Fifty Years!

Tomorrow marks fifty years (yep - 50!) of playing the Trumpet.

Also referred to as “the humiliating mistress” this instrument continues to humble me… each and every day. This makes me think of the comments by the late (and great) Dizzy Gillespie:

“Some days you put the Horn to your lips and every thing works - and you win. Other days you put the Horn to your lips and nothing works… the Horn wins. This goes on, and on… and on… and then you die. And the Horn Wins

Beautiful Dizzy X

the Beatnik Preachers...

2019 will see the launch, inaugural performances and recordings of my newly formed quartet, the Beatnik Preachers. A twist on Jazz and Beat Poetry combining my love for improvisation and the spoken word. The project is not an attempt to re-invent ‘the wheel’ but it is indeed fitting some White-Wall Tyres to the Jazz-mobile.

The project will be launched at a private event (invitation only) in late February 2019. The quartet features: Tony King (double bass), Robbie Mercer (drums), Joel Smithard (piano) and yours truly on Trumpet and Spoken Pictures (poetry).

the Beatnik Preachers - musically evocative, lyrically provocative… Stay tuned

Clifford Brown - Continuously Humbled

I grew up through my 20’s idolising the great jazz trumpeters. None more so than Clifford Brown. He died in a car accident at only 25 yet left an incredible legacy of recordings, through which I am still working. Revisiting some transcriptions of his solos today and the humility is once again profound; 1953 until his death a few years later he was on fire! If I get to play even a portion of the voice leading, rhythmic interest and harmonic outlines that Clifford did then I’ll be very grateful. Until then, the humility continues… Thank you Clifford x


Trumpet through a Ribbon...

My 1976 OLDS Recording is a beautiful sounding Horn; not too bright or shrill. Recording for a Sydney artist's upcoming release and have opted for the OPR Ultra-Mod Rocket Ribbon as the microphone. Running through one of my AVALON 737SP modified valve units (on High Gain of course!) the tone is thick and moody but still with an upper presence. A little boost at 1.2k and another at 10k and the sound was there. A touch of compression. DONE!

Trumpet Ribbon.jpg

Does this count ?

I’m usually posting about gear that allows us to colour or process a signal but none of the chain is very useful without something in front of the microphone. How about this...

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

I am utterly besotted. How absolutely gorgeous is “she?” So now I need about $7.5k AU... #hornfancy

I hereby invite the Universe to provide me with the means to own this beautiful instrument :)

My Two Mistresses...


Since the age of 7 I've had an affair with the Trumpet. At 15 I entered my first recording studio and fell in love with the art of recording and all it's machinations.

Finding a balance has always proven problematic for me, especially over the last two decades where folks have been more than happy to pay me six times what they'd pay for a Jazz gig on the Horn and have me record, mix or master their performances. This is still essentially the same, with musicians being paid around the same performance fees that we were thirty years ago; sort of depressing isn't it?

But as life see-saws and weighing up the need to prioritise finances over artistic indulgence alters the scales it appears the balance is beginning to change. I am managing to find small pockets of time between parenting and engineering to devote to practice.

Today I bought a new stand for the Horn so 'she' can sit alongside me whenever I'm engineering. Within arms reach like the rest of my analogue hardware, so is now the first love of my life; and the affair continues...

Mystery to Mastery

As a trumpet player I am only too aware of the immense amount of time required to practise such an instrument in order to attain a high level of accomplishment. After 12 years essentially focusing on other things, such as a son and a daughter it appears I now have time once again. It has been a humbling experience as I re-tread the path so well-travelled for many many years in my efforts to attain those heights again, although I do seek to surpass them this time around. "Mystery to Mastery" is an excellent publication and method designed by Australian trumpeter Greg Spence. If you're seriously into brass, any horn at all, then you'd better check out Greg's site:

Stevie Paige gives me the Blues

Since having mixed and mastered Stevie's award-winning album "Welcome to the Big Time" I've been doing quite a few shows with her, a few as a band but mostly as a duo. I'm loving it and get to play the beloved horn again - the Olds '76 Recording is such a richly coloured trumpet and as a solo instrument with Stevie's material it's perfect. We recently took part in the national "Performer of the Year" series, making it to the finals. If you'd like to catch one of our shows check Stevie's page via the Artists Links, here at ToKwerX.