Avital and drummer Daniel Freedman. Cohen’s first album, “The Trumpet Player†was featured by Ben Ratliff in The New York Times, Sunday edition Playlist. Cohen has racked up experience performing with James Moody, Dave Liebman, Jimmy Heath, George Garzone, Bobby Watson, Clark Terry, Donald Harrison, Roy Hargrove and many many others.

    August 15
    8:00 PM Ray Vega Latin Jazz Quintet –, Ray Vega-trumpet, percussion, Chembo Corniel-Congas, Chris Haney-acoustic bass, Peter Retzlaff-drums, James Shipp-vibes. The RVJQ will be performing a set of new music including the New York Premiere of "Raices: 3 Movements for Latin Jazz Ensemble." This piece was commissioned by the City Folk Organization (Dayton, Ohio) as part of its Jazz Residency program.
    9:30 PM Jacob Wick & THROE – Jacob Wick-trumpet, Rob Mosher-saxes, Todd Neufeld-guitar, Mike Lavall-electric bass, Andrew Greenwald-drums. Trumpeter Jacob Wick is beginning to make his presence known in the New York and Chicago jazz and creative music scenes. Wick has shared the stage with such luminaries as George Lewis and Mark Turner.

    3rd Festival of New Trumpet Music presents: New Bands, at Spark-August 16-20
    161 W. 22nd Street
    August 16
    8:00 PM Matt Lavelle & Eye-Contact – Matt Lavell-trumpet, Ryan Sawyer-drums, Matt Heyner-bass
    9:00 PM Jesse Selengut – Selengut is a Brooklyn-based trumpeter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. He has had success as a bandleader, film scorer, producer and sideman on over a dozen albums, most noticeably, Huge Voodoo's Affordable Magic ('03). Recently, he has been splitting time between the Williamsburg Jazz Festival (which he founded) and Noir, a quartet blending electronica and jazz.
    10:00 PM Peck Allmond – Trumpeter/saxophonist/flutist Peck Allmond is best known for his work with Me'Shell NdegeOcello, Oliver Lake, Peter Apfelbaum and Don Cherry. His new group Kalimba Kollective features the leader on trumpet and assorted other instruments, featuring his unique approach to the kalimba, aka thumb piano. The group also features drumming great Kenny Wollesen on vibes, drums and bass kalimba; innovator Dana Leong on cello and trombone; master Haitian Vodou drummers Bonga and Tiga Jean-Baptiste (father and son) on Haitian drums, percussion, kalimba and mbira; and keyboard virtuoso Gary Fisher. The group is currently celebrating the release of the new disc "Kalimba Collage."

    August 17
    8:00 PM Keyon Harrold
    9:00 PM Diego Urcola Quartet – The Grammy nominated trumpeter will be performing music from his newest recording “Soundances.â€
    10:00 PM Nabate Isles – A mix of diverse musical styles with melodic clarity and rhythmic intensity.

    August 19
    8:00 PM Jesse Neuman and the Bruce Lee Band – Jesse Neuman-acoustic and processed trumpet/laptop, Oscar Rodriguez-guitar/bass guitar/loops, Aaron Jennings-guitar/electronics/laptop, Liam Hurley-drums. Bruce Lee is an improvising quartet formed over four years ago between friends and enemies, dedicated to balancing the most fearsome and fragile sounds and rhythms. Their arrangements develop music by Rickie Lee Jones, Mos Def, Rachmanninoff, Jeff Buckley and Bjork. As improvisers, they use tones and technology to gradually sculpt silence and vibrations into complete musical statements.
    9:00 PM Sarah Wilson – Sarah Wilson’s music is an “improviser’s dream,†says internationally acclaimed composer/pianist Myra Melford. Her music is “rich with suggestion and possibility: ebullient and tender, poignant and humorous.†Wilson’s compositions reflect a deep understanding of the connection between images and motion. Grammy Award nominee Dave Douglas, composer/trumpet player, commends Wilson’s development of a “new music,†which evokes the theatrical. Her techniques of “orchestrating tightly wound counterpoint†with a “fresh, unexpected approach to rhythm†summon the imagination.
    10:00 PM Matt Shulman Trio – Matt Shulman will be appearing in support of his new recording “So It Goes,†currently available at the trumpeter’s website. Hailed by The New York Times as “a new voice from jazz’s emerging generation,†by fans as “Miles Davis meets Radiohead . . . a Chet Baker for the new millennium . . .," and by Downbeat Magazine as "Zen-like‚" Shulman combines intimate vocals with virtuosic trumpet playing and sensual electronics to create his signature sound.

    August 20
    8:00 PM Greg Kelley – Greg Kelley has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Argentina at numerous festivals, in clubs, outdoors, in living rooms, in a bank, and at least once on a vibrating floor. He has collaborated with a number of musicians throughout the globe performing experimental music, free jazz and noise, releasing a number of recordings in the process. He constantly seeks to push the boundaries of the trumpet and of 'music'.
    9:00 PM Nate Wooley – Wooley grew up in a Finnish-American fishing village in Oregon. He has spent the rest of his life trying musically to find a way back to the peace and quiet of that time by whole-heartedly embracing the space between complete absorption in sound and relative absence of the same. He began playing trumpet professionally at age 13 with his father, and after studying he moved to Colorado where he studied more with Ron Miles, Art Lande, Fred Hess, and improvisation master Jack Wright. His tenure with Jack began to break Nate out of self-imposed molds and into the sound world that he has embraced as his own.
    10:00 PM Peter Evans – An improviser who plays in a bold, extroverted manner. One of the new trumpeters expanding the music with his singular, highly unique playing.

    FONT Music Presents SEMINAR Week-A Week of Masterclasses and Concerts,
    At The Yamaha Artist Services Center-August 22-27
    Masterclasses begin at 1:00 PM; concerts begin at 8:00 PM. Single masterclass or concert - $10, masterclass & concert - $15
    689 Fifth Avenue, New York City

    Our mission to bring forth a varied and comprehensive educational opportunity is reflected by those who will teach and perform during the "Seminar Week' portion of the Festival of New Trumpet Music.

    August 22
    Masterclass: Lew Soloff – The Aesthetic of Music, “an improvised masterclass.â€
    Concert: Manhattan Brass Quintet, The new MBQ with Lew Soloff, Wayne DuMaine, Ann Ellsworth,
    Mike Seltzer, and Dave Taylor play music by David Dzubay, Derek Bermel, Wynton Marsalis.
    Ivan Guck, Retro-futurist post-jazz with Peter Evans, Mary Halvorson, Moppa Elliott, Kevin Shea.

    August 23
    Masterclass: Dave Douglas – The New Trumpet in Context, “a look at various strategies for expanding the role and vocabulary of the trumpet in new music.â€
    Concert: Dave Douglas, with his latest touring project Nomad, performing works from “Mountain Passages.â€
    New York Trumpet Ensemble, Mark Gould (Director), Peter Evans, C.J. Camereri, David Taylor, Moppa Elliot

    August 24
    Masterclass: Kevin Cobb – Solo Repertoire Today, “preparation and performance of modern trumpet musicâ€
    Concert: Graham Ashton Brass Ensemble with Mark Gould, Jeff Lang, and Jim Pugh, performing music by
    Pugh, Schnyder, Ashton, Edwards, Davies, Webern
    Jeremy Pelt, premiere of a new work by Max Siegel, with Jeremy Pelt, and an ensemble of brass and percussion

    August 25
    Masterclass: Kevin Cobb and Brian McWhorter, Integral Trumpet Seminar, “The Form of Practiceâ€
    Concert: Eric Biondo, Small / Medium for electric trumpet / drums with Chris Vatalaro
    Pink Baby Monster, Mark Gould, Brian McWhorter, Kyle Sanna. Gould’s funk/ rap/ jazz/ opera/ rock/ political, genre-busting aggregation.

    August 26
    Concert: Bliggidy Blam, featuring Brian McWhorter and Nate Wooley, announcing the release of their new album “formal i.â€
    Meridian Arts Ensemble, featuring Jon Nelson, performing commissioned works by Sanford, Sharp, Didkovsky, and Zappa – announcing the release of their new album “Brink.â€

    August 27 – final day of FONT Music 2005!
    Concert: Butch Morris – Conduction, jazz legend Butch Morris leads a legion of trumpets through a uniquely enthralling new piece in the concluding FONT event!

    The Festival of New Trumpet Music was founded in 2003 by two of the most innovative and acclaimed trumpeter/composers active today: Roy Campbell, Jr. and Dave Douglas (2005 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient). Trumpeter, educator Jon Nelson joined in 2004 to curate post-classical and other related repertoire. The curators seek to promote the creation of avant-garde, adventurous, and experimental music, featuring an international lineup of trumpeters representing the worlds of jazz, new music, free form, hip-hop, rock, improvisational, classical, and more. This climate of autonomy and inclusion results in a number of extraordinary performances, often uniting different communities in a way that is all too rare in contemporary music.

    Co-curator on co-founder Dave Douglas on FONT Music: The Festival of New Trumpet Music is, for me, a chance to hear many facets of contemporary trumpet music, regardless of style. This festival disproves the idea that there are only two kinds of trumpet players, inside and outside. In fact, this festival demonstrates the explosion of unique visions that currently coexist. FONT Music encourages each trumpeter to explore their own point of view and to be truly 'themselves.'

    In this way we feel that this festival is a celebration of the many ways forward in music. From a week-long celebration of Lester Bowie at the Jazz Standard, to an indescribable series at Tonic, to a week of new and emerging trumpeter/bandleaders at Spark, to a week of seminars and concert music at Yamaha, culminating in a one-of-a-kind final concert with conductor and cornetist Butch Morris leading improvisations by an ensemble of many of today's most adventurous, engaging and controversial trumpeters.

    For more information about FONT Music and its curators please visit and the following websites:

    To schedule an interview with either of the curators, Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell and Jon Nelson, and to receive a press kit on FONT Music 2005, please contact Jason Byrne at Red Cat Publicity, tel 718 921 1330, email [email protected]

    # # #
  2. Spitty

    Spitty Pianissimo User

    Oct 3, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    hi folks,

    the full schedule and information for the 2005 Festival of New Trumpet Music is now up on line at

    Hope to meet some of you at the gigs.

  3. Spitty

    Spitty Pianissimo User

    Oct 3, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY

    Trumpet festival sound the horns
    The Festival of New Trumpet Music challenges the belief that the instrument belongs only in certain niches of the jazz world

    Steve Dollar is a freelance writer.

    August 7, 2005

    If someone only thought of the trumpet in terms of Dixieland parades or Miles Davis slinking in silhouette, they'd be in for a lot of surprises this month. This most fundamental of jazz instruments is not merely a sidekick to the saxophone. It's still pivotal to the music's evolution, a century after Buddy Bolden began blowing cornet - the trumpet's first cousin - in the whorehouses of New Orleans.

    To prove it, a trio of trumpeters has put together a 26-day series of concerts showing off the full range of the horn. They've rounded up some of the city's most distinctive players, and looked far beyond traditional repertoires. The Festival of New Trumpet Music, which runs through Aug. 27 at a variety of Manhattan venues, argues for the vibrancy of the brass.

    "If we go back to Louis Armstrong, the trumpet was the lead instrument," said Roy Campbell Jr., who founded the event two summers ago with fellow jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas. They have since invited a third colleague, Jon Nelson of the chamber group Meridian Arts Ensemble, to help them curate the festival. "I think the trumpet is once again coming more into the vanguard."

    Armstrong invented jazz as we know it when he first uncorked improvisations in a group context in the mid-1920s. Thirty years later, Davis codified the horn as a symbol of his own detached cool and mercurial intellect. Since the 1980s, Wynton Marsalis has been the world's best-known trumpeter, thanks partly to his institutional platform at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

    The point of FONT, as its organizers call the festival, is to reject such tidy summaries. Rather than dwell on the history of the instrument, it offers perspectives on its future. Though many of the artists on the roster may be familiar to New York jazz fans, more than half of the fest's 48 performances feature emerging players. Styles are all over the map.

    Much is recognizably jazz, both arranged and improvised, acoustic and electronic. But there are intriguing deviations. Pre-jazz traditions are evoked, for instance, by the Balkan brass of the band Zlatne Uste. Post-jazz directions are suggested by an evening of so-called "lower-case music," in which the trumpet is manipulated to create uncharacteristic sounds.

    "I got sick of hearing that there's only two kinds of trumpet players," said Douglas, a prolific composer and bandleader who often sees his name juxtaposed with that of Marsalis, as if they were the flip sides of a coin. "You know, outside and inside," he added, using jazz lingo for musicians who slip free of standard form, or remain steadfast about familiar musical structure. "Each trumpeter we present is a completely unique world unto themselves. This is the time to expose how broad this music is, and break down some of the boxes people put it into."

    Silent film inspiration

    Douglas, who leads several bands, is a good example of such expansiveness. His festival appearances include the debut of his latest project, Keystone, which plays themes inspired by silent-film star Fatty Arbuckle (with a DJ on board), and a performance by Nomad, which is more like a chamber group.

    Campbell is less overtly conceptual, but boasts a thrilling range. He's as adept at soulful simmer as he is at heady bluster. Both factor into his Pyramid Trio. Campbell will showcase the group, which loosely weaves African and Asian themes through his free-floating solos. The music draws at once on gutsy hard-bop and the more ethereal legacy of the late Don Cherry, a globe-trotting fusionist.

    "People have their set impressions about the trumpet," said co-curator Nelson, whose ensemble commissions new pieces for its chamber concerts, and has adapted the music of Frank Zappa for brass. "It's either part of an orchestra, or it's played by one or two famous jazz musicians who are doing traditional music. But people are doing very creative things."

    The festival has been resourceful with its limited funding, boosted this year with support from the American Music Center. The grassroots enterprise began in 2003 as a monthlong series at Tonic, a Lower East Side club that will host performances Friday through Aug. 15. Each year the festival grows more ambitious. Spark, a new black-box space on West 22nd Street, will present shows Aug. 16-20. And Yamaha, the Japanese corporation that manufactures musical instruments and audio equipment, has turned over its Artist Services Center in midtown for a closing week of concerts and seminars focusing on so-called "post-classical" chamber-music hybrids.

    FONT even found a mainstream platform this year. The Jazz Standard, a blue-chip club owned by celebrity chef Danny Meyer, downstairs from his Blue Smoke restaurant, has been staging the opening run of concerts, which concludes tonight. Those shows, dedicated to charismatic trumpeter Lester Bowie, who died in 1999, were no less idiosyncratic than the rest. They spotlighted trumpeters' trumpeters, forceful and such influential players as Herb Robertson and West Coast legend Bobby Bradford.

    Most performances, however, will not benefit from marquee billing. "A lot of people are playing for the door [receipts]," Nelson said, "which means they will end up playing for nothing. But the draw is that they have a forum where they can play whatever they want. There are no restrictions."

    Though it does a good job of showing off some of the leading talents who work just outside the jazz mainstream, the festival is not particularly bound to the avant-garde canon. "We want to blur all the lines," Nelson said. "It's easy for people to put things in a box. When events like this are institutional, it's the death of something that could have had some interesting possibilities."

    "Challenge the aesthetics"

    He cited an Aug. 20 triple bill at Spark as an example of that philosophy. The show will feature experimental players Greg Kelley, Nate Wooley and Peter Evans. "Evans makes sounds on the trumpet that are unbelievable," Nelson said. "When I heard Nate play, it sounded like electric guitar, and he wasn't using a processor. This is where we have hope, with people who challenge the aesthetics of music. When they get up and play, it's very powerful."

    Another example is a concert that juxtaposes entire universes of trumpet concepts. An Aug. 24 billing will showcase Jeremy Pelt, a gifted 28-year-old with a classic ballad style, and an ensemble led by Graham Ashton, a middle-aged Briton whose group boasts several leading symphonic brass players. "We try to pair up things you would not likely see on the same program," Nelson said. "We want to take categorization out of the whole presentation. If you want to have any kind of future at all, this is how you do it."


    August 6, 2005 Saturday

    Memories as Bold as Brass


    The Festival of New Trumpet Music has become a contender among New York's jazz-concert series. "Jazz" is my shorthand, actually; a piece of official Web literature defines the festival's purview as "jazz, improvised, post-classical, electronic and other undefinable worlds of current musical culture." But jazz, in the widest sense, is basically at the center.

    With no corporate sponsor and hardly any advertising, the festival operates guerrilla style, aiming partly at trumpeters but largely for anyone. It consists of concerts and master classes, spread through August in four clubs and performance spaces; it is run by the trumpeters Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell Jr. and Jon Nelson.

    On Thursday night at the Jazz Standard, where the festival has a home base through tomorrow, Mr. Douglas played with one of his new bands, Brass Ecstasy. The quintet's name intentionally recalls Lester Bowie's old band Brass Fantasy: the concerts at the club are all dedicated to Bowie, a founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who died in 1999. Bowie always kept his options open, bringing in pop and classical modernism when he wanted to, and the festival's organizers see him as a model soldier in the war against aesthetic reductionism.

    But they're not missing his humor. Brass Ecstasy had Mr. Douglas on trumpet, Ray Anderson and Clark Gayton on trombones, Marcus Rojas on tuba and Gene Lake on drums. At the climax of the set, the other musicians quieted down to watch Mr. Rojas stretch out during a version of Otis Redding's "Mr. Pitiful." He rode on the rhythm and used some of Bowie's old brass language, kissing and harrumphing and groaning through the mouthpiece. Finally he couldn't help cracking up.

    It was benign, physical, groove-heavy comedy, much more floppy than Mr. Douglas's usual watertight ideal. And its emphasis was on repertory and tributes. The band also covered a medley of three Missy Elliott songs ("I'm Not Perfect," "Can't Stop" and "We Run This," with its interpolation of the brass line from the old hip-hop anthem "Apache"), a Hank Williams tune and some originals written in remembrance of Bowie and Steve Lacy.

    Following Brass Ecstasy was a band led by the trumpeter Corey Wilkes, who has replaced Bowie in the Art Ensemble of Chicago. A quartet of young Chicagoans called Abstrakt Pulse, with a more common trumpet-tenor saxophone-bass-drums lineup, it worked through long jazz grooves and funk bounces, working in bits of reggae and Afrobeat here and there, including a version of Fela Kuti's "Water No Get Enemy." (There's a Lester Bowie connection there, too: Bowie once traveled to Nigeria and recorded a few albums with Fela.) It was back-to-the-70's stuff, but Mr. Wilkes is a battling musician, and charismatic; for a stretch he put two trumpets to his lips and soloed through both at once, making glancing references to old bebop tunes.

    The Festival of New Trumpet Music continues through tomorrow night at the Jazz Standard, 117 East 27th Street, Manhattan; (212) 576-2232. Next week it moves to Tonic, 107 Norfolk Street, Lower East Side; (212) 358-7501. Full schedule:
  4. BPinard

    BPinard Pianissimo User

    Jun 14, 2005
    Setauket, NY
    I posted on my blog that I'm going to the masterclass with Lew Soloff. If anyone else here is going, let me know! :)
  5. Spitty

    Spitty Pianissimo User

    Oct 3, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'll be there Brian. Looking forward to meeting you, and looking forward to hearing some great advice and stories from the legendary Lew Soloff.


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