30 January 2015
Well, another calendar year has ended and we begin anew. 2015 will bring even more challenges for me as I begin my retirement from the US Air Force bands and I'll be working hard to get started in my "new" career as a freelance musician and educator.
I have two exciting announcements! First, and most important, I've been asked (and I'm deeply honored!!) to perform with the St. Mary's Preparatory School Jazz Ensemble at the "Lotos Jazz Festival" in Bielsko Biala, Poland and to take part in a master class session at the state music school in Katowice, Poland. St. Mary's is located in Orchard Lake, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) and the ensemble is led by my friend; saxophonist, composer and arranger, and all around nice guy, Dr. Joshua James.
Second but still important, I've decided to "monetize" the improvisation portion of this web site on a voluntary basis. Many of you know I've been creating and posting scale and arpeggio exercises designed to help musicians gain technical proficiency and more easily get the ideas in their head out to their instrument. While doing this is a labor of love, the web site hosting is not free. I have posted links to PayPal on each of the improvisation area pages with instructions. There is absolutely no obligation to contribute, but if you like the exercises and they have or you think they will help you, please give it a moment of thought. — Thanks!!
18 December 2014
Well, for all intents and purposes, my military retirement has begun. I left San Antonio, Texas on 4 December 2014 and ventured to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area for a couple of days to hang out with my father, sister and her husband. After that, I departed for Virginia and stopped overnight in Dayton, Ohio where I "crashed" at a friends' abode then completed that journey the next day.
So….. I am immediately available as a performer, section mate, guest soloist, private lesson teacher, and clinician. I realize it's not the greatest time to hang out a shingle — with Christmas in the very immediate future, but it's time to move forward.
Nothing is off the table. Traveling shows, cruise ships, etc. A gig is a gig!
I'll work to make updates more frequent and, there will definitely be more improvisation stuff coming.
Until next time!
9 September 2014
Life continues moving forward as I approach my retirement from active service with the United States Air Force Bands and Music division. So, I have begun looking to the future and am working toward turning myself into an independent music educator and clinician. I have spent the better part of 35 years teaching private trumpet lessons and an occasional brass, improvisation, or jazz ensemble clinic. With that in mind, I composed the announcement below.
Starting 10 December 2014, I will be available for jazz improvisation and ensemble clinics, as well as guest soloist appearances, club dates, and other performances. I have more than 37 years experience as a performing musician and part time educator including 24 years service in the United States Air Force Bands and Music Programs. Since 1984, I have performed on over 70 military and civilian recordings. My experiences also include touring throughout much of the United States and Western Europe, to include serving as the artist in residence for the 2012 Lier (Belgium) Jazz Festival. References are available upon request. Send booking requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, so we may tailor my efforts towards the needs of your students and ensembles.
I look forward to working with you and your students!
10 August 2014
A couple of weeks ago I had a great "geek out" session with Mike Camarillo at South Texas Music Works. We spent the day setting mouthpiece gap on two trumpets, "clocking" mouthpieces, and "de-stressing" the horns. How, you might ask, does one "de-stress" a brass instrument? By carefully unsoldering braces to see where the instrument has "warped" over the course of it's lifetime. Lots of events can put stress on an instrument. The case (with the horn in it!) being tossed into the cargo hold of an aircraft or the cargo space on a equipment truck. Cases being dropped. Even general handling over the course of time can contribute. Anyway, two or three braces were unsoldered along with a tube or two then soldered back together. These horns play wonderfully now!!
Next, we're moving into some mouthpiece design or alterations. I'm looking to unify my rim shape and diameter while selecting a cup shape, depth, and venturi/backbore combination that will help me create and support a balance of timbre and range. Eventually, there'll be more than one mouthpiece. The purpose in unifying the rim shape and diameter is so I can more easily switch from trumpet to flügelhorn and back. At the moment, my trumpet mouthpieces have semi-round rims and my flügelhorn mouthpiece has a rather flat rim. I'm also considering moving down a smidgeon in cup diameter. But, only if I can get the sound I want from a smaller diameter mouthpiece.
Mike is also branching out from general instrument repair into trumpet modification. I mentioned above that we had geeked out on my horns but in addition to those items, he also adjusted the fit of the mouthpiece in the receiver and diameter of the venturi. If necessary, Mike will also move or remove braces, add or remove weight, and perform other modifications as needed to adjust the horn to your preferences.
Mike, in my opinion, is a genius at this stuff. More to come!
5 April 2014
This is just a short "blurb" to let you know that I've entered a contest to win a Royer R-121 Microphone. You can enter too by going to the contest page here: Recording Hacks Royer microphone contest.
Free stuff is good!!
8 March 2014
I'm not as good at keeping this updated as I'd like and I didn't realize it has been over a year since the last update.
Wow. I'm now living in San Antonio, Texas where I have an apartment relatively close to Lackland Air Force Base, and where I've been assigned to the United States Air Force Band of the West. I arrived here in early February 2013 and have been keeping myself busy since arrival. I'm currently the lead trumpet player in the Dimensions in Blue Jazz Ensemble and I also perform as a member of the Concert Band and Ceremonial Band. While I've not been working as much as I'd prefer with the military ensembles, I'm quite busy off duty. Since March of 2013 I've been performing with the Primetime and San Antonio Jazz Orchestras, and subbing with the Crimson Jazz Orchestra. I became a member of the Powerhouse Big Band in June and have also been subbing with Paul Bakers' "Baker's Dozen" big band in Austin, Texas. Oh yeah, I'm also a member of the Austin Symphony Big Band. :-) In between all of that, I've played a couple of theater shows, backed up "The Temptations" and "The Four Tops" at the Majestic Theater, and played 5 or 6 wedding gigs. Not too bad for only being here a year.
While I'm doing all of this, I'm also working on my retirement from the United States Air Force after 24 years of service. Nothing is yet official but as of now, my projected retirement date is early February 2015. What am I going to do after retirement? That's a great question and one that I'm contemplating long and hard. My plan is to continue performing and, with any luck, get into the clinic/guest performer (I hate the word "artist") business. I'm also considering getting myself back to school at some point in time to finish my undergraduate degree. I've begun writing in earnest. I'm slow but working hard to write well and am currently working on 2 different big band charts. I also have ideas in my head for some other tunes. Whether or not they'll become big band charts remains to be seen.
I remain in contact with my musical partners in Europe and we have discussed a number of projects but, due to my current military commitment, there are no firm dates for anything. I'll also soon discuss a musical partnership with a new and dear friend here in San Antonio. Keeping all of this in mind though, all ideas are on the table for consideration!!
Well, that's enough for now. I promise, it won't be a year before the next entry!!
15 January 2013
As I write this, I'm on US Airways flight 751 - Brussels, Belgium to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These past 3 years have flown by much too quickly. I spent the first 18 months of my military assignment leading the "NATO Jazz Orchestra" (NJO) - the primary community relations component of the SHAPE International Band. During this assignment, I was privileged to travel some of Europe representing NATO, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE - NATO's military headquarters), the United States of America, and the US Air Force. The last 18 months was spent leading 2 subordinate ensembles and attempting to unravel the mysteries of the NATO finance and contracting systems. I did a fair amount of writing during this time as well providing music arrangements for the NJO, "Task Force X", and the "NATO Brass Quintet". It's been a while since I had done any serious writing and I have once again "caught the bug".
I have also spent the past 10 months working with a very dedicated group of educators and students from the SAMWD (see below) and have made some wonderful new friendships. My new and dear friend Han Flintrop gave me numerous opportunities to teach individual and group lessons, and rehearse ensembles from the school. I was again in Lier, Belgium this past weekend for a "final hurrah" performing 2 gigs with the "JazzNotes" and the "Cuties and the Truckers" on Saturday evening/night and playing a rehearsal with the "Big Band Lier" Sunday morning as a member of the trumpet section. For me, this was the ideal way to close out my time in Belgium playing and talking about music..... The highlight of my time with the SAMWD folks though, was being asked to be the "Artist in Residence" for the 2012 Lier Jazz Festival!! What a "gas" that was for me!! It was the first time I had ever been asked to be a featured soloist for such an event and have input to some of the music being performed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I still feel very honored and had a great time!!
Now on to my next military assignment and new challenges. In early February, I'll report for duty to the USAF Band of the West at Lackland AFB, Texas and I look forward to my time there. I'll be working with friends from my previous assignment at Langley AFB and hope to renew friendships with several members of the US Army band at Ft. Sam Houston as well. Of course, I'll be making new friends as well. I will also finish my career as a military musician and come "full circle" as an airman. 99.9% (+/-) of all USAF enlisted members begin their career there when they enter the USAF Basic Military Training System. While I'm in the San Antonio area I hope to become a member of the local community of musicians and make music outside the USAF. I've also decided it's well past time for me to write and produce my first recording as a civilian band leader. I have no idea what music or ensembles might be used on this recording. I guess I'll figure that out as I continue writing.
For my friends, military and civilian, across Belgium, Italy, Estonia, France, and elsewhere in Europe, I can only tell you how much I appreciate the opportunities we've had to make and talk about music, and see some of Europe together. 2015 will be the beginning of a new era for me... I promise you.... I'll be back and we'll make more and hopefully better music together.
13 November 2012
Well, the Lier Jazz Festival is done. Artist in Residency... done. What a ride!! While Saturday was a very long day, I had tons of fun performing with the Big Band Lier, Jos Moons and the Jazzisfaction Big Band, the Bram Weijters − Chad McCullough Quartet, the NATO Jazz Orchestra, and others. As well, thanks to Han Flintrop - festival organizer and Jazz Studies Area instructor at SAMWD and all of the staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication. Festivals of any sort simply don't happen without teamwork. A special thank you to Lorrain Cuyves. She was assigned the impossible task of making sure I was where and when I needed to be at any of the 5 performance spaces during the festival.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the festival was working with KOCA, Antwerpen (Koninklijk Orthopedagogisch Centrum Antwerpen or Royal Center for Remedial Education, Antwerp) on a project to include students from that school to be associated in some way with the festival. While I believe a few did serve as volunteers, the two schools joined forces and held four "class" sessions called "Jazz Ongehoord" (Dutch) or "Jazz Unheard". Han described the sessions as "an education for all" as the instructors from SAMWD developed a visual "cue card" system to communicate musical instructions to the KOCA students who were all hearing impaired − some only moderately and others functionally deaf. You can view a video of one session here: "Jazz Unheard" on YouTube. Keep in mind though, the language is Dutch!!
As for the rest of the festival, let me leave you for the moment with a couple of quotes, a few pictures, and links to two or three photo galleries.
"I would like to thank you for the nice evening. As I told Han on monday I was really impressed! I was also very impressed by the diversity in your sound. You have such a broad sound pallet... Very warm, tender.... Even my pupils that are not all into Jazz were amazed!"
"Hope to see (and hear) you back at Lier Jazz 2013!" − Stefan De Reese: Sound Engineer, Duvel Stage (Big Bands), 2012 Lier Jazz Festival
"And last but not least... thank you Kerry for your all the inspiring moments that you created for us. As you have seen it takes about 150 volunteers to make LJF happen, and all of them (students, teachers, musicians, audio crew members, administrative colleagues, ...) were amazed by your musical abilities, sound, technique, improvisations and foremost your sheer enthusiasm and happiness while sharing all of that with us. You took your artist-in-residence-ship very seriously and played on a multitude of occasions with all kinds of ensembles of our academy. We tried to share the dynamic of the SAMWD on venues like the SWEx project, BBL gigs and Verdi Requiem. You on your part got yourself involved in teaching individuals and classes, rehearsing big band for many Sundays, arranging and buying music for the BBL, touring with the Cuties & the Truckers, playing a goofy Viennese Waltz for hundreds (and turned it into a Lier 800 jazz waltz), even dancing in wooden shoes and sleeping on gym floors. All this was much more than any of us had expected. Your involvement has made a big difference for our school, the students, my colleagues and above all for me. You, by yourself, have set a new standard for LJF and, even more promising, for our jazz program at the SAMWD. In name of all of us: THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH!" − Han Flintrop: Organizer of the LIER JAZZ FESTIVAL, jazz program coordinator at the SAMWD Lier, and author of "Didactics Jazz & Popular Music"
Here is a gallery in black and white posted on Flickr by Patrick Van Vlerken.
Here is a gallery in color posted on Facebook by Idereen Artiest.
And, here's a link to a post festival news article in the Nieuwsblad newspaper.
Well, that's enough for now. I'll also dig up the links to articles published prior to the festival and post them.
Ciao for now.....
E-mail the site owner!!
5 November 2012
As I write this, I'm on a train returning to Mons, Belgium where I live and work. I spent the weekend in Gennap, Holland and performed two concerts with an ensemble from the SAMWD, Lier called "The Cuties and The Truckers". This is a Motown oriented group who, in addition to the music of Motown also performs music from "Sly and the Family Stone", "The Commitments", and others. The performance Saturday evening was in honor of the 25th wedding anniversary of Han Flintrop's brother Paulo and his wife. Sunday's performance was a free and open to the public concert. Anyone who has been a part of an American Drum and Bugle corps knows about sleeping on gym floors — we spent the weekend sleeping backstage. Despite that "hardship", it was a fun weekend!! My thanks to the band members for allowing me to perform with them and making me a part of the group!!
This coming weekend, 10 November 2012, is the 2012 Lier Jazz Festival!!! I've had a "ball" writing for, rehearsing, and performing music with the Big Band Lier the last 8 months! I'm also honored to be perform with all 3 of the bands on the big band stage Saturday evening — Jos Moons "Jazzisfaction Big Band", the "NATO Jazz Orchestra" — part of my military duties, and finally, the "Big Band Lier". With the Big Band Lier we'll be premiering 3 pieces I've written or arranged the last few months. "Going Home" is based on the main melodic material from the 2nd movement of Antonin Dvorak's 9th or "New World" Symphony. I've transformed this into a rock ballad and feature opportunity for trumpet or flügelhorn. The second is a totally original composition titled "M.L.", arranged for me by Ian Charleton — a fabulous tenor saxophone player and arranger. The final composition is a Count Basie style blues written by me for the Big Band Lier titled "Lierse Blues". I guarantee it'll be a diverse evening of music!
25 October 2012
I was in Lier, Belgium today to meet with the local press in advance of the 2012 Lier Jazz Festival — now, just a bit more than two weeks distant. I spoke a bit about being excited to be a part of the festival and a bit about some of the music we will present. I also spoke about the brainstorming session Han Flintrop, the festival organizer, and I had that resulted in the 800 minute jam session and the stage featuring a pair of DJ's accompanying some instrumental musicians. Overall, I think it promises to be a great day of music!! If you're in Belgium, I hope you will come check out the music. You can see the performance schedule at the link above and I'll be there all day!
24 June 2012
I have been asked to be the Artist In Residence for the 2012 Lier Jazz Festival!! I cannot express enough my gratitude to the festival planning committee for this honor and opportunity. I have been working closely with Han Flintrop who is the Jazz Studies Coordinator of the SAMWD Lier (Stedelijke Academie voor Muziek, Woord en Dans or Municipal Academy of Music, Word [Theater?], and Dance of Lier), leader and musical director of the Big Band Lier, leader of the jazz festival planning committee, and all around nice guy to lay the groundwork for much of the musical direction of this years festival.
In addition, the 2012 Lier Jazz Festival is partnering with KOCA, Antwerpen (Koninklijk Orthopedagogisch Centrum Antwerpen or Royal Center for Remedial Education, Antwerp) to provide opportunities for students to work alongside the SAMWD students and staff in production roles for the festival. We have also discussed participation by a few of the KOCA students in a short "Music and Movement" set as part of the 800 minute jam session. Why 800 minutes? Because the city of Lier is celebrating it's 800th anniversary of incorporation!! The festival planning committee thought it would be fun to involve as many musicians in this session as possible while also honoring the history of the city.
More updates as the planning continues!!