Viewing entries tagged
jazz videos

Prince! ft. the Institute for Creative Music Collective

This past fall (October, 2016) the Institute for Creative Music (www.ifcmusic.org) headed to Montana for two weeks of workshops and concerts in Missoula and the Flathead Valley, followed by a short stint around Eastern Washington! While we were there, Chris Teal, Chris Ziemba, and myself recorded some new music for our 2016/2017 season! This year's featured composer is none other than Prince. If you follow the IfCM on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ifcmusic/) you may have seen some videos posted before the new year, but I wanted to take a chance to feature them here on my site as well! 

Here's the latest - Chris Teal's arrangement of "Darling Nikki"

 

and a throwback to my arrangement of "The Greatest Romance That's Ever Been Sold"

 

Hope you enjoy - and please share if you like what you hear!

 

- Nick

Blue Bossa featuring Alex Wintz

One of the records that was truly formative for me in my college years was a fantastic duo album between JJ Johnson and Joe Pass titled “We’ll Be Together Again.” I had it as a CD reissue, which was stolen from my car while I was a student at Eastman, up in Rochester, and it’s not easy to find anymore! If you haven’t heard the album you can find it here. 

 

It’s an amazingly intimate session that really shows the virtuosity of both of these musicians. One of the first solos I transcribed off this record was on this Kenny Dorham tune “Blue Bossa.” On the recording from “We’ll Be Together Again” JJ plays with a harmon mute, so I decided to pay homage to JJ here with this arrangement adapted from his!

 

Big thanks to my good friend and amazing musician Alex Wintz for getting together to play a few tunes with me for all of you! Check out that intro he copped straight from Mr. Pass! This was a fun session, indeed!

 

Hope you enjoy, see you next week!  

First Preview! "Conception" Live in Memphis! featuring Nick Finzer and Chris Ziemba

Following up on the heels of the preview video of "Stella by Starlight" is the first track off of the upcoming Digital-Only Release: "Nick Finzer & Chris Ziemba: Live in Memphis"!

Chris and I were amidst a run of concerts and educational workshops around the Southern US back in March of 2016, and set our sights on recording our duos. Chris and I have been playing together since our high school days in the "Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra" until now! We've done a lot of playing together, and I think that the interplay that we've developed provides for some interesting versions of the tunes on this album. 

We stopped in Memphis, Tennessee on our way from Birmingham, Alabama to Little Rock, Arkansas to record at a great local studio: Young Avenue Sound. We had a nice studio audience that afternoon, and of course Chris and I made it a point to enjoy some Memphis BBQ right after! 

This composition is by the pianist George Shearing and has been recorded by many in the history of jazz including Miles Davis. Here's our take on "Conception"!

Let us know what you think in the YouTube comments, and be sure to pay Chris a visit on his Facebook page. 

"Live in Memphis" will be available on Outside in Music (www.outsideinmusic.com) on August 19th. Preorder info coming soon! 

Pop and Jazz, a Marriage since the birth of the Music - Stevie Wonder Cover - Overjoyed

Too many amazing musicians have been leaving us as of late, and it has made me think about trying to show these musicians our love and appreciation while they can still receive it! Most recently we lost the genius of Prince - but another one of the greatest songwriters of the second half of the 20th century is still going strong, and I hope we can continue to appreciate him while he’s still with us! The man I’m talking about is the amazing Stevie Wonder.

The new video for this week features one of my all time Stevie Wonder favorites: “Overjoyed.” I’ve recorded this once before in a duo setting with my good friend and pianist Chris Ziemba. I’ve also played it on tour all over the country in the quartet setting, and it is always a treat to perform. 

In this arrangement I’ve taken the usual format of the song, and put a new spin on it. Changing the meter and adding some additional harmonies, I think this tune translates fantastically across genre boundaries. To me, this song has all the same great melodic qualities of tunes written by the great song writers of the first half the 20th century. Strong melodies and harmonic shapes that lend themselves to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. Stevie Wonder is right up there with Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, etc.

This video features the great musicianship of my longtime collaborators Jimmy Macbride, Chris Ziemba, and Dave Baron. I hope you enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this in the comments, and if you like what you hear, share with your friends! 

Nick Finzer - Songs & Stories Quartet - Maria (Leonard Bernstein) from West Side Story

Maria by Leonard Bernstein; arranged by Nick Finzer

In addition to my band Hear&Now Ive been working on a number of other projects, that not only feature my original music, but some arrangements I’ve done of other peoples music. The concept for my latest quartet project - the Songs & Stories quartet - is to reimagine and recreate some iconic pieces from the jazz repertoire as well as music that has a connection to my life. 

The new video that Im sharing today, features one of these pieces that has been influential on my musical development. This video is an arrangement I did of Leonard Bernsteins composition Maria from the musical West Side Story.

Featuring: Chris Ziemba (piano), Dave Baron (bass) and Jimmy Macbride (drums)

This song has stayed with me since the beginning of my musical upbringing. Some of my earliest memories of elementary school music classes I have include watching the movie version of West Side Story. While I was in middle school, my main focus wasnt actually trombone, but singing. When I was in 7th grade I performed “Maria as part of a musical theatre-themed choir concert. At the time, having a solo piece in the midst of this choir concert seemed like a big deal! And my family remembers it as one of the important moments in my musical beginnings. 

When I was brainstorming repertoire for this new project, I wanted to include music that has a strong personal story connection - and this one certainly has that. There have been a few jazz renditions of this tune (notably by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond), but I think we presented a new take on this beautiful song. If you enjoy the video, I hope youll share it with your communities, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section! 

Until next time, 

- Nick

Solo Jazz Trombone Videos - Started this week!

Greetings All!

I wanted to take a chance to share with everyone, my latest project! I've started a YouTube video series that will feature some solo trombone arrangements of some of my favorite tunes from jazz composers.

The first one features a composition by the great JJ Johnson, his tune

Judy

.

Judy

 was originally recorded by JJ along with Kai Winding on "The Great Kai and JJ" released on Impulse! in 1961.

The arrangement is pretty simple - and opening melodic statement followed by a few improvised choruses and the melody restated. Hope you enjoy! Please do leave feedback in the comments section of the YouTube video, and subscribe to the channel to see the next video!

See ya next time! Happy Superbowl Sunday!

- Nick