Even when I was a kid, just trying to learn the trumpet, I would always noodle around trying to make weird sounds on my horn. It wasn’t until I got into jazz and more avant garde musics during and after college that I realized that there was a whole history, a lineage, of trumpet players who had created unique, non-trumpet-sounding noises. Modern players (I won't even get into the old-school geniuses) like, Axel Dorner, Peter Evans, Dave Douglas, Cuong Vu, and Nate Wooley can get an amazing array of sounds out of the trumpet. Those guys can all play the horn straight too and can do it at a truly ridiculous, virtuosic level, especially Evans and Douglas. But there’s something about those strange sounds and the process of trying to figure out how they make those sounds that really fascinates me. And I think that I also have some sounds that I make that are sounds that I haven’t heard other trumpet players play. Besides making weird noises, I’m also slowly starting to get into the world of electronic effects. Recently I’ve been playing through a Digitech Whammy pedal,
a Boss Distortion pedal,and a Boss Loop station
– while adding some delay and/or reverb through my amp or PA. I’m also a sucker for a simple, pure melody line. Improvising with Tim Motzer gives me a unique opportunity to make all of those weird noises to my heart’s content, play through all of those effects, and also search for some beautiful melodies.
Tim is really a master of creating sound. He’s got a sick array of effects that he has truly mastered and incorporated into a sound that is only his. And he’s made a career out of this. No easy feat. He plays all over the world, collaborates with some amazing artists, records some magic in his studio, and improvises for dance classes at the University of the Arts in Philly. When we play, it’s always an improvisational experiment. Sometime we “compose” succinct songs and song forms on the spot. Other times, like at Tritone the other night, we create a set-long, ever-evolving soundscape. It’s always an adventure in listening and responding and conversing. For me it’s one of the most enjoyable music-making opportunities that I’m currently involved in.
Tomorrow night I will be playing with Tim as part of a really cool festival – music, dance, and super-cool visuals. Here are the details – if you are in the area and free, come check it out:
10PM Saturday November 12, 2011