Trumpeter, composer, arranger, and long-established educator Bill Warfield's new recording, Trumpet Story, leads to an inescapable conclusion: the ears of America's youth may be in better shape than feared. True to its title, the album offers a story - one part autobiography, one part history, and one part character study, portraying one of the great trumpet players of our time - Randy Brecker.
As an educator, Warfield has done what hundreds of other professional jazz musicians have chosen to do - embrace academia in tandem with their creative pursuits. Having spent nearly two decades on the faculty of the music department at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, Warfield has risen to the position of Director of Jazz Studies. But even as he built an enviable career as an educator, Warfield has maintained his zeal for devising noteworthy compositions and well-crafted arrangements that show those compositions in the most flattering light.
In fact, it was Warfield's attention to his extra-curricular career that cemented his longstanding friendship with Brecker, the outstanding and influential trumpeter who appears as guest soloist on Trumpet Story. "For my first concert at Lehigh, we re-created Sketches Of Spain [the legendary 1958 trumpet-and-orchestra collaboration between Miles Davis and Gil Evans]. He and I split the trumpet part on that concert, and thus started our relationship," reflects Warfield.
"It was a pleasure to be involved in this project from both a musical and personal perspective," notes Brecker. "Bill Warfield has been a friend, and a favorite of mine for many years, and on this CD, dedicated to trumpeters (and composers) who have influenced him, he proudly presents some of his best writing in a long while. Challenging, original, and very listenable at the same time. Likewise, the band is just first rate, and filled with guys I 'came up' with, along with a host of younger players."
Over the years, Warfield's appreciation for Brecker's genius and professionalism has grown into a mutual admiration, the culmination of which arrives in Trumpet Story. The album began as a four-movement suite designed specifically to showcase Brecker's brilliant solo style - which combines technical virtuosity with enviable lyricism, and has garnered Brecker six Grammy® Awards. It's a style that Warfield has enjoyed and studied since he first heard Brecker on disc in the 1960s, with such proto-fusion bands as Blood, Sweat & Tears and Dreams.
Three of the original suite's four movements appear on Trumpet Story, along with six more Warfield arrangements, which include the recasting of songs by several other fabled jazz names - Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Donald Byrd, and Brecker himself - who had a significant impact on his own development. Warfield has produced an album that not only flows effortlessly throughout its eclectic program, it also serves as a sonic photo album, filled with snapshots that trace his growth as an artist. With this album, both Warfield and Brecker have added new chapters to their already accomplished careers.
Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Bill Warfield graduated from the Manhattan School of Music where he was garnered with the Maynard Ferguson Scholarship, the William H. Borden Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Jazz, and the Carmine Caruso Award for Outstanding Trumpet Performance. During that time, he studied composition with a number of jazz' most acclaimed composers - among them Hank Levy and Bob Brookmeyer - before embarking on his career as a professional trumpeter and arranger. Warfield has released nine previous albums leading his own ensembles and has appeared in the horn sections of numerous other albums, including two by the acclaimed Bill Kirchner Nonet. Over the years he has performed with such artists as Ornette Coleman, Mel Torme, Mel Lewis, David Liebman and Sonny Stitt. He received a commission from the Spanish government to arrange and produce "Hollywood Jazz" for the 1992 Olympics in that country, and has also been commissioned by the Berlin Radio Orchestra and the US Air Force "Airmen Of Note." In addition, Warfield is the founder and director of the New York Jazz Repertory Orchestra as well as its offshoot, the New York Jazz Octet, and also the Lehigh Valley Jazz Repertory Orchestra.
"When Janie Takes The Stand" - The Bill Warfield Big Band
The Bill Warfield Big Band Trumpet Story · Release Date: July 8, 2014