29 year ago, I spent the first of 3 unforgettable summers at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. That summer, I met a young trumpet player that completely knocked me out with his positive attitude, musicianship, fearlessness, and friendship. I seem to find large projects to take on in the summer, these days. With my boys home from school, and many hours spent parenting, and learning how to be a better father and husband (and that is an ONGOING thing!), I have taken to the example set by an author whose book I read a couple of years ago, Jocko Willink, and I find myself getting up many mornings (not all, still working on it) at 0430 to get a couple of hours of work in before the house stirs itself awake and the needs of my young ones overtake my own.
Many of you are very familiar with Valor Brass, and the work this fabulous group of musicians has done over the past 13 years. Our recording, Inaugural, in 2014, really changed a lot of things in life for me. It was the first time I had really been an integral part of a creative process to make something lasting, throughout every stage of the process. Specifically, the process of recording an album, and seeing it through to completion, absolutely fascinated me. Our audio engineer, Ed Kelly, really captured what I felt was the true essence of our quintet. That was the beginning of my interest in recording, and my exploration of that art, and what I could bring to my own recordings. Needless to say, I took to it with a lot of focus and motivation, and began looking for every way that I could learn more about it, and put my skills into practice.
This June that trumpet player, Jack Sutte, and I reunited in Cleveland, to record two complete etude books, written by a young composer in Texas, Nathan Ost. Jack and I have remained in constant contact since that summer of 1988, rooming together at Curtis, and again in New York while we worked on our masters degrees at Juilliard. Jack has spent the last 18 years as 2nd trumpet of the Cleveland Orchestra, and continues to push the bounds of new music as a trumpet soloist and with his brass trio, Factory Seconds, in his spare time.
The three days of recording we had in June were just fantastic. Jack has the ability to get to the heart of a piece of music like few people I have ever known, and he showed up to the sessions ready to make music. Juggling a tough week of work performing the complete West Side Story film score in evening concerts, we recorded, during the day, all 42 of Nathan’s etudes at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, where Jack is a faculty member. I am very excited about the recording, and the fantastic musicianship it portrays. I hope you’ll take a listen.