The Other Bio

Dear students, Please understand that a career has high points and low points. Sometimes you will find yourself in unusual situations; stay professional, stay positive, and finish the gig. Below is a list of some of the more “interesting” things I have done over the course of my career. played the opening of a gas station played for Santa, who was being drawn by a team of Harley Davidson motorcycles, while wearing a full toy soldier costume adjudicated a solo twirler in competition played a solo trumpet fanfare on the roof of a 6 story building outside during a bitter…

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The New Record Deal

Have University positions become the new major label record deal for today’s jazz musician? When I moved to New York in the late ’80s/early ’90s, [we] were either looking to play in the band of someone famous or to get signed by a major record label. Today, since neither is an option, university positions seem to be the “new hustle,” as one of my colleagues likes to put it. – Sam Newsome, quoted from Downbeat, June 2010. He is on faculty at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus. The Past The legendary “record deal” is an endangered species. It was the…

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Band Camp

My upstairs neighbors finally convinced me to consider moving to another apartment at the end of our current lease. The 4:00am dumbbell drops just aren’t conducive to a good night’s sleep, and no matter how many times I talk to them, or how many times the super and/or the owners remind them, the noise continues. My only choice is to consider moving, again. Now I look around my apartment with the knowledge of how hard all of this stuff was to move the last time; I need to reduce the load. We’ll probably be moving into an even smaller place…

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Modern Range Expectations

This post addresses the range requirements of a modern professional jazz trumpeter, so it may be a little too specific for most people. You know… high notes and stuff… Professional jazz trumpet players are expected to play higher today than ever before in the history of the instrument. Perhaps the closest historical comparison would be during the baroque era, or, as Ed Tarr would say, “the golden age of the trumpet.” The picture above is a great example of a typical working trumpet section (L-R: Kelly Rossum, Seneca Black, Andy Gravish, Alex Norris). Tarr claims that the golden age of…

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Giving Notice

Along with teaching trumpet and composition, I direct the jazz program at MacPhail Center for Music, one of the nation’s largest community music schools. MacPhail serves more than 7,500 students annually with 35 instruments taught by more than 165 teachers. The jazz program has over twenty faculty members and focuses primarily on small ensembles and private instruction. MacPhail has partnered with the premier jazz venue in Minneapolis, the Dakota and the DFJE, to form an all-star high school jazz combo called the Dakota Combo. Each year, advanced high school students from around the state audition for participation in this group. They…

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