Powerhouse Jazz Trumpeter to Perform
Tickets are available at the Paul Creative Arts Box Office, Johnson Theatre, (603) 862-PCAC (7222), Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., online at www.unharts.com and at the door one hour prior to performance. General admission tickets are $8; student/senior citizen $6.
Taylor Haskins ’94 is being hailed as one of the most original new voices on the trumpet today. Downbeat magazine declared him one of “25 Trumpets for the Future.” His latest recordings, “American Dream,” produced by the Sunnyside label, and “Recombination,” produced by Nineteen-Eight Records, have established him as a jazz/composer in the same league with players such as Joe Lovano and Brad Mehldau.
As a sideman, Haskins won a Grammy award in 2005 working Dave Holland on the album, “Overtime.” He is also a long-time member of the revered Guillermo Klein band, Los Gauchos. Haskins continues to play with Holland, and he also gets around town. He’s played with Clark Terry, Joel Harrison’s Large Ensemble, Alan Ferber’s Expanded Music Ensemble, the Jamie Baum Septet, the Andrew Rathburn Quintet, and even the Big Apple Circus, to name a few.
At UNH, Haskins first started studying trumpet as a high school student when he attended the Summer Youth Music School (SYMS).
“I went to SYMS for three summers starting my sophomore year,” says Haskins, who’s from Atkinson, N.H., “and I made some of my best friends there. In fact, I just finished a tour with two of those friends, Mark Shilansky and Joshua Davis. SYMS was a great introduction to the UNH music program. Both Bob Stibler and Dave Seiler lobbied for me, and I got a great scholarship. It all just really clicked.”
At UNH under the tutelage of Stibler, Haskins studied classical trumpet and developed a solid technique, wide knowledge of trumpet literature, and an effective problem-solving approach to practice. Haskins modeled his own daily practice routine on Stibler’s, which meant, at a bare minimum, one hour a day.
“That routine is still with me in a big way,” says Haskins. “At UNH I remember practicing for about four hours a day and then going to band rehearsals. I kept thinking I should take on a second major, but then, I decided I was going to be a player.”
For all four years, under the direction of Dave Seiler, Haskins played trumpet in the UNH Jazz band. “Dave Seiler was really great. So warm and encouraging,” recalls Haskins. “His door was always open. And if he had to run off, you could always pick it up later. He just knows the history of the music. He’s a walking encyclopedia.”
It was through Seiler and the UNH Jazz Band that Haskins got to know and learn from renowned jazz trumpeter Clark Terry.
“Clark Terry is a huge part of my existence,” says Haskins. “I got to interact with him personally as well as musically. It was just really special to talk with him. He even came over to my parent’s house for dinner.”
When Haskins recalls Terry’s instruction, it’s still with the utmost admiration: “His musicality and his life are amazing. To offer a few examples, he was the first African-American staff musician at NBC, and while I may know a particular phrase from a Duke Ellington recording, he knows it from being in Ellington’s band. Clark Terry brings everything to his teaching, and it’s really powerful.”
After graduating from UNH, Haskins moved to New York City and earned a graduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Immediately, he became immersed in the work of being a professional musician. Yes, there were years of zipping from one gig to another, but the city continues to offer him the opportunity to experience jazz at its highest level. Put simply, Haskins says, “There’s nothing else like it.”
Now working with his own quintet, Haskins is performing and recording his compositions. “I write to convey a mood or a feeling and then the players bring it out,” says Haskins. “I think that music touches people because of the intention behind it. A lot of times bands are thrown together for an event, and audiences can feel that. When a band is full of strong, focused individuals, it’s different. There’s a spark when people get together with the right intention.”
New Hampshire also infuses his music. One composition is even titled, “Live Free or Die.” “New Hampshire has that kind of diehard passion that America was founded on,” says Haskins. “It’s a strong statement, and I think it’s great.”
In addition, during his visit to campus, Haskins will conduct a master class.
For this coming performance, his quintet comprises Ben Monder on guitar, Jeff Hirshfield on drums, and Chris Lightcap on bass. “This will be a great night,” says Haskins. “It’s a powerhouse group.”
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