The internet is usually so oversaturated with videos of an artist that it can be hard to navigate to their best videos; the magical moments actually worth preserving. Here's what I'd really love for you to see.
I've sprinkled in stories, info, links to educational material & sheet music, and it'll grow a lot over time, so check back occasionally!
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JAZZ / LATIN JAZZ
Here are the first two songs I've recorded with my band in Argentina, ALDEA.
I'll be returning to record more music with them in the first half of 2021.
This is the musical project I'm most excited about this year.
Go FULL SCREEN & HD, baby!
Solo Por Hoy is made of pure Love. I wrote and produced it for my partner, fusing my musical voice with the folkloric sounds of her native Argentina.
Joakin Galvan on guitar did an amazing job in his duo role, bringing the Jazz, Rock and Argentinian folkloric traditions together with ease and beauty. That's something that amazes me about this entire band -- how well they've absorbed and assimilated various genres into one cohesive sensibility worthy of its own sub-genre in "Latin Jazz".
Chacarera del Expediente stands in sharp contrast from the other track. The theme here is not Love. This song speaks to economic and social injustice. Joakin Galvan sings in the spirit of protest while Pampa Brass beefs up our ranks, joining a small army of percussionists.
My musical aim was to explore the common ground between the Chacarera rhythm (which underlies both of these tracks) and Jazz vocabulary. There's a lot to be said and learned on this subject. If you've enjoyed these two songs, please do read the article below.
These first two videos are complete songs from my latest album, "Live in Argentina" with the Horacio Burgos Trio
I love the vibe these musicians radiate. This was our first concert as a quartet, and only our second time playing together at all. Regarding the ensemble's overall sound, I was just a guest in their house. But their sensitivity and reverence for being fully present made it so easy for me to explore the music feeling safe enough to be truly vulnerable and express some very raw feelings.
This is from my first performance with Horacio and his Quintet. The audio/video quality isn't great, but you can hear the trumpet just fine. ;-)
While I've certainly played in 6/8 or 12/8 a lot, this was my first time performing with Argentinians, who approach it differently. Their Chacarera groove is felt more as a waltz, which can really change the nature of ones phrasing. It certainly opened some interesting doors for me here, which is when I become enamored with the Chacarera. We were just getting to know each other as musicians here, but I did manage to enter a pretty good flow-state and took some risks while exploring a less-familiar rhythmic approach.
Also from my first performance with Horacio's Quintet. Same not-so-stellar audio/video quality, but it's good enough to convey this really special moment. This is a duo w/piano written by Horacio, with generous fermatas between phrases that inspire fantastical journeys.
Mariano Velez (the pianist) and I had only met that day, and we played this without any premeditation; just one quick read-through. It really speaks to Mariano's musicianship that this worked at all. It's amusing and gratifying for me that amidst all the playfulness, we actually sounded like we had a plan. Nope, just wide-open ears. I really love this performance. Watch to the end or you'll really be missing out!
Here's one that's short & sweet. It's a Christmas song yes, but swinging pretty hard nonetheless, which isn't so easy when you're playing by yourself. Multi-tracking is a VERY good way to develop so many aspects of your playing. It requires your utmost cleanliness, and asks you to make hundreds of clear choices and commit to them across all the parts. Hopefully you've got something you can be proud of in the end. This Christmas Eve creation was an especially fun one!
Here are a few other highlights from various corners of the Jazz world
This video captures the essence of my experiences with Ashlin Parker in New Orleans. Playing with him really inspires me to reach. To me, this isn't a battle at all. It's a very spirited dialogue between friends about some heavy sh*t. I encourage you to try really hard to hear every note played by both of us, and how much continuity there is as we respond to each other. It's always good to have someone (named Ashlin Parker) to talk to. :-)
A Child Is Born is a beautifully lyrical tune by Thad Jones, played here with my musical brother, Luca Dell'Anna on piano and Prinsens Musikkorps, a brass ensemble in Denmark. There was a really beautiful energy to this concert, and this song in particular, so it gets to live on this page as the "Jazz-ballad-with-what-would-typically-be-a-Big-Band" entry.
Large Brass Ensemble / Crossover
I grew up playing in drum corps and big bands, so there's a special place in my heart for large brass ensembles. I really love composing, arranging, directing and performing with brass groups filled with heavy players.
Here are some of the best opportunities I've had in recent history to hear my compositions & arrangements being played really well, starting with the CORNO Festival Brass Ensemble, in Zielona Gora, Poland -- one of my all-time favorite festivals!
Tales of the Orient Express is a concerto I've written with Arabic and Balkan flavors and a lot of fun challenges to inspire growth in all areas. The faculty brass ensemble did a great job.
El Principio del Cielo is a piece by Argentinian composer Lito Vitale which I arranged for brass ensemble. With a gospel tint and melodies just begging to be played by a brass choir, complete with an epic climax, this song is FUN to play!
Evolution Overture is a mashup of various themes I composed or arranged for a drum corps' theatre show in Japan. With very little rehearsal and about 50 horns too few, we tried bringing the energy anyway. Well, at least we aced the key changes. :-)
Here's my version of Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla, played by one of the greatest brass bands in the world. This concert happened to fall on my birthday not so long ago. Playing with Eikanger-Bjørsvik in Greig Hall in Bergen, Norway was one hell of a way to celebrate, as was the hiking that happened earlier in the day!
Rebelion Suite is a medley I've arranged of pieces by Piazzolla. A big part of my career has been visiting schools around the world, giving a masterclass, having a rehearsal (or 2 if we're lucky) and doing a concert. The students of Yonh Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore really took me by surprise. We made some music together.
Warrior Dance is a piece I first composed in 2008, then added a lot more in 2013, including this lyrical intro. This song means a lot to me, and its intro always lets me open my heart so easily. Hopefully yours too. This is from a really fun concert with the Band of the Grenadier Guards in London.
FRIGHT of the Bumblebee! has been a staple in my crossover repertoire for a long time, but I often go years without playing it. I even forgot to practice it before the 1st rehearsal for this program with the Danish Sinfonietta (Randers Kammerorkester).
So after an embarrassing rehearsal #1, I went back to the hotel and played it at 60 bpm in my left hand for a long time, then gradually turned up the tempo and eventually switched hands. Et voila! Problem solved in an evening through deeply disciplined practice.
FæryTale is a piece I composed in 2013, but it really started coming to life a few years later when I began collaborating with Jeremy Leidhecker, who orchestrated it for this concert with the Danish Sinfonietta + rhythm section. This clip is of the solo section. Jeremy was the one who suggested we modulate like it's a gospel tune, and I'm so glad he did! We're really looking forward to making a studio recording of this in the not-so-distant future.
This solo is from a musical/cultural fusion project in 2016 called "Bollywood Beats & Big Band", a collaboration between musicians in Denmark and India, uniquely blending Indian Classical music with a Western "Crossover" format.
Written and conducted by Lars Møller, the ensemble includes:
Aarhus Jazz Orchestra
Danish Sinfonietta (Randers Kammerorkester)
Special guests, Kala Ramnath (violin)
and Abhijit Banerjee (tabla)
It's not very often that I perform a purely Classical program. The closest I usually get is giving a piece a Crossover interpretation. There's a little of both here, but this section is admittedly lacking. Wish I could time-travel back to so many gigs and set up a damn video camera!
I do have some exciting collaborations planned in this vein for 2021. 🤞😷
In December 2019 I had the pleasure of a solo tour in Japan with the brilliant pianist, Vital Stahievitch. This piece really kicked my butt! It still feels like a work in progress, but I do want to share some of it, especially for the folks who asked for more of my Classical playing. Here's some of Mvt's 2 & 3 of the Saint-Saens Bassoon Sonata, pared down for modern attention spans on social media.
It's entirely inappropriate for the trumpet, but why let that stop us?! With the best 4-valve design ever, and a very deep mouthpiece, it works quite nicely. I did make some octave adjustments though, to optimize it for the trumpet.
Vital Stahievitch was so lovely to play with. He was a rock; a very musical rock, while I was just trying to keep my head above water.
Sprained ankle, messed-up leg, searing pain at least 60% of the time, and no ensemble to hide behind -- this was quite a challenging situation.
It’s a perfect case study in why I’ve always worked so hard to maintain a meditative state while playing, where pain, judgmental thoughts and any other distractions simply don’t influence the musical outcome. This is SO IMPORTANT to cultivate. Especially for when the challenges are this extreme.
How well do YOU cope with distractions while you’re playing? What is your game-plan to improve that?
With very little preparation time, it felt like the right occasion to perform the Arutunian Concerto (for only the 2nd time in my life). This is a gorgeous piece of music, with lots of rich melodies to sink your teeth into. Since I’m not a full-time devotee or an expert on the stylistic details of this genre of music, my goal was simply to exist in a flow-state, and allow for a certain amount of spontaneity to occur with regard to the interpretation.
I know you already know the piece. I would encourage you not to sing along, or compare this recording to your expectation of what it “should” sound like. Just take it in, as it is, and hopefully you’ll be treated to some delightfully surprising moments. It’s definitely not “perfect”, but it is honest. For me, that’s more important.
Since it’s often used as a competition piece for younger players, there’s often a lot of judgement, fear and stress entangled with it, which limits the possibility of real musical exploration. That’s a shame considering how expressive the piece can be.
I’m very happy to offer this recording as an antidote to that stress, and invite you to be fully present, as we were, and to give your inner-adjudicator a smoke break.
One of the best things we can do for the music we play is to savor every delicious note, and play from the heart, just as Arutunian clearly wrote this piece from the heart.
Have fun and be careful...
This is the Weber Clarinet Concerto #2, Mvt 1 -- or rather a wacky arrangement I made for brass ensemble, converting it into 7/8 and 7/16. After getting my first 4-valve trumpet, this was the first Classical piece I chose to explore the pedal register. The clarinet can play down to low E, a whole step below our bottom F#, so it really does require a 4-valve trumpet.
The piece is quite a tightrope walk, and it was even more challenging on a trumpet that felt like a Hummer Limousine... I gave it my best, but was inevitably driven to design my own 4-valve trumpet so I didn't have to work so damn hard when preparing pieces like this, or embarrassing myself in performances, which happened several times before this concert.
In the end, I'm very glad I chose to learn this piece, as it was the catalyst for many positive changes that've occurred in my life.
After all, I've never been more happy with my equipment than I am today, and it took playing this big self-torture device to help me get there. And also, it required me to develop an even more methodical approach to practicing.
I'm so thankful to Belgian Brass for inviting me to play this concert with them, and recording the video. They're an incredible ensemble, and it was a really lovely experience rehearsing and performing with them. True gentlemen.
When this video was first published online it opened a lot of doors for me, and got more people turned on to my playing -- or at least let them know I can do more than play high notes. Yay! High notes AND low notes! 😆
For some reason the NFL demands that you click their link to watch this video directly on YouTube. (...?) So after you press play, there'll be one more link, then you're good to go!
This one deserves honorary mention, though it's not exactly "Classical" per se, because of the story behind it.
In 2008, I played the National Anthem at a Dallas Cowboys football game, but not just any game... It was the last game ever at that stadium before they demolished it. For that special occasion, they wanted to have a trumpet player perform the Anthem in memory of Tommy Loy, who had performed it on trumpet at every game for several decades until 1989.
I understood from the beginning that this occasion was about Tommy, not about me. So when I walked onto the field in front of 60,000 people, with millions more watching in TV, I played for Tommy. In fact, I invited him to play it through me, and the whole time I played, I was sending love to him and his family.
As a result, there was no fear. My ego did not freak out, because I turned my ego off completely. There was only love.
The ego is a very powerful and dangerous force, which can easily sabotage you in moments like that. All it would take is one fearful thought about what would happen if I didn't play well... what people would think of me... how it would hurt my career.... Just one negative thought from the ego and I could have crashed and burned. On National TV.
Oh, and then there was the condensation that started gurgling when I began to play, so I had to keep playing and wait for the next 'Middle C' to empty my spit valve. Not at all distracting...
But because I managed to put my ego to sleep during an event with so much pressure, I got to enjoy the thrill of a unique experience with a profoundly soulful nature.
AND, the Cowboys got their asses handed to them by the Ravens! AAAAHAHAHAAA!!! What a night!