Judging Texas All-State Jazz Trumpets

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Texas All-State Jazz Judge

Saturday was my first time judging at the All-State level. The auditions were held here, locally in the Houston area, and I was invited to sit on one of the panels. My secondary objective when I judge is to learn more about the process so I can use that information to help my students prepare for these kinds of  auditions. My primary objective, of course, is to be the best, most objective judge that I can be. I feel that both objectives were met this weekend and I’m looking forward to writing more about it in future articles.

Brass Quartet Wedding

On Friday I played a brass quartet gig with Bobby Guess, Luis Juarez and Brian Logan. I particularly enjoyed pulling out some of my old brass quartet music. Yes, the brass quintet is a more standard instrumentation today, but twenty years ago I assembled an impressive library of brass quartet music for my group, the Bravado Brass Quartet. Bobby Guess was a member of that group and recorded with us back in the early ’90s.

I guess what I just wrote gives the impression that I don’t work with my own group anymore. Well, that’s only half true. I haven’t had a set group in years. Actually, I take that back. There is one exception. A few years ago I had the honor and privilege of performing a few recital concerts with a brass quintet under our performing arts parent organization, Consort Immanuel. But aside from that exception, the work I do as a band leader is mostly fluid and changing. Sometimes it’s a brass quintet. Sometimes they want a trio or duet. Sometimes I get calls for small jazz combos. I think I would stick to a set band and instrumentation if the clients wanted that, but they don’t seem to really care.

The wedding on Friday was not one of my gigs. I hope I didn’t give that impression. All I’m saying is that we used some of my music, which prompted me to look at my own brass quartet library. It was a reminder that I am ready to do a brass quartet gig at the drop of a hat. That was the plan in the beginning and continues to be the plan today. All of my libraries for the different instrumentation are ready to go. When I get the calls, it’s just a matter of picking up the music on the way out the door. It’s much better to work that way than to have to assemble something that works at the last minute.

A Busy Week Ahead

I have four gigs this week, a rehearsal and lots of students. I will be announcing it again on this blog, but I want to remind everyone that the Texas Brass recital is this Sunday. I invite all of my friends and students to come hear this group of top brass musicians performing original music by Thomas Hulten and myself.

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