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Milwaukee: Eastside Jazzfest, WCM Residency Part 2

Posted on March 5th, 2011

I always have a ball in my hometown of Milwaukee. The Eastside Jazzfest was a great success all around, and my quartet set was enjoyable as the cats were burnin’:

This festival, in its second year of presentation by the estimable organization Milwaukee Jazz Vision, featured a vibrant cross section of the Milwaukee and regional jazz scene, with emphasis on the newer faces on the scene. It was the first time hearing many of these players for me, and I was impressed with the level of playing and a lot of cool concepts that were being put down instrumentally and compositionally. Milwaukee Jazz Vision intends to revitalize the Milwaukee jazz scene through their efforts, and I think they are going to do just that! Support them at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Milwaukee-Jazz-Vision/156885517694623?sk=wall (Facebook page); http://www.milwaukeejazzvision.org/ (website).

Education is a integral part of Milwaukee Jazz Vision’s mission. So it was natural for school groups to be represented on the Eastside Jazzfest’s program, including the group I mentor as artist in residence for the Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music’s Jazz Institute program for high school age players.The Jazz Institute ensembles’ performances at Eastside Jazzfest was the culmination of the week’s activities I shared with them, including rehearsals, classes and lessons, and performances at local schools and senior centers. We had a great time. Seeing “my kids” perform on the big stage and interact backstage with the older cats at the Jazzfest really reminded me of my own start in Milwaukee and jazz. It’s incredibly touching and great to see, and it means a lot to be a part of this chain of tradition.

WCM Jazz Institute:
http://milwaukeejazzvision.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10&Itemid=19

NYU Ensemble News

Posted on February 13th, 2011

The new semester at New York University has brought a lot of turnover in my Artist Ensemble, but the quality hasn’t suffered; on the contrary, I’ve got one of my strongest lineups yet. You are definitely going to be hearing about some of these guys! Joining returning trombonist Ray Mason is the all new group of Tom Finn, alto sax; Perry Smith, guitar; Julian Waterfall Pollack, piano;  Youn Chul Kim, bass, and  Andreas Klein, drums. We’ll be performing at the famed NYC Village Vanguard this coming Wednesday, Feb. 16th at 5:30 for a special presentation called “The Village and All That Jazz”, sponsored by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and the American Music Project. More info about this gig at: http://newyork.nearsay.com/nyc/west-village-greenwich-village/arts-culture-join-us-village-all-jazz. We will also by playing another iconic NYC jazz mecca, the Blue Note NY, for Jazz Brunch on Sunday, April 3rd.

Brian Lynch on NPR “Piano Jazz”

Posted on January 23rd, 2011

I’m getting some nice feedback about my episode of NPR’s “Piano Jazz” , which has been airing on radio stations throughout the country over the past week. Guest host (and fellow Milwaukeean) Jon Weber did a great job with my music as a virtuoso duo pianist (the guy is fricking amazing, check him out!) and a well researched, affable host, making for a great experience and (I think) a pretty hip show. I was blown away to get a very nice voicemail from Marian McPartland (legendary pianist and the creator/regular host of the show) complimenting our rendition of one of her pieces on the program. You can check the show out online – here’s the description and link:

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/21/133120111/brian-lynch-on-piano-jazz?ft=1&f=1039

January 21, 2011

Trumpeter, composer and bandleader Brian Lynch brings a masterful, wide-ranging sound to this episode of Piano Jazz with guest host Jon Weber. Lynch was born on Sept. 12, 1956, in Milwaukee, Wisc., where he studied at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music with Buddy Montgomery and Melvin Rhyne. After a short stint on the West Coast, Lynch came to New York in 1981; he spent the next decade working under some of the heaviest names in jazz, including the Horace Silver Quintet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Phil Woods and Benny Golson. In the late ’90s, Lynch began playing in — and eventually arranging, composing and directing — Afro-Caribbean ensembles. This work culminated in Simpatico (The Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project), which won a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2007.

Lynch continues to perform, tour and record, and has recently added teaching university and master classes to his resume. In this session, Lynch sizzles with accompaniment by Jon Weber on a set of mostly original tunes, with a bit of Cole Porter and a tribute to Marian McPartland.

Lynch kicks the session off with a few original tunes devoted to trumpet innovators past: “Woody Shaw,” “Tribute to Blue (Mitchell)” and “One for Mogie,” which recalls the hard bop sound of the great Lee Morgan.

The Latin side of jazz, specifically the Afro-Caribbean, has occupied a sizable slice of Lynch’s performing and recording career for the past 15 years. “Que Seria La Vida?” (“What Would Life Be?”) is a slow-burning bolero written by Lynch with words by Lila Downs. Weber keeps time as Lynch’s trumpet smolders in this soulful tune.

Lynch and Weber pay tribute to the creator of Piano Jazz, Marian McPartland, with their faithful rendition of “Portrait of Dizzy,” a tune she improvised on the spot during a 1985 episode with guest Dizzy Gillespie. Weber holds down the changes as Lynch plays a beautiful lead with bell-like clarity. McPartland’s original take was just more than two minutes in length, and Lynch and Weber enjoy stretching out over the tune for five and a half minutes.

“Wow, she improvised that?” Lynch exclaims. “Great harmonic sense.”

“How hip is Marian?” Weber adds.

The session ends with Cole Porter’s “So in Love” played at breakneck speed. Weber sets a quick tempo for Lynch’s opening solo, then pushes the accelerator to the floor for a few bars of blazing keyboard work. Lynch follows with a swift line of his own, showing his own considerable chops. It’s a playful game of catch between two veteran players to close this installment of Piano Jazz.

Originally recorded Nov. 18, 2010. Originally broadcast Jan. 18, 2011.

Gig Alert! Unsung Heroes And NYU Ensemble Double Bill @ NYC’s Zinc Bar

Posted on December 3rd, 2010

A heads up about a special night in the Village (Greenwich, that is) coming up very soon. My “Unsung Heroes” group ,will be playing for one night only on Wednesday, December 8th at the Zinc Bar, a frequent BLJ hangout over the years now in a new location and with a real piano! The group, featuring alto sax ace Vincent Herring along with an all star cast, will be playing the material from my brand new recording “Unsung Heroes” (available online at http://brianlynch.bandcamp.com/). Opening for Unsung Heroes on the early set will be my NYU Artist Ensemble playing some of my “hits”.

I’ll be giving away 10 download certificates for music from my newly released “Unsung Heroes” project at the show. I’ll be giving away 5 after the NYU early set and 5 after the first set of Unsung Heroes. First come first served! Come see me after the sets and I’ll lay it on you.

Double Bill! – Brian Lynch “Unsung Heroes” Project and NYU Artist Ensemble at NYC’s Zinc Bar

Zinc Bar: 82 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012 (212) 477-9462 www.zincbar.com

7-9 PM: Brian Lynch NYU Artist Ensemble

Brian Lynch – trumpet, instructor/leader
Raymond Mason – trombone
Jinhee Lee – guitar
Michael Eckroth – piano
Ku Oh – bass
Sangmin Lee – drums

9:30 PM – 2 AM: Brian Lynch “Unsung Heroes” Project

Brian Lynch – trumpet
Vincent Herring – alto sax
Alex Hoffman – tenor sax
Rick Germanson – piano
Luques Curtis – bass
Pete Van Nostrand – drums

Unsung Heroes Vol. 1 – 3 out now! Download at http://brianlynch.bandcamp.com

Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music Jazz Institute

Posted on November 8th, 2010

I’m writing from one of my favorite places to be, one of the rooms in the basement of Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Conservatory Of Music, where I spent thousands of hours shedding, playing, and learning  as a student there in the late 1970s, and where I’ve returned as Artist In Residence for their Jazz Institute program. Over the next few days, I’ll be working with and mentoring the young players of the Institute, giving workshops and concerts in the Milwaukee area public schools, and working on the ongoing agenda of the Institute with WCM Jazz Faculty head Mark Davis and the rest of the WCM Jazz staff. I am truly looking forward to my stints here and we’re going to be working hard to make a difference  and help support this estimable institution, which played such a large role in forming me musically.