April 16th Performance - Trumpet and Bass Duo Mixes Classical and Jazz

04/09/2012

Contributed by Molly O'Shea Polk

On Monday April 16 at 8:15pm in Ithaca College’s Hockett Recital Hall, trumpeter Frank Gabriel Campos and string bassist Nicholas Walker will be joined by Diane Birr, piano, Harold Reynolds, trombone, and Gregory Evans, percussion, in a colorful concert that mixes skilled classical performance with the freedom and spontaneity of jazz.

The concert will open with the Ithaca College Trumpet Ensemble, semi-finalists at the 2012 National Trumpet Competition, playing ‘Fantasia’ by Eric Ewazen, a professor of composition at Juilliard. Campos, Reynolds and Birr will follow with Ewazen's hauntingly beautiful ‘An Elizabethan Songbook’. Originally written for voices, the piece was transcribed for trumpet, trombone, and piano by the composer.

As a trumpet and bass duo, Frank Campos and Nicholas Walker have been performing concerts together since 2006. Both are accomplished in many styles, periods, and genres including classical and jazz, and the duo’s repertoire reflects their influences and interests. They are known for covering a wide variety of material with a distinctly original and creative approach.

The duo’s arrangement of George Gershwin's ‘Three Preludes’ works so perfectly for trumpet and bass that the listener is left wondering how these two instruments can cover all of the original piano notes. The famous middle prelude, which Gershwin called “a blues lullaby”, seems as if it were written especially for trumpet. The duo’s arrangement of ‘Bess, You is My Woman Now’ is really a two person version of Gershwin’s full orchestra score pared to its essence. Campos calls these little pieces “haiku covers”. “At any given moment, Nicholas and I are choosing the specific notes
and rhythms that most clearly define the piece. Like Asian calligraphy or Picasso’s single line drawings, a few perfectly chosen notes can suggest a lot. It’s the haiku sensibility applied to music. We take material that attracts us in some way and we make it our own. It is an artistic process that is very satisfying. In the end, it is all about communicating emotion.”

The duo will perform ‘Kathelin Gray’ composed by legendary jazz artists Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny, in which the trumpet and bass engage in a scripted dialogue that allows the freedom to improvise in the same way as two actors improvising a scene. Also on the program is the ethreal second movement from J.S. Bach’s Sonata II for Flute and Continuo, BWV 1034. “We are not being disrespectful to Bach,” says Campos, about taking established works and arranging them for the duo. “We think that when you hear it played by different instruments, you hear something new in the music, something fresh. Bach would have been OK with this, he did it all the time.”

Percussionist Greg Evans will join the duo for unique covers of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happier than the Morning Sun’ and Grammy Award winner Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’. Also on the program are two Latin jazz classics, Chick Corea's ‘Armando's Rhumba’ and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘Chega de Saudade‘, also known as ‘No More Blues’.

The concert will take place on Monday April 16, 2012 at 8:15PM in the Hockett Family Recital Hall on the Ithaca College campus. The concert is free and open to the public.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the School of Music at 607-274-3717.

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