I started playing the trumpet in the fifth grade and began playing professionally in high school. I studied formally with Pittsburgh Symphony trumpeters Charles Hois, Roger Sherman and Frank Ostrowski, and briefly with New York city freelance artist Bob McCoy, formerly of the Doc Severinsen-led Tonight Show band.
I discovered Miles Davis while playing in my high school big band. The first Davis album I heard was the incendiary On the Corner; frankly, I have not been the same since. Shortly thereafter, I heard him perform in Pittsburgh at the old Syria Mosque with his Agharta band, opening for Herbie Hancock's Chameleon-era Headhunters band. At the same time, I was heavily into Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, and discovering Stravinsky, Bartok, Subotnick, Messiaen, and Basie, etc. From Davis and Hendrix I realized that an electric guitar/trumpet was nothing more than an amplified acoustic instrument, so I began to imagine how I could do it.
I eventually ended up traveling, playing nearly every night for about eight years in a series of funk and fusion bands, and even played for several months in Atlantic City casinos! This experience led me into theTower of Power, Earth Wind and Fire, and early Prince and Cameo. At this time I started using the electric (amplifed acoustic) trumpet through a wah pedal for soloing.
After leaving the road, I attended Carnegie Mellon University where I earned my B.F.A. in composition. I continued playing trumpet professionally in Pittsburgh and for school ensembles, and started composing electroacoustic pieces with processed trumpet. At Carnegie Mellon, I met Roger Dannenberg, who introduced me to his MIDI trumpet interface. After C.M.U., I went to the Eastman School of Music to pursue an M.A. in composition. At Eastman, I discovered that (electric)trumpeter/composer Jon Hassell was an alum with a Masters in composition. I continued composing electroacoustic works with processed and now MIDI trumpet, and started recording and performing with colleagues Michael Demurga (Spleenclutch), David Rogers (In Your Ear festival) and Brannon Hungness and John Bergstrom's Oblivion Ensemble. After an epiphany of sorts, I concluded I should more seriously embrace my passion for the MIDI/Electric trumpet.
I then entered the Ph.D. program in composition and music theory at the University of Michigan. One of the first faculty members I met was Stephen Rush, who invited me to join his Digital Music Ensemble. D.M.E. enabled me to compose and perform with electronic instruments and performers; that year we performed and recorded with Blue Gene Tyranny. I also met Ed Sarath, the Director of Jazz Studies, and joined his Creative Arts Orchestra, an improvising orchestra. The following year we performed with Gregg Bendian at the Knitting Factory. I continued to compose electroacoustic works with processed and MIDI trumpet and co-founded the amazing Maschina, a four-piece rock/funk/prog/punk/glam/jazz band that was spawned by C.A.O. Maschina extensively toured the region with great success, played the Knitting Factory several times and eventually re-located to Chicago for one year before flaming out. For me, Maschina embodied a dream that started when I heard On the Corner: to form a rock band that created and performed music of the highest caliber, while replacing the traditional guitar and keyboard parts with electric trumpet; it worked ecstatically. Post Maschina, Alana Rocklin and I performed and recorded with The All Rectangle, a then Chicago-based trio playing a jazz/electronica/drum 'n bass hybrid.
For many years I performed--acoustic and electric--with Stephen Rush and Quartex at the Canterbury House, the Episcopal ministry on the University of Michigan campus. We've performed for Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Houston, Texas, with Pauline Oliveros at her Deep Listening Space in Kingston, NY,, and with Hans Roedelius at the Detroit Institute of Art. We explored the music of Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Frisell, and our own, in a liturgical setting known as the Jazz Mass, which continues to this day.
I recently completed the solo recording This Electric Trumpet comprised of polyrhythmic/metric, turntable-based drum loops and e-trumpet: only. My most recent band is a trio of myself, cellist Katri Ervamaa and percussionist Michael Gould. We're called E3Q and our public debut was for Edgefest 2005 at The Firefly club in Ann Arbor. My current e-trumpet setup now foregoes foot pedal processing and has moved entirely to a laptop. I avoided moving to a laptop for years because, you know, everybody was doing it, but I'm convinced now that software is infinitely more flexible, vast. amd ergonomic. So, now I'm running live into Logic and MAX/MSP, and hope to explore Lisa sometime soon. My second solo album, This Bionic Trumpet, is now released and available via download from all the major outlets.