Thomas Erdmann has an article published in The International Trumpet Guild Journal

Professor of Music Thomas Erdmann had an article published in the professional trumpet journal.

Professor Thomas Erdmann in the Department of Music had an article published in the October 2020 issue of The International Trumpet Guild Journal.

The article, “Being that Peacock: Jason Palmer,” is about Berklee College of Music and freelance jazz trumpet artist Jason Palmer.

Thomas Erdmann, professor of music

You have to wonder why Downbeat still bothers to review trumpeter, composer, and college professor Jason Palmer’s CDs. They’ve reviewed six, giving them all the coveted four or four-and-a-half star rating, including recent albums “Sweet Love” and “Rhyme and Reason.” With such constant praise you know they get it: Palmer is an exceptionally talented musician.

All reviewers all impressed. Jon Ross wrote, “Palmer is an exciting player – achieving pinpoint focus in his attack one minute, turning his concrete bebop lines into caramel, sliding through pitches and bending them to his will the next.” Matt Collar, in praising Palmer’s Minnie Riperton tribute album, “Take a Little Trip,” noted, “What’s so great here is how well Palmer walks the line between romantic slow-jam R&B and harmonically challenging modal jazz improvisation… The result is an album that, while showcasing a respect and deep knowledge of Riperton’s music, is first and foremost a forward-thinking jazz album.”

Palmer, while garnering all of this praise, still has an image problem. Noted critic Thom Jurek observed, “Despite having a well-deserved reputation among other musicians as a disciplined and inventive improviser, composer, and trumpeter, Jason Palmer hasn’t exactly been a household name.”

Maybe the reason Palmer’s name hasn’t spread is because he’s so strongly active in his Boston community. Not only is he an assistant professor of ensembles and brass at the Berklee College of Music and teaches at the New England Conservatory (NEC), but he’s also worked for almost 20 years as the house band leader every weekend at the city’s famous Wally’s Jazz Club. Two of his many Massachusetts community awards include being named a Fellow in Music Composition by the MA Cultural Council, and named to the inaugural class of the Boston Artist in Residence Fellowship in Composition. Recently he received a CMA New Jazz Works grant for 2019.

As a professor, Palmer has held past positions at Harvard University and the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. When not working locally, Palmer tours internationally and has given master classes in about 40 countries, like Canada, France, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, the United Kingdom, and in about 40 states such as Alaska and California, to list just a few.

Born in High Point, N.C., Palmer’s strong abilities have been described by Downbeat as drawing “easily from many wells – lightning Freddie Hubbard riffs, Kenny Wheeler squibs, sandpapered Don Cherry blasts – all of a piece in his bobbing, lilting narrative.” For these and other reasons jazz greats such as Ravi Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Lee Konitz, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Kendrick Oliver’s Count Basie-centric big band, Greg Osby, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Mark Turner, as well as rapper and activist Common, have called upon Palmer’s amazing abilities to play in their own bands. Past honors include winning the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition, and in 2007 being named by Downbeat as one of the “Top 25 trumpeters of the Future.” Still young, let’s hope this article starts to improve Palmer’s notice.