I get to play lead trumpet for an awesome band based out of Portland called TopHat. We play lots of funk and also like to arrange pop hits to feature the wide variety of instruments and singers that we have. This hip video was just released last week - a cover of Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean?" Check it out!
I have developed this exercise over the past several years while teaching students of varying levels the basics of improvising over chord changes. It is meant to be easily understandable and very quickly applicable to whatever tunes you are learning. To be most effective, this method requires only that you have a basic preexisting understanding of what 7 (or so) notes are appropriate for each chord you are dealing with.
Extrapolation is a three-movement chamber ensemble work that I wrote to feature some of the remarkable trumpet talent at the University of Oregon. In the first movement you hear several motivic statements. The second movement begins with a free improvisatory duet, furthering these motives, and from there the piece unfolds as those original introductory melodies are developed. Read more about what went into this project here.
Identity Crisis is now available on iTunes for just $9.90. The record has also received an amazing review:
"Let the world be on notice: an exciting new voice has arrived.
I’m impressed with the conception for the project as a whole... I LOVE the sequence. The high drama of track one, followed by the playfulness of track two, then the romantic lyricism of track three, and so on. It’s just right. The CD flows like a well-programmed concert or great meal.
And so many inspired moments. At one point I thought, “this tune sounds like Booker Little on Candid!” then I noticed the title is “Longing For Little.” Just beautiful.
I’m looking forward to repeated, deep listening." --Dmitri Matheny, award-winning flugelhornist
Track 9 of Identity Crisis captured on video! Josh Hettwer-tenor sax / Torrey Newhart-piano / Sean Peterson-bass / Adam Carlson-drums / Cyrus Shiva-video.
This tune is about mending relationships. Each “metric modulation”—when the music becomes faster—represents a resolution between two people.
Even in tragic times like these, there is always hope, and to help spread this simple message I have recorded a song I wrote that I would like the world to hear. These are the times that music is most needed--it really does heal the wounded soul--and for that reason I make this music for everyone.
Thanks to my friend Mason Kline for the audio assistance!
What will you be remembered for?
I'm pleased to announce my debut jazz record, Identity Crisis, which will be recorded this summer and released by the end of the year. This long-awaited project is a massive undertaking, and I need all the help I can get from fans and music supporters to make it possible. I have started a fundraising campaign (click to visit site) with Indiegogo—please consider making a donation! Every penny counts. Thank you!
This album will feature ten small group compositions of mine, played by some of my favorite musicians: Todd DelGiudice (alto saxophone), truly one of the best living saxophone players; Greg Goebel (piano), who is really making things happen in Portland and all across the globe; Josh Hettwer (tenor saxophone), Lyle Hopkins (bass), and Ken Mastrogiovanni (drums), all of whom I play with frequently and whose musicianship and artistry are on incredible levels; Torrey Newhart (piano), Sean Peterson (bass), and Adam Carlson (drums), all of whom make up my regularly performing jazz quintet and never fail to bring the house down.
Conceptually, Identity Crisis is about soul-searching, change, perseverance, and resolution. Its completion will represent a landmark in my musical career and hopefully in the lives of those whom it reaches. I'm so grateful for the financial aid and musical support I have already received and hope to see this work to a successful finish! Stay tuned for updates along the way.
As summer draws near I am caught up thinking about the Oregon Jazz Ensemble's tour last July. Thanks to donors and the University of Oregon, the band was able travel across seas to perform at the Vienne Jazz Festival in France, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. Below is footage from one of our performances in Montreux.
The whole trip was full of priceless moments, many of which I caught on camera and later compiled into a travel log video. To see a play-by-play of what we were really up to, check out this video!
The University of Oregon jazz department brought 4 groups down to Reno, Nevada this past weekend, stopping along the way in Cottage Grove and Klamath Falls to perform for middle and high schoolers. Friday at the festival we heard music from contemporary jazz idols such as Donny McCaslin and Randy Porter as well as a show performed by the world-renowned SFJAZZ Collective. On Saturday, UO combos I and II competed in the college combo division and OJE (Oregon Jazz Ensemble) and Jazz Lab Band II competed in their respective categories.
I'm fortunate to be a member of the top combo, Point of Departure, which not only placed first but received a huge compliment from sax legend Peter Epstein, who said, "It was the best music I've heard in all the years I've attended this festival." Here is one of the tunes from our set:
OJE, in which I have the privilege of playing 2nd trumpet, also cleaned up! We got invited back for the Saturday evening "Best of" final show, where we played 2 tunes from our original set. Here is the video from that evening performance in UNR's arena:
I'm still in Miles mode after the gig last Thursday…His music is so fun and his vibe is so distinct. Miles was definitely one of the most—if the not the most—influential jazz artists of all time. Today I transcribed one of my favorite solos of his, Freddie Freeloader (click to see transcription). This is the second track off of Kind of Blue, which happens to be the all-time best-selling jazz record. Some of the most swingin stuff ever.
Round Midnight from "Tony Plays Miles" last Thursday. Listen to Josh's beautiful tenor solo!
Local saxophonist and composer Jessie Smith got a big band together last month and recorded her debut album, Tricks of Light, which features her original big band writing (check out the indiegogo campaign). If you like swing and latin jazz, you'll dig this record, so check back in the summer to hear the final product!
Composer & Arranger - Jessie Smith / Studio Session Conductor - Steve Sharp / Sound Engineer - Lance Miller / Photographer - Jon Corona / Videographer - Adam Carlson
Saxophones - Mark Taylor, Idit Shner, Steve Treseler, Josh Hettwer, Vanessa Sielert
Trombones - Dave Glenn, Jenny Kellogg, Joe Freuen, Bill Foster
Trumpets - Justin Woodward, Vern Sielert, Paul Krueger, Tony Glausi
Rhythm Section - Kyle Smith (guitar), Torrey Newhart (keys), Dusty Carlson (bass), Sean Peterson (bass), Ken Mastrogiovanni (drums), Adam Carlson (aux percussion)
Adding to what I posted last week about Jay, here is another great solo of his that I just transcribed today. I Should Care (click to see transcription) is a jazz standard that appears on Jay's 1996 album Rapture. This was actually the first recording of Jay Thomas I ever heard, and I've been in love with the track ever since. Hope you dig it!
I haven't heard anyone whose time is as solid, whose tone and articulation as unique, or whose lines are as beautiful as Jay Thomas's. His trumpet playing was enough to get me hooked right off the bat—I quickly discovered his incredible saxophone and flute playing as well. Jay really is a one-of-a-kind musician. It's no wonder he's played (and continues to play) with so many of the greats.
Because Jay lives nearby in Seattle I've had the pleasure of studying privately with him, going to his jams, and playing in his big band. He's a joy to work with and endlessly inspiring. I'd like to share a solo of his I transcribed a while ago that exemplifies the magic in his playing. Here is Jay on UMMG (click to see transcription) off of the album Streams of Consciousness. Below is a YouTube mp3 of this tune.
There is so much information in Booker Little's sound. His time, his tone, his articulation, his lines, his rhythms, his writing and arranging... It's all there. Out Front and Victory and Sorrow (also known as Booker Little and Friend) are some of my favorite jazz records. A true jazz giant, it's incredibly sad that he passed at the age of 23.
Hello people of the internet!
Thanks for checking out my website. This is my first run at having a .com site. So far so good! I'll update this site weekly (gigs especially) and post on the News page every once in a while when I have something interesting to share.
This time I'd like to share a little project I was recently involved in. Through a series of connections I was hired to play trumpet for a video celebrating the one-year anniversary of Facebook Paper, a popular alternative Facebook app for smart phones. At the time of the recording, I wasn't entirely sure what or who I was ultimately working for, but I did as I was told and lightly improvised over a simple folk-style melody, playing with a subdued tone. A month later I got an email with a link to the finalized video. Check it out!