How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
An album like “Ultraviolence”, or the previous project “Coldest Memories” wouldn’t have been possible without the latest advances in music production and the internet. The entire vision couldn’t be produced just 15 years ago because the technology didn’t exist. I had it in my ear for decades but finally now it’s possible. The internet alone has made it possible to collaborate with many highly talented artists worldwide at the press of a button. Christian Denis (a.k.a. “Mr. Moods”) from Montreal is a perfect example of this capability. Goal wise the answer is easy: To broaden the scope of the lead trumpet player/soloist and break out of the big band and jazz standards rut. Nu-Jazz, Acid-Jazz, even Sulphuric Acid Jazz are all great descriptions of the Nu-Way.
Of your touring and gigs so far in your career, do any stand out as being particularly memorable or defining moments?
Tough question. Having had the good fortune to play on the Blues circuit for 17 years it afforded so many unique concerts to perform at. Particularly while playing with Bobby “Blue” Bland for 10 years. I would say our series that included several concerts with Gregg Allman, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Albert King and James Brown were the most memorable. Another top favorite was Spoleto Jazz Fest with Hugh Masekela. What a joyous player. All of these shows were in the 1980’s. Recording with gospel artists Kirk Franklin & Fred Hammond on Kirk’s “Nu Nation Project” album was very rewarding as well.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
I actually knew I’d at least try to be a professional trumpet player while in the 4th grade. I was immediately struck with the love of the axe. It wasn’t until high school and later college at North Texas State that I thought I might be able to actually pull it off. Recording my own album was a rather lofty goal. So lofty in fact I laughed at even entertaining the thought. And yet that too has managed to happen.
Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?
Well getting a daughter grown and out of high school and into college in one piece certainly gives me a sense of accomplishment. But without a question that would be aviation. In 1995 I pursued that love and took my first flying lesson at age 40. I’ve been a pilot ever since and currently work as a pilot instructor for a major aircraft manufacturer. My first jet type rating was in the Learjet 60 (hence the name LR-60) and later the Challenger 300 which I instruct in today. Flying WW II aircraft is the most fulfilling though. Both the B-25 and T-6 Texan are very thrilling aircraft to fly.
What would your top “desert island” classic albums be, regardless of genre… the albums you turn to time after time for your own personal enjoyment and inspiration?
Three choices immediately come to mind, two from Miles Davis. On the Corner and Get Up With It, which I still consider to be 40 years ahead of its time. And lastly, Captain Beefheart’s album Clear Spot .
If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history… alive or dead… and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?
Imagine what it would be like to talk with your family’s patriarch who first set foot in America. You would know who he is and he knows who you are. Fascinating. Especially if you know he arrived 375 years ago.