composer, conductor, trombone soloist

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New York, Los Angeles, Stubenberg, Vienna, USA, Austria
Ed Neumeister’s profile is the result of long and deep experience. As a performer he has been at the forefront of Jazz for more than 40 years developing a unique voice. Having also worked with high level classical orchestras and ensembles nurtured his focus on conducting and composing. He knows what the musicians need because he was there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I wonder if the audience has any idea how much time goes into preparing for one 90-minute set?

For me, it means building and strengthening the muscles of the embouchure so that I am able to execute the crazy ideas that pop into my head as easily at the end of the gig as the beginning. Although…… I know I play, sometimes, more “music” when the chops are hurt’n and stiff. Can’t rely on the fancy schmancy, so I have to rely on pure musical ideas without fluff. What a concept…….

In other words, I need to build endurance, flexibility and range. When I was a busy freelance player in New York, I was “working”, playing the trombone almost every day, so the basic maintenance was not an issue. All of the basic maintenance could be taken care warming up for each rehearsal or gig, plus the actual music played during the gig, whatever that was. Consequently, in those days practicing was about getting better, improving and working on the music that I was playing on my gigs.

Now-a-days, my musical life is filled with activities outside the trombone even though I try to play as much as I can, but to be honest, I only keep the chops in a place that can be tuned-up relatively fast and in a place where I can play a “normal” gig without chop endurance issues.

Preparing for a jazz gig is something else of course. Each of the guys contributed a piece and we’ll be playing four of my pieces. The goal is to learn each piece so that one can be free with it. So, I have four new pieces to learn and I have to learn, relearn or “bring back” my pieces.

I first play through the melodies over and over so they are absorbed and memorized, then move on to the harmonies where I start with the harmonic chord root and function movement. All this is done with a metronome playing on 2 & 4 for faster pieces, even st8s pieces and on quarter notes on the slower pieces. If there is something that doesn’t flow, then I bring down the tempo to an easily playable tempo and gradually bring the tempo up to the real tempo. Analyzing the harmonic rhythm or general tonal centers is also important.

The goal is to be free in the form so that the ideas flow freely. The maintenance work mentioned early helps to insure that the ideas are executed through the instrument.

My goal as an improviser is to “play” like a composer. In this case that means applying compositional material from the piece of the moment into a development, while at the same time interacting with the other players. Usually the interaction is with one of the other players sometimes two and occasionally with all those playing at the time.

The Quintet Includes: Bob Mintzer – Tenor Sax, Peter Erskine – Drums, John Beasley – Piano & Edwin Livingaston – Bass.

Thursday September 9 at Vitello’s in Studio City CA.
Vitello's Reservations & Info: (818) 769-0905
4349 Tujunga Ave. Studio City CA 91604

Reservations are suggested.
Hope to see you there/then.


New Reflection review found

Just came across this review, which I haven't seen before>

Ed Neumeister | ArtistShare (2007)

By Celeste Sunderland
CD/DVD Reviewer
Joined AAJ in 2003

Celeste makes pillows for Futopia, her mother's store on Kent Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Combining Ed Neumeister's loose, flowing trombone lines with the organized counterpart of a tightly sewn rhythm section, a vibrant, balanced calm permeates Reflection. Mimicking the natural patterns of a day or a life, the album's rhythmic energy shifts smoothly within a single tune, or from track to track. The result never seems unwarranted; in fact, unexpected moments regularly pique interest, like when the chimes glint off Fritz Pauer's piano lines during "It Was After Rain That the Angel Came, composed by bassist Drew Gress.
Each player contributed one track to the album, and the leader filled in the rest. Drummer John Hollenbeck's "Coping Song, written on September 12, 2001, presents an interesting test of time and the musicians' own relationship with it. A syncopated beat plucked out simultaneously on bass and piano underlies convoluted sounds created by a muted trombone. Neumeister makes his instrument speak a bluesy lament—talking, wailing, searching, seeking—all comprehensible on a certain human level. The dense five-note loop eases into the sparsely notated opening of the title track, played in the high range of the piano, then quickly releases its breath into a luminescent percussive shimmer by Hollenbeck. The relaxing effect is welcome after the earlier tenseness.
Neumeister's compositions have an alacrity made apparent by this particular combination of players. They bring a level of vivacity to the arrangements, pounding hard, but also mingling amongst each other with confidence and authority.
Though many tracks meander slowly through contemplative terrain, many of them bust into high-energy displays. The opening "Trees features maelstroms of big, showy energetic solos from each player. Neumeister takes the lead, flittering around with sophisticated and gleeful buoyancy, easily pulling himself into and out of a variety of situations. Gress continues the enthusiasm, brandishing a deft hand over his bass; Pauer adds dramatic passion, jostling the piano keys about before embarking on an intrepid journey to the summit. Hollenbeck plays rumbling percussion that recalls acrobatics. It all culminates in a firecracker finale.
Track listing: Trees; It Was After the Rain That the Angel Came Down; Osmosis; Coping Song; Reflection; Yanagumi; Lumuria; Gobblers Nob.
Personnel: Ed Neumeister: trombone; John Hollenbeck: drums, percussion; Drew Gress: bass; Fritz Pauer: piano.

Style: Modern Jazz