XRIJF Jazz Workshops for Young Music Students
~Sponsored by Wegmans~
No registration is required.
Attend one or more days.
Open to all grade school and high school music students.
This series of five structured jazz workshops gives young music students the exceptional opportunity to play and meet, listen to and learn from professional jazz musicians performing at the festival. It is hosted by Bob Sneider, Eastman School of Music Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media and Senior Instructor of Jazz Guitar, and led by five musicians performing at XRIJF.
ABOUT TIM HAGANS, TRUMPET
I was born on August 19th, 1954 in Dayton, Ohio and sometime during the next 9 years, I
fell in love with the trumpet. Early influences came from my parent's record
collection……Doc Severinsen, Harry James and Herb Alpert. I heard local trumpet
players in restaurants. I always dug the Dixieland band at Cincinnati Reds games and the
herald trumpet player at the horse races. Wow! The trumpet……….what a great sound!
Life changed on a family vacation to New Orleans in 1970 when I heard Ray Maldonado
with Mongo Santamaria. Ray was the first jazz trumpet player that I heard live in a small
group. I bought all of Mongo's records and listened and played along with them
constantly. Ray's sound was big and impressive. He was my first trumpet hero and
although I saw him with Mongo's band several times, I'm sorry that I never had the
chance to meet him.
During this period, the big band era was strong and thriving. Duke Ellington, Count
Basie, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson were all on the
road and played Ohio frequently. The trumpet players in these bands provided a lot of
inspiration. It also became apparent that a job opportunity might be available in the
future in one of these bands and that gave me a musical goal to shoot for.
I was also listening to a lot of pop and rock music and always waiting for the trumpet to
appear. When Blood, Sweat and Tears with Randy Brecker and later Lou Soloff, Sly
and the Family Stone with Cynthia Robinson, and Hugh Masekela came along, I was
ecstatic. Lou's solos on Spinning Wheel and Lucretia's Reprise had a huge impact on me
and still induce goose bumps when I hear them today.
The first Miles Davis recording that I heard is still one of my favorite jazz records…In
Person Friday and Saturday Nights live at the Blackhawk. The band was swinging and
popping and the recording has a real dark sound that makes the music especially
intriguing. Then I heard Bitches Brew and life changed once again. Although I love
everything that Miles played, the records from In A Silent Way to Agartha are my
favorites. Those records reflect the social and political energies of that time. It wasn't
just music, it was an abstract description of extreme force and energy.
When I went to Bowling Green State University in 1972, I was, for the first time,
surrounded by other aspiring jazz musicians…. Rich Perry, Tom Kirkpatrick, Bob
Breithaupt, Jack Stuckey, Tom Warrington, Bob Doll. We were all wading through music
education classes and dreaming about wild music. Through our combined record
collections, I was exposed to the history of jazz. When I heard The Hub of Hubbard,
Freddie's 1969 record on MPS, I realized that Freddie was supreme!....complete control
of the trumpet, the hippest lines, incredibly emotional sound and swinging all the way.
After I heard Freddie for the first time in person at Gilly's in Dayton in April of 1974, I
knew that the rest of my life would be spent trying to play up to that level. Having an
unattainable lifetime goal keeps one young and dedicated!
I played with Stan Kenton for two and half years in the mid-seventies. His bus was a
rolling listening lab. I would listen exclusively to Clifford Brown until I was saturated,
switch to Lee Morgan for a month and then on to Booker Little followed by Thad Jones
and on and on. And I was also listening to the other instrumentalists as well especially
the saxophone players and especially John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. If my
improvisation mind heard the freer saxophone way to play, then my technique would
have to rise to that level. Freddie Hubbard practiced with both Trane and Sonny because
he knew it would expand his concept.
Thad Jones was also a major influence on my playing. Because his big band writing is
powerful and unique, his wonderful trumpet playing is sometimes overlooked. Thad was
a true improviser with a most intriguing melodic voice. Full of joy and humor, extreme
harmonic hipness, Thad kept me in delightful suspense.
The other trumpet player that had a deep impact on me was Woody Shaw. He's perhaps
the last original voice in the trumpet lineage. I always like hearing large intervals in
orchestral works …..Copland's 3rd Symphony and Quiet City, Bartok's Concerto For
Orchestra for example. When I heard Woody cutting through the changes
intervallically…wow!! He had such a warm sound, a special melodic language and the
ideas just flowed effortlessly.
The way that I play comes directly from Miles, Freddie, Thad and Woody. I am not a
transcriber. I've just tried to absorb the unique characteristics from their playing and then
mix in, with my own crazy voice, the emotions derived from those characteristics.
I am basically self-taught concerning improvisation and composing/arranging. Both
disciplines are associated through my melodic voice and emotional base. Improvisation
provides the basic materials that composition morphs into a fixed state. If I am working
with a song form, I look at the changes and imagine what I would improvise over those
changes at that moment and use that information for the lead line …sax chorus….shout
chorus. Other times I work from empty space and write what I would improvise in a
lone, free environment. Then I use that material as a basis for development and variation.
In both cases, the melodies I write come directly from the way I improvise. I then find
chords or groups of horizontal notes (not necessarily analyzable in the traditional sense)
that support the melody with the appropriate emotion.
My first arrangements were for the Thad Jones Eclipse in Denmark. One chart, I Hope
This Time Isn't The Last was recorded on TJE, Live at Slukefter. I wish I would have
asked Thad more questions, but being around him, playing his music was a huge lesson
in itself. I wrote several arrangements for the Blue Wisp Big Band trying to copy Thad's
style. An impossible endeavor but again an important learning experience. I also studied
Inside The Score by Ray Wright. I can't recommend this book enough….an analysis of
Sammy Nestico, Thad and Bob Brookmeyer compositions.
For several years in New York I played with a variety of big bands and tried to absorb
information from leader/writers…Maria Schneider, Bob Mintzer, Rich
Shemaria...combined with an always welcome dose of Thad Jones while subbing on
Monday nights at the Vanguard.
As artistic director of the Norrbotten Big Band, I have done a lot of writing in the past ten
years. The NBB is an amazing group of musicians and I have been afforded the luxury of
writing for the same group of players. This enables the development of a band sound and
concept. During this period, I have gravitated in my listening menu towards the
composer's world….orchestral music. I am trying to find ways to incorporate the
elements of expanded form, orchestration, melodic and harmonic development, and
counterpoint into the big band realm without sacrificing the rhythmic interest, energy and
spontaneity of jazz. Starting with an extended bath and study of Sibelius and Bruckner
symphonies, I am now focusing on 20th century composers with Messiaen, Bartok, Berg,
Copland, Lutoslawski, Schoenberg, Ligeti and Dutilleux being current favorites.
My first trumpet teacher was Kermit Simmons. He played with the Isham Jones band in
the late thirties and stayed in the band when Woody Herman took over. The walls of his
studio at Hauer Music were covered with pictures of the early days of the big band era.
We talked about chops and breathing, scales and etudes, but the most important lessons
were how to interpret a melody and the swing feel.
Although, I played in ensembles in high school, I stopped taking lessons and decided to
pursue a career as a hockey player. This dream was ended when I sustained an eye injury
on a breakaway (hooked from behind by an angry defenseman). I decided to pursue
something a little more realistic….jazz musician!
This decision was made with the encouragement and inspiration of my high school band
director Don Durst (Meadowdale High School) and also George Zimmerman, the
superintendent of music for the Dayton public schools. Frank LeFevre was my trumpet
teacher for the last two years of high school and his lessons were aimed at preparing for
college auditions….Arban, scales, the Hummel and Haydn concertos. He was a fantastic
trumpet player and gave me a solid trumpet base for the future.
I enrolled at Bowling Green State University in 1972. Dave Melle ran the big band and
Lou Marini Sr. was also involved. Although, there were no formal jazz studies, Melle
and Marini provided guidance and inspiration. My trumpet teacher was Edwin Betts and
we delved into the world of trumpet literature, orchestral excerpts and transposition. As
with Kermit Simmons, Ed always talked about bringing out the music in every phrase. I
am grateful to have had teachers who went beyond the basics and made me think about
the emotional importance of how music is performed.
Playing loud and in the middle register for a few years with Stan Kenton rewarded me
with serious embouchure problems. This, by the way, was the only negative aspect of
those years. I loved playing with Stan…what a thrill! I had been advised upon leaving
the band that my chops would probably freak out when asked to play other types of
music. This was more than true. In a quintet setting, I was good for about three tunes and
then fatigue set in. You could drive a truck through my aperture. I was living in Malmö,
Sweden at the time and lessons with Leif Bengtsson, a wonderful teacher and performer,
started my long journey back to playing the proper way.
The reason that I can play what I play today is because of Bobby Shew. He has
eliminated the frustration and hopeless feeling that comes from not being able to
technically execute what the creative forces dictate. Through lessons, conversations and
workshops with Bobby, I better understand the concept of breathing, how the muscle
groups function together and how to achieve the optimum relationship between aperture,
buzz and breath. He can be compared to a golf swing coach who observes flaws and
tendencies and then makes corrective suggestionsWhen, after a gig, my chops are not
swollen and bruised and I feel that I played what I heard, it's because of my lessons with
Bobby. And when the condition of my chops is the opposite, it's because I forgot
everything that he said! Bobby is also an incredible player and one of those few guys
that I say "wow….I wish I could play like that!"
During the summer of 1973, I attended a Stan Kenton summer camp. I met Stan's
trumpet players as well as another trumpet player from Ohio, John Harner. John joined
the band a few months later and called me to join the band in June of 1974. My
professional career was launched. Stan's band had always been my favorite band. A
powerful sound that pushed the extremes…..so soft the audience leaned forward to make
sure the band was playing and so loud, in the next moment, that their ribs would vibrate.
I was not the best player Stan could have hired but he liked the fact that I tried different
things and experimented every night. We played a lot of modal music. Soloing on minor
chords for extended periods lead me to chromaticism and establishing emotional
relationships with every note…..vertically, horizontally…..there were no wrong notes. It
was a great experience and a great environment in which to develop.
I left the band in January of 1977 to join the Woody Herman Orchestra. I was fired
after a month and it became obvious to me that I had a lot played in assorted small groups
with Sahib Shihab, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Ed Thigpen, Nils- Henning Ørsted
Pedersen, Bent Jeadig, Idrees Suileman, Erling Kroner and the Crème Fraiche Big Band.
I moved to Malmö, Sweden and began playing all sorts of music from be-bop to totally
free music. I worked with the Swedish Radio Jazz Group, Örjan Falhström and the
jazz/funk group White Orange.
I also played in Denmark with the Danish Radio Band with Thad Jones and later the Thad
Jones Eclipse. This was a dream situation for me as Thad was one of my all-time heroes.
I was also a member of the Ernie Wilkins Almost Big Band. To play with Ernie and
Thad was an honor and an important learning experience for me. I also played in
assorted small groups with Sahib Shihab, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Ed Thigpen, NilsHenning
Ørsted Pedersen, Bent Jeadig, Idrees Suileman, Erling Kroner and the Crème
Fraiche Big Band.
I returned home to Ohio in 1982 and lived in Cincinnati for a few years. I taught at the
College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati with Rick Van Matre and
had a great time playing with Al Nori, Steve Schmidt, John Von Ohlen, Lynn Seaton and
the Blue Wisp Big Band on a regular basis. In 1984 I took a teaching position at the
Berklee College of Music. Some of the musicians in Boston that I played with and
learned from were Steve Rochinski, George Garzone, Bert Seager, Gordon Brisker, Joe
Hunt, Dan Greenspan and Ken Cervenka. I was also able to meet and play with some of
my early trumpet heroes from Buddy Rich's band…Greg Hopkins, Wayne Naus, Jeff
Stout and George Zonce.
Through all of these experiences and travels, I knew eventually that I had to move to
New York City. All of my favorite bands and recordings were from that scene. There is
a special energy one feels in New York unlike any other energy in any other place. I felt
it immediately when I stepped off of the bus on a high school trip to New York. New
York is the place where all of the weirdoes, too intense for their own hometown's local
scene, congregate to confirm, comfort and conspire. So I took the plunge in 1987 and
knew that I would find an incredible group of people who were like minded.
That group included Bob Belden, Joe Lovano, Vic Juris, Fred Hersch, Scott Lee, Marc
Copland, Jim Powell, Maria Schneider, Bob Mintzer, Jay Anderson, Conrad Herwig, Jeff
Hirshfield, Kenny Werner, Greg Osby, Kevin Hays, Rich Shemaria, Bill Stewart, Marcus
Printup, Drew Gress, Billy Kilson, John Fedchok, Gary Peacock, Rick Margitza, Matt
Wilson, Mike Formanek, Gary Smulyan, Jim Snidero, Dennis Irwin, Steve Slagle, John
Riley, Judi Silvano, Larry Grenadier, Barry Ries….the list is infinite.
A few words about Bob Belden and Joe Lovano. Bob and I were separated at birth.
When we met in 1989, it was like brothers being reunited. We have the same favorite
records, inspired by the same musicians and are trying to reach the same illusive level of
energy. He's a true genius…………(a term that is often thrown around loosely and
thereby diminishing its weight… not in Bob's case). He's an amazing saxophonist,
composer (check out Black Dahlia), producer, historian, film maker and visionary.
Joe Lovano is the consummate jazz musician. Unlike so many other musicians today, he
has developed an individual melodic and harmonic voice that is immediately
recognizable. A true improviser, he uses this voice, in the most swingin'est, hippest way,
to make highly emotional statements. And like Monk, Bird, Thad Jones and Trane, Joe's
compositions are derived from his musical voice as well. It's my honor and privilege to
work with Bob and Joe. If it wasn't for their support and interest, I'd still be doing
weddings in Jersey!
Both of them were enormously influential in convincing Blue Note to record me. Joe
produced and played on No Words in 1994 and Bob has been involved in my other
recordings as a player or mastermind producer. I am also extremely grateful to Bruce
Lundvall for showing confidence in me and for giving me complete artistic freedom. In a
time of formula adherence and accountant interference, Bruce showed a lot of courage
and trust when he signed me to Blue Note Records.
It is my pleasure and honor to be the artistic director of the Norrbotten Big Band. I have
held this post since 1996. The NBB is a professional band located in Luleå, Sweden in
the county of Norrbotten. The band is a touring ensemble and specializes in playing
original music which features a crew of great soloists. New arrangements and
compositions are written for our guest soloists. The NBB also functions as the Swedish
Radio Jazz Group and several of the programs each year are recorded by the National
Swedish Radio. The band's producer is Mirka Siwek and she is one of the most energetic
and creative people that I have had the pleasure to work with.
Some of the musicians that have guested with us during the past 10 years are Nils
Landgren, Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Joe Lovano, Bobo Stenson, Chris Potter, Toots
Thielemans, Ulf Wakenius, Linda Petersson, Tomasz Stanko, Scott Kinsey, Bob Belden,
Kenny Werner, Viktoria Tolstoy, Bobby Shew, Conrad Herwig, Gary Smulyan, Putte
Wickman, and Georg Wadenius.
We have also joined forces with the Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra and the wild, crazy
and virtuosic folkmusic group Väsen. Taking our activities with Bob Belden and the
Animation/Imagination band in another direction, Scott Kinsey and I produced a drum'n
bass big band recording called Future Miles. The NBB and the Animation band have
performed this music several times together. One of the performances, at the IAJE
conference in New York in 2000, was documented in the film Boogaloo Road. This film,
by Marianne Söderberg and Runar Enberg, was produced for Swedish television and
detailed the activities of both bands individually and together.
The NBB also sponsors the Artic Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Music Teacher Big Band.
With the NBB musicians as instructors and mentors, these two ensembles meet a few
times each year to rehearse and perform.
All of these activities are funded by the incredibly forward thinking Swedish government
which realizes that culture is one of the basic needs of a healthy and strong
society……..more on this later.
I am affiliated with following universities as a guest teacher
Musikhögskolan i Örebro in Örebro, Sweden
Sibelius Akatemi in Helsinki, Finland
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa
I also have the honor of playing with the American Jazz Institute ensembles several times
a year. The AJI is based in Los Angeles and performs at Claremont-McKenna College.
The mastermind behind the AJI is Mark Masters, a wonderful composer/arranger, who
dares to present concepts and artists that challenge the listener.
Some recent projects have included projects with Grachan Moncur, III and Dewey
The following is a list of musicians, not mentioned above, that I am honored to know, to
share the bandstand with and really dig playing with…..
Teemu Viinikainen, Joe LaBarbera, Derek Oles, Steve Tavaglione, Joachim Milder,
Steve Campos, Michal Miskiewicz, Karl-Martin Almqvist, Bengt Stark, Martin Sjöstedt,
Anders Mogensen, Joe Curiale, Benny Green, Bob Malach, Dana Solt, Ben Schacter,
Marvin Stamm, Timo Hirvonen, Dave Carpenter, Kevin Dean, Jarmo Savolainen, Zach
Danzinger, Jim Trompeter, Jussi Lehtonen ,Woody Witt, Jonas Holgersson, Steve
Grismore, Jay Sollenberger, Marcin Wasilewski, DJ Kingsize, David Dyson, Fred Sturm,
Helge Albin, Lars Togeby, Fredrik Jonsson, Blacknuss, Steve Barnes, the Woodstore
Quintet, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Christian Spering, Gregor Hubner, the amazing Jukkis
Uotila on drums and piano and the members of the Norrbotten Big Band….
Dan Johansson, Håkan Broström, Peter Dahlgren, P.-O. Svanström, Bo Strandberg, Mats
Garberg, Magnus Ekholm, Jan Thelin, Magnus Puls, Bengt Ek, Björn Hängsel, Per
Moberg, Tapio Maunavaara
Every successful dictator/control freak/power monger knows that the masses can be
controlled if the catalysts of freethinking are removed. That is why in any repressive
movement it is the artists, regardless of their race, ethnicity or religious affiliation, that
are neutralized first…either by physical or mental imprisonment. Without the artistic
community and their works, urging society to remain open minded and examine all issues
from all points of view, the controlling powers can easily sell their ideas with little
Artists are scary. They celebrate individualism. They portray the nuances and emotions
of life in abstract terms. Music is the most abstract art form and improvised music
creates the intangible in the moment. An artist's mission is not to entertain although
entertainment can be a desired by-product. Their mission is to give the receiver of the
artistic statement emotions and impressions to reflect upon. Whether the receiver likes or
dislikes the statement is secondary.
This is an enormous point of confusion. Often an artistic statement's worth is judged by
its marketing ability and selling power. Unfortunately, the lower the quality, the higher
the sales. (for a great dissertation on the subject of quality please read Robert Pirsig's
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). Although there are some incredible artists
in the pop music (the Beatles, James Taylor, Steely Dan, Moby, the Police), they are in
the minority. And, in the era of formula bands, the same franchise business groupings
every five miles and the lowest quality food being offered, society is loosing its taste and
appreciation for diversity and quality.
A major reason for this is the stressful everyday with little time available for
contemplation and reflection. Listening to Coltrane at the Village Vanguard or a
Bruckner Symphony is rewarding and enriching in the long term, but it's easier and more
comforting to play something familiar that one can sing along with. And again, there is
nothing wrong with entertainment statements, but the balance is way out of proportion.
The artist's role in society is to remedy that balance by making statements that demand
attention. Statements that inspire the receiver to examine a subject from all angles, that
encourage confidence in one's own interpretation and that encourage flexibility and allow
change in those interpretations. Otherwise, a society will base its group decisions on 10
second sound-bites, half-truths and fear-based initiatives. The loudest voice will be
assumed truthful and, most tragic of all, beauty, the underlying common denominator in
all art, will go unappreciated.
At a workshop in Reno, Nevada a few years back, a gentleman asked me what the point
of Re:Animation Live was…..a Blue Note recording that I can best describe as free
electronica. He said he had listened to the recording several times and still could not
figure out what was going on. He said that he didn't even know if he liked it and had to
come to the workshop to ask me for an explanation. I replied that he had given me (and
Bob Belden) the greatest compliment. Better than great reviews, this is the desired
reaction….a musical statement that requires repeated listenings. In fact, I replied that I
had no idea what the recording was about either. It was a musical description of how six
musicians interpreted their collective life experiences leading to and including that exact
moment. Improvised abstract emotional statements that influence the thought process.
No wonder artists are so feared.
For students sitting in practice rooms wondering what the point is, for music teachers
discouraged that their message may not be valued , for performers who are tired of the
hustle and the travel… please remember …..any thing as feared and uncontrollable as art
must be an incredibly important force and a vital ingredient for a healthy society and cool
place to live.