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Ed Neumeister’s Assembláge Jazz Orchestra at Birdland in NYC
Ed Neumeister has composed for various classical and jazz ensembles in the US, Europe, South America, Australia and Israel and performed extensively around the World. Following a stint scoring films in Los Angeles, Neumeister returned to the New York area where he has been active as a composer, performer, educator, currently teaching at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School, New York University and City College of New York, as well as William Paterson University in New Jersey. As a leader, Neumeister has recorded nine albums, ranging from large ensembles to small groups to solo trombone. Neumeister’s arrangement for the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1992. He recorded multiple albums in Europe, leading large ensembles and small bands; he also wrote for various jazz ensembles, along with composing classical chamber pieces and large-scale concert works – including his Fantasy for Cello & Big Band, as well as an acclaimed arrangement of Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4 for a quartet of trombones. Ed Neumeister received a 2020 Composer Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The major project the trombonist is currently planning is a revolutionary and unique concept, with “a diverse and inclusive jazz orchestra called Assembláge.” Speaking to the divisions of our time and how the jazz community can help to heal us as a nation, he explains that “in these days, more than ever, we need to come together as a humanity. Music can be the metaphor for life when people from different backgrounds and sensibilities come together to act as one voice with each of the individual voices contributing their own musical personality into the common goal of the music of the moment, whether in an improvisatory or notated context.” He describes – perhaps tantalizingly so – the music he is preparing for the orchestra as “wide-scope: Schoenberg meets Monk meets Sun Ra, with a little Lutoslawski and James Brown thrown in for spice.” By focusing on racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, Neumeister hopes his orchestra, with original compositions, will uniquely contribute to the healing so many desire. The orchestra started rehearsing in the summer of 2019, with one rehearsal in spring 2020 before the Corona virus dented his plans. The world debut of Assembláge is scheduled for April 3, 2022 at the Birdland Jazz club.
Saxes: Ben Kono (Sop, Alto & Flute), Caroline Davis (Alto & Fl), Adam Kolker (Ten & Clar), Hillai Govreen (Ten & Cl), Jason Marshall (Bari & Bs Clar)
Trumpets: Liesl Whitaker, Augie Haas, Diego Urcola, Freddie Hendrix
Trombones: James Burton, Ron Wilkins, Deborah Weisz, Jennifer Hinkle
Guitar: Pete McCann
Piano: Neal Kirkwood
Contra Bass: Andy McKee
Drums: Jon Wikan
Composed, arranged and conducted by trombonist Ed Neumeister