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Appearances at SoundCellar -

THE ANDRE CANNIERE SEXTET - Thursday 27th Oct 2016

ENTROPI - Thursday 19 Nov 2015


Question 1 - What made you want to become a musician?  

My father was a pianist/accordionist and my house was full of music so the seed was planted very early on. Later on when I took up the trumpet, my teacher Michael Galloway was hugely influential on my decision to take up music full time.


Question 2 - What was your practice routine when you decided to get serious about playing jazz?

Playing the trumpet requires a serious practice regime regardless of what kind of music you are playing! When I first started college I was more classically focused and had every intention of becoming an orchestral musician (there wasn't much in the way of jazz where I was studying). During my second year a jazz drummer named Dan Monaghan transferred from another university and we starting hanging out, playing and listening to music together. This was probably the period where I started to realize that my passion for playing this music was taking over. Later I went to a conservatoire in New York (Eastman) to study jazz full-time. Practice-wise I had been incorporating improvisation and transcriptions into my routine since highschool but college was where I really started to dig into harmony and time. Practising duos with drummers was a favorite of mine and is a great way to develop harmonic clarity and of course really good time. Sound has always been a priority for me musically and I think a big part of this comes from my beginnings as a classical player and to this day I still work on classical repertoire, etudes and studies, etc.


Question 3 – What advice can you give to other musicians to get the most from their practise routine?

Find something that works and be very efficient with your time and energy. Also, be flexible and willing to try new things/routines.


Question 4 - Can you recommend some books that helped you with your studies?

Most trumpet players would probably answer this more or less the same way! Arban and Clarke studies obviously, Schlossberg, Charlier etudes. Also transcriptions of Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane.


Question 5 - Which recording, either as a leader or a sideman, do you think is the best example of your playing?

As a leader, I'm really happy with my latest 'The Darkening Blue' both for my playing and writing. As a sideman I think Henrik Jensen's Followed by Thirteen represents another side of my playing that might never be on one of my own recordings.


Question 6 - Do you have a standard procedure for your compositional process?

No! I like to allow gaps between writing periods which means every time I sit down to write, it feels like a new process. For me that keeps the music feeling fresh and inspired. I carry a little moleskin music notebook around with me so I'm always jotting down ideas, melodies, chord sequences, basslines or whatever. When I sit down to compose a new piece I open the book and start playing through things on the piano and that's where it usually begins. So I guess that's a sort of consistency of process.


Question 7 - What qualities do you look for in your collaborators?

This is an easy one to answer really - if I've heard someone play and I like what they're doing, that person will always be in the back of my mind when I'm thinking of putting together a new project or getting a dep. The icing on the cake is of course if we have something to talk about and can get along really well personally/socially.


Question 8 - Name some of your favourite standards and tell me why you like them.

Technically these are not all standards by definition, but they are some of my favorites in the jazz canon because to me they embody the essentials of a good composition: strong melody and a unique and interesting harmonic structure... Body and Soul, Nefertiti, Conception, Isfahan and Stella By Starlight


Question 9 – What are some of your desert island discs?  

You didn't set a limit! I'll keep it limited to jazz at least... Miles Davis - Nefertiti, Milestones; John Coltrane - Coltrane Plays the Blues, Live at Birdland; Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles; Kenny Garrett - Triology; Dave Douglas - Soul on Soul, Be Still; Cuong Vu - It's mostly residual


Question 10 - What music are you listening to at the moment?

Sam Amidon, Aoife O'Donovan, Bon Iver's new album, Becca Stevens Band, Cuong Vu meets Pat Metheny, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society...


Question 11 - What motivates you to focus on creative music?

It's the only thing I really can do and I love it. My other musical passion is American bluegrass but I never got good enough at playing the banjo...


Question 12 – Tell me about some of the most memorable gigs you’ve played?

One that stands out was a gig at The Knitting Factory in NYC with Ted Poor, Ike Sturm, Ryan Ferreira and Josh Rutner. These were my Eastman buddies and I remember that gig being really good... I may have a (very rough) recording of it somewhere. Over here, most recently I'm still buzzing about the launch gig for my new album at Pizza Express in London with Ivo Neame, Tori Freestone, Brigitte Beraha, Michael Janisch and Andrew Bain. It's hard to remember dates, but there was also a great Vortex gig in London with my Coalescence band Ivo, Hannes Riepler, Ryan Trebilcock and Jon Scott. There have also been some great ones around the UK with some of the other bands in like Dee Byrne's Entropi, Henrik Jensen's FB13 and Paulo Duarte's Overground Collective.


Question 13 - Tell me about some of the most memorable gigs you’ve been to?

I've been to so many good ones, it's probably most accurate to say the first ones are the most memorable even the they might not have been the best. The first jazz gig in NYC at Sweet Basil with Bobby Watson, Terell Stafford and Will Calhoun... My first opera in Munich (Tosca)... My first ochestral concert (Mahler 5 in Philadelphia)... Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park... Gillian Welch at Bowery Ballrom...


Question 14 – Tell me about your current equipment set up?

I play a Bach Stradivarius model 37 (early 90s) with a Monette B2S3 Prana mouthpiece and a 1960s Couesnon flugelhorn


Question 15 – Tell me about some musicians you think people should check out?

In the UK, there are lots of great tours going on this Autumn and beyond... Andrew Bain, Michael Janisch, Jon Irrabagon and George Colligan; Corrie Dick's Band, Tori Freestone Trio, Ivo Neame's Quintet, John Turville and his Solstice band early next year. Jazz is strong in the UK!


Question 16 - What's your favourite cultural pursuit other than music?

Beer & whiskey


Question 17 - What do you think of the state of jazz in the UK?

I've already said in question 15... Look at the number of bands doing well and touring right now. Not just from London - there are great musicians doing great things all over from Birmingham to Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. Jazz is doing very well.


Question 18 - Have you got any tips for jazz promoters?

Respond to emails, even if the answer is no! Most of the promoters are really good and what they do and the respect between them and musicians is mutual but there are a few that have reputations for double booking and cancelling/changing venues mostly due to poor organizational skills I suppose. My advice to these promoters would to watch and find out what the succesful, longrunning venues/promoters are doing.



Question 19 - What was the last thing you heard that got you excited?

That Donald Trump was off the rails and trailing in the polls again...


Question 20 – Have you got anything you'd like to promote?

Yes! My new album 'The Darkening Blue' just released on Whirlwind Recordings. I'll have copies with me at Soundcellar on Oct 27th. Looking forward to seeing you there!