Stuff, then a break, then more stuff

After a super busy summer it was nice to take a bit of a break from traveling so much this fall. This summer found me in LA, Dallas, Chicago, Buffalo, Halifax, among other places. Aside from playing on the St. FX Visiting Artist Concert series  (which included Lage Lund and Linda Oh this year) it was a welcomely slow fall.  I’ll be back at it soon with hits in St. John’s (Newfoundland), Charlottetown (PEI), Potsdam (NY), and playing locally. Local concerts included a juicy gig with one of my favorite drummers and musicians, Matt Wilson (also part of the St. FX Visiting Artist series).

New project/releases coming soon include BiCoastal Collective: Chapter Five, Project quARTet, and new releases by Josh and Jake Hanlon and I make a guest appearance on Michelle Hanlon new singer/songwriter project. None of these have a release date yet, buy they are all in the can!  Yay for music, and who knows maybe it’s time for a gig on alto. 😉

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Busy Summer

Just got back from ITG in LA and I am super happy that the Edwards X13 trumpet, the horn Adam Getzen, Christian Griego, and Jim Stella built for me was a big hit – Most folks said it was easily in the best top 5 horns they played all ITG. It was also really great to see the trumpet family and a bunch of my Southern California friends. It’s a busy summer for projects. There is one already in the can  (Hanlon Brothers), two more to go (BC5 and a new quartet project), and  the release of Zoe Leger’s and Scott Sorkin’s recordings too. Zoe’s up for the Galaxy Rising Star Award and her release is timed nicely with a hit on the main stage at the Halifax Jazz Festival. Happy to be part of all this fun!

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Spain/New Projects/Dave Liebman

Just returned from a month in Sevilla, Spain. Ended up playing a lot of music there. The vibe of the jazz community was super welcoming and the city was amazing. There is a fantastic club called Cafe Jazz Naima in the middle of the city that has live jazz every night of the week; I ended up playing there a fair bit. On another topic: all of my music for the next BiCoastal Collective recording is finished being written as in the music for my new quartet project. Both projects get recorded in July, but before then I’ll be off to Texas to record on a project lead by Josh and Jake Hanlon. A few nights ago I performed with Dave Liebman. He’s a real master musician, and a nice guy to boot – It’s nice to get both. He’s a real inspiration and make me want to practice.

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New Josh Hanlon project on the loose!

I just got my copy of Josh Hanlon’s new recording “Baytree Sessions: Volume One” on Armored Records. It was such a fun project to be apart of. All the cats were aiming for the sky on it and it shows. Personal is: Dave Lown – ten, James Driscoll – bass, Stockton Helbing – drums, Noel Johnston – guit., and Michelle Hanlon – vox, me – tpt/flug. and the fearless leader, Josh Hanlon – keyboard instruments.  Recorded by Robin Hood Brians (yes that Robin Hood Brians), mixed by Kent Stump, and mastered by James Driscoll at Hot Tonic Mastering.  It was a load of fun to record and its a great listen too.

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Open Waters Festival 2016

On January 9th 2016 I am joining the Upstream Orchestra playing in the Open Waters Festival. We’re playing pieces by Barry Guy and Jeff Reilly​ Sir James Dunn Theatre, 7:30pm Halifax. Earlier in the day I’ll be involved in Improvisation Talk Back, Facilitated by Ellen Waterman. “Six improvisators from different genres will be playing different instruments and performing a collective improvisation. The audience is invited to question the performers about the music played and the outcome.” Sir James Dunn Theatre, 1pm Halifax.

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Projects, mutes, more projects

I’ve got some nice irons in the fire right now. Every so often I get called for a project that makes me dig into new (to me) music. I’m doing a short tour with Tom Easley’s Mingus Tribute and this is one of those projects. I’ve always keep Mingus’ music at arms length (with the exception playing Black Saint and the Sinner Lady years ago); I guess I was always confused by it…Now that I’m really digging into the book for the tour I’m realizing how much great stuff I’ve missed out on.  The cool part of this our is that we’ll be using Halifax as a base and running out from there. This leaves me free to record on Zoe Leger’s new project during the day time. Zoe’s a very tasty singer/songwriter that comes out of the jazz tradition. Her music has a fresh spin and  I’m looking forward to being part of it coming to life.  I think I’ll have a chance to use my new Facet Bucket Mute on it too. This mute is AMAZING. I just got it today and when I tried it out, I was blown away with how right it is. My other buckets (Jo Ral and Stone line) have way to many upper overtones present int the sound. The Facet dampens all the uppers and leaves only the “dark chocolate” bits of the sound left – perfect. As for my stuff: BiCoastal Five is set to be recorded in July in Dallas, and I have a new Quartet project (also in July) Happening in Chicago. Exciting time indeed.


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Making Music in Sweden and projects

I am returning to Sweden for a few gigs with my long time friend, Guitarist Fredrik Olsson and the Stockholm Organ Trio. To say I am excited about this would be an understatement. We will be playing at the Glenn Miller Cafe in Stockholm and Stationen in Bålsta among a few other hits. The music (I hope) will be really fresh; alongside original music by Fredrik and myself we are digging into a bunch of  (new to me) Wayne Shorter tunes. Then it’s writing time. I am working on the music for a new quartet project and finishing a few things for the next BiCoastal project.  Fun times ahead!

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ITG, Sabbatical, Stuff

I just got back from ITG. I was attending the conference supporting Edwards and Getzen trumpets and adjudicating the jazz solo competition (along side Michael Hackett, and Tiger Okoshi). The new Getzen Prototype Bb is a serious horn. I got to take it for a test run at the ITG jazz session.  I heard some fantastic music and as always the hang was deep; recharging and draining all at the same time.  Hanging with some buddies from the olden days, Carl Murr and Jason Levi, was a real high point.  Another great part was hearing all the great feedback on the Griego mouthpieces I got to help develop. Thumb!

I am very excited for my up coming sabbatical. The list of fun includes a tour in Sweden, a month is Spain,  and composing my part of the music for BiCoastal: Chapter Five which is a large ensemble project. I have a personal project in can waiting on mixing and have a few other projects I am involved with in various states of completion too. It’s a good place to be.  I am starting the process on a new quartet recording. I am working with six unbelievable visual artists on this project, Eli Tynan, Jennifer Sandquist, Dave Barnes, Michael Barton, Chris Main, and Paul Vienneau. I’ll be writing music inspired by their work – it’s beautiful stuff and I think/hope the music will be too.

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BiCoastal Collective: Chapter Four AND Autumn Song nominated for ECMAs Jazz Recording of the Year Award

Wowza. This is very exciting. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a jazz musician has earned a double nomination in the ECMAs Jazz Recording of the Year category.  And to make it even better the other nominations as all tremendous and worthy of winning. This years noms are: Guitar wizard Greg Amirault, Canadian tenor sax hero Kirk MacDonald and super groovy les Païens and my two projects BiCoastal Collective: Chapter Four (Chapter Three won the ECMA last year), and Autumn Song.  I am honoured to stand with these killing musicians.

Here is a sample from BC4 and here is a sample from Autumn Song

Congrats to all the nominations.


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Griego Mouthpieces

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New Griego #1 trumpet mouth piece

I had been playing the same trumpet mouthpiece since 1994.  That changed today. I now am playing the Griego #1 trumpet mouthpiece and the FL 2C flugelhorn mouthpiece.  My old pieces were not a good fit for me anymore; even though they were comfy and I knew them well it was time for a change. I chose to work with Griego in making new mouth pieces because Christan Griego is simply one of the best around, a brass wizard if you will. We worked together on the new Edwards X-19 Flugel project and Edwards trumpets related things. I knew he understood my sound concept and my overall approach to brass playing. We started with my old mouthpieces and made them better, clearer, crisper, easier to play. The Griego line of trumpet and flugel mouth pieces are the end result of wanting to make the best tools for the job and striving to make that job easier to do.  I am proud to play them.   They’ve made beautiful music easier to make.  Christan will have them at the Midwest band and orchestra clinic in Chicago if you’d like to check them out (and you should!).


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