PATRICK HESSION WOWS THE 2012 ITG AUDIENCE!
The Boss was smiling down on Patrick and Glenn Kostur after Patrick played Glenn's arrangement of ANGEL EYES with the house big band at the ITG conference. Patrick was completely OFF MIC - he played acoustically just filling the hall with sound... and the audience loved it.
This is a chart Glenn had wanted to write for MF for years, but it never fully materialized until a few weeks before the convention. We got special permission to video the tune, with the camera at the sound booth out in the middle of the hall about 80 feet from the stage. Yes, Patrick took the optional high D on the shout! Be sure to listen for the audience member who summed up the performance in one word before the chart ended, right after the four-octave glissando just past the four minute mark. You can clearly hear someone exclaim, "DAMN!" ...and then you hear the audience crack up!
Here's a side story about this performance that the audience was not aware of at the time. Patrick came out on stage expecting to find his music on the stand, but in the confusion of multiple soloists and lots going on, there was NO STAND AND NO MUSIC! So when the band kicked off the tune he just shrugged his shoulders, picked up his horn and started playing! No one ever knew the difference and Patrick nailed it.
Patrick plays the MF STC trumpet we designed specifically for him a few years ago. This is one of our most popular models, designed for extreme lead trumpet playing but also great for all around work too. This is the lightest Monette Bb trumpet we have ever made, but you will notice Patrick's sound - as recorded way out in the hall and completely off mic - is as big as a house!
Patrick is available for clinics and concerts, and he has an excellent website with videos, pictures, schedule information and more. Congratulations on the amazing job at the ITG conference Patrick! Dave Monette
Patrick plays with the Lafayette Citizens Band for the Fourth of July!
Hession prepares for his trumpet solo Monday behind a giant American flag, before going on with the Lafayette Citizens Band during the Stars and Stripes celebration for the Fourth of July.
YouTube Channel - HESSIONSSESSIONS
(Video taken by Matt McComb on Monday, July 4, 2011 @ Riehle Plaza; Lafayette, Indiana)
Report on this morning's 100th Anniversary Mass!
By Ernie Skuta
November 14, 2010
It was a full house at Holy Family Catholic Church (Sacre Familia) for their 100th anniversay celebration this morning. For a Sicilian/Italian parish, my "Roman Fanfare" was perfect. Patrick Hession (Maynard Ferguson lead trpt alumnus) was magnificent on 1st trpt on "Trpt Voluntary" ("Prince of Denmark") on his piccolo trpt. in A. The congregation applauded during exiting after our performance.
Another conquest to add to our extensive resumes...
BY MARK STRYKER
DETROIT FREE PRESS MUSIC WRITER
John Clayton leads the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra of Detroit through a recent rehearsal at the Detroit Institute of Arts. (REGINA H. BOONE/Detroit Free Press)
John Clayton is a large, handsome man, with an athletic, 6-foot-4-inch frame, dignified carriage and massive hands that seem engineered specifically for the double bass. He also has one of the great smiles in jazz. When he strikes a groove, walking a blues line on his bass or conducting one of his natty arrangements in front of a big band, Clayton's ultrabrights spread across his dimpled face like an invitation to a party.
He had a full house feeling the spirit at Cliff Bell's in downtown Detroit two weeks ago on the eve of his 57th birthday. Clayton, artist-in-residence at the 2009 Detroit International Jazz Festival, was presiding over an open dress rehearsal of the ambitious 30-minute commission he has written for the 30th annual festival, which opens Friday.
Titled "T.H.E. Family, Detroit," the piece honors the Pontiac-bred jazz legends Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones, with a nod to the downtown Guardian Building, whose art deco grandeur provides a metaphor for Detroit's golden age of jazz. The suite, scored for the Clayton Brothers Quintet and the 18-piece Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra of Detroit, will have its official premiere on Labor Day at Hart Plaza.
Clayton counted off the band with a flourish, inaugurating a souped-up Motown boogaloo with a basement churn of baritone sax, bass, guitar and piano and a dense, brassy strut -- the "Guardian Fanfare." Gwinnell stepped in to conduct and Clayton dashed to the corner of the stage. He picked up his bass and -- bam! -- the quintet sprinted into a swinging, minor-key theme. Clayton smiled, and the club smiled back.
"I'm a conduit," Clayton said before the rehearsal. "I don't feel I'm capable of creating what people think I'm capable of creating. It comes from another source, be it the universe, God, a tree, a Cadillac, a woman, whatever. You're kidding yourself if you think otherwise."
A consummate pro, Clayton has mastered just about every facet of the jazz life. Based in his native Los Angeles, he's a first-call bassist who cut his teeth with pianist Monty Alexander and Count Basie in the '70s and whose calling cards remain a swinging pulse, bear-hug tone, impeccable diction and taste and an infectious spirit he channels from his mentor, the late Ray Brown.
On another front, he's the charismatic chief composer-arranger for the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, one of the top big bands in jazz, which he leads with his brother Jeff, an alto saxophonist, and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Clayton is a Grammy Award-winning arranger who has written for Diana Krall, Queen Latifah and many others, and he's a noted jazz educator and a top administrator at jazz festivals.
He even had his own, albeit anonymous, pop culture moment, writing the orchestral arrangement of the National Anthem sung by Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl during the Gulf War, a performance that became a Top 20 hit when it was released as a single.
Still, it has been easy for critics and others to take Clayton for granted, partly because standard bearers for mainstream values like Clayton don't get the ink of cutting-edge innovators and partly because the jazz press has always been biased in favor of the East Coast.
But make no mistake: Clayton's musicianship takes a back seat to no one's, and his Zen-like focus, intelligence, humility, generosity and decency in an industry that often rewards the opposite have earned him universal respect among his peers.
"He makes you feel like the most important person in the world in his presence," said Hamilton. "You walk out of a meeting feeling like he treated you with the utmost respect and heard everything you said and feeling really good about yourself -- even though later you might realize that he didn't agree with anything you said! But he was a gentleman."
At peace with life and art
Clayton speaks in a resonant baritone, his easy humor and sincerity suggesting a man at peace with his life and art. He lives with his Dutch-born wife, Tineke Scholten, a linguist, in Altadena at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. When he's working on a piece, he likes to take hikes to clear his head and entice the muse.
Clayton met his wife in the Netherlands on tour in the '70s, and when he left Basie in 1979, they settled in Utrecht, where Clayton made his living as principal bassist of the Amsterdam Philharmonic while also playing jazz. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1984. Today the Claytons are empty nesters, with a son, Gerald, 25, making a splash as a jazz pianist and an older daughter studying at Harvard Law School.
Clayton maintains his relaxed countenance when he plays, though he grows more visibly intense when he steps in front of a big band. His shoulders sway back and forth to the beat, he leans in to cue the saxophones, sings along and gestures broadly and expressively; his wingspan seems to stretch across the entire stage.
His rehearsal manner is direct, detailed, polite and encouraging but firmly in command. "Let's make sure we cut off our chords together," he told Gwinnell's band after a sloppy passage during a rehearsal at the Detroit Institute of Arts in June. "No hangover. Then you get a wall of sound with no jagged edges."
Aggravations that might drive others over the brink barely raise his temperature. At the DIA, a young sound engineer with an attitude refused to follow Clayton's instructions for miking his bass. Clayton kept repeating his request, subtly increasing pressure without raising his voice or escalating the confrontation until the engineer surrendered.
"I don't do stress," Clayton said. "Stress is a choice. I don't want an accelerated heart rate."
Jeff Clayton said his brother's personality was forged as the eldest of seven children raised by a single mother: You learn to be organized when you have to help iron three dresses, make six lunches and get the entire posse off to school. The Claytons' mother worked at the post office, cleaned houses, played piano and organ in church and directed the choirs, oversaw the renovation of a house and took classes for years in her spare time to get a college degree.
"She was amazing, and by example very clear, focused and pragmatic," said Jeff Clayton.
'The joy of discovery'
Clayton's career as a composer-arranger traced a very different arc than his development as a bassist. He picked up the bass at 13, began playing gigs in high school and studied formally with classical teachers and Ray Brown, a seminal bebop bassist, before attending Indiana University.
Clayton didn't begin to seriously pursue composing and arranging until his two years with Basie beginning in 1977. Largely self-taught, he learned the old-fashioned way: by embarrassing himself. "I'd write something, bring it in, think I knew what I was doing, discover I didn't and go back to the drawing board," he said.
His first arrangement was a muddy mess. "It sucked," said Clayton, laughing. Then he transcribed Neal Hefti's "Splanky" from a Basie LP. The roaring shout chorus was a tutorial. Among other details, Clayton discovered that the lead trumpet, lead trombone and lead alto saxophone all were playing the same notes.
"That's where I learned the power of the triple lead," he said. "I didn't read about it in a book. That's one of the things I try to do as a teacher. I don't give students the answers. I try to allow them to experience the joy of discovery. When you find out something for yourself, you don't forget it for life."
Clayton's second arrangement was an original song called "Blues for Stephanie," a groove maker with a curlicue saxophone melody and driving shout chorus that fit Basie like a custom suit. During the first run-through, players tapped their feet, and at the end Basie uttered his highest praise: "Let's do that one more time."
Clayton's vocabulary remains deeply rooted in tradition. Like Basie's stable of arrangers, he loves blues forms and contrasting dynamics and builds swing into his charts via punchy rhythms and riffs. Like Thad Jones, who wrote for Basie before pursuing a more modern idiom, Clayton uncoils complex, astringent harmonies through the ensemble and puffs his chest with peacock bravura. Like Duke Ellington, Clayton writes for individuals, not instruments -- so much so that when players retire or leave his band, Clayton retires arrangements written for them.
Along the way, he sought out elders for lessons, including ex-Basie-ite Frank Foster and Hollywood giant Johnny Mandel, who warned against writing at the piano. "When you sit at the piano, you end up playing the piano," said Mandel. "People don't sing hip chord changes. They sing melodies."
Above all, Clayton's writing is defined by clarity, honest emotionalism and a meticulous craftsmanship that at its most inspired turns regal and sublime. Sophisticated, yes. Cerebral, no.
"John isn't writing to show off himself, he's writing to show off the band," said Dennis Wilson, a trombonist and composer-arranger who played with Clayton in the Basie band and now teaches at the University of Michigan. "He's not trying to show that he's a great arranger -- although he is."
Back at Cliff Bell's, the restored art deco club in Foxtown, Clayton celebrated the maiden voyage of his suite with a post-performance bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Wine has been a passion since his band mates in Diana Krall's group introduced him to its pleasures on a plane bound for Paris in 2001.
Clayton's smile beckoned. He greeted well-wishers at the back of the club, looking each in the eye and giving each their moment. He refilled friends' glasses and delved into conversation, traversing classical music performance styles, criticism, the endless quest to master composition and what, for him, is the ultimate payoff.
"I don't get goose bumps when I write," he said. "I get goose bumps when I hear what the musicians do with what I've written."
30th annual Detroit International Jazz Festival
Hart Plaza, Woodward Corridor, Campus Martius, Cadillac Square in downtown Detroit
The Clayton Brothers Quintet and Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra's performance will include the premiere of John Clayton's "T.H.E. Family, Detroit" at 8:30 p.m. Mon., Carhartt Amphitheatre
John Clayton also appears with fellow bassists Christian McBride and Rodney Whitaker at 6 p.m. Mon., Mack Avenue Pyramid Stage
Contact MARK STRYKER: 313-222-6459 or
The Monette shop just spent the week celebrating the 25th anniversary of the completion of the first Monette trumpet! Great players came in from four continents for three days of concerts, great food and a seriously fun hang! More on this will follow soon, including lots of video from the shop concerts and video interviews with Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Schlueter, Ron Miles, Charles Gorham, Adam Rapa, Marlon Jordon, Urban and Joakim Agnas, Scotty Barnhart, Patrick Hession, Katsu Kameshima, Alfred Willener, Antoine Drye and more
Review by Rick
This doesn't have a lot to do with running, but I went to the Toledo Jazz Orchestra's Tribute to Maynard Ferguson featuring Patrick Hession and Ric Wolkins with my pals from CrossRoads Community Church's worship band brass, Jeremy, Leo, and Vicki. It was phenomenal! Brought back a lot of memories of high school when we listened to the album Chameleon perpetually, the Interlochen concert, and camping road trips with Mom and Dad and Vicky listening to the album, Carnival, over and over and over again. The screaming trumpets last night courtesy of Mr. Hession and Mr. Wolkins definitely jacked me up for today's race so, I guess this does have a bit to do with running. My trumpeting pal, Leo, has run 6 marathons in his now ended running career including the Toledo, Columbus, and Boston. I've been gleaning some tips from him. My other band-pal, Vicki, is also a marathoner having done one in her college days. Dad, wish you coulda gone to the concert with us, you would have loved it!
There was a lot of red, white and blue music at the concert, and some special soloists and groups were featured. Lafayette's native son Patrick Hession, who played for six years with the Maynard Ferguson Band, and his brother Phil, were featured on a Bill Kisinger arrangement of "MacArthur Park," and the "Theme from Rocky."
5:00 pm - David Monette: Design, Fabrication and Performance - A Guided Video Tour
Written by Elisa Koehler
A large crowd gathered to hear the latest information from custom trumpet maker David Monette about his new innovations in instrument design and manufacture. Following the traditional ITG trumpet ensemble prelude by students from Drake University, Phil Snedecor introduced another trumpet ensemble playing one of his own compositions, Fanfare for David. Performing with Snedecor were fellow Monette players Charles Schlueter, Manny Laureano, and Patrick Hession, who wowed the audience with his white hot lead playing.
7:00 pm - Washington Symphonic Brass "At The Movies!"
Written by Neville Young
For a moment I was surprised when the "Rocky" fanfare started up again - surely they're not just going to repeat that? - but all was explained when the music took a turn in the direction marked "loud" and Patrick Hession strolled on stage - my goodness, what a Maynard-style extravaganza this last tune became. Like the rest of the audience I left bowled over by the versatility and skill of the Washington Symphonic Brass and with the memory of a really great concert full of variety and flair. Nice one, Milt and the WSB.
7:00 pm - Jeff Holmes Big Band
Written by Gary Mortenson
If you like to hear lead trumpet playing featured in the jazz ensemble setting, then this concert had to make you feel like a kid in a candy store. Patrick Hession (Maynard Ferguson's last lead trumpet player) was featured on three tunes on the first half including arrangements of "Danny Boy," "Superman," and "Rocky." It was obvious to all why Maynard hired Patrick as his last lead trumpet player. Through all three tunes he displayed great power, presence, range, and volume. Hession's ability to "power-up" the trumpet in the highest register and still play a nice melody in the middle and extremely low registers is astounding. Maynard fans got exactly what they wanted, and audience members who might not have been familiar with that type of trumpet playing got a true initiation into what that special fraternity is all about. The last tune of Hession's set, "Rocky," really brought me back to my youth as a high school trumpet player in mid 1970s suburban Chicago, and to the many times I went to various area high schools to see Maynard with his big band perform for his fanatic following (of which I was a fully-vested member). Thank you Patrick, for bringing back those great memories…
9:00 am - Maynard Ferguson Tribute
Written by John Irish
How does one sum up the career, importance, influence, or the person as unique as Maynard Ferguson. A panel discussion led By Ed Sargent, paid tribute to the great Maynard who passed away in August, 2006. Contributors on the panel included Wayne Bergeron (started in the band 1986), Carl Fischer (started in 1993), and Patrick Hession (from 2000 -- Maynard's last lead trumpet player), and Dan Potts, who helped with the video montage and historical information. Maynard's daughters, Lisa and Wilder were also in attendance.
Patrick Hession and Reggie Watkins performed at Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah
The show was incredible!!!
What a show! I mean, WOW!!! I'm not just blowing my own horn (pun intended). Sure, I put it together - but I take no credit for all the musicians' talents. Patrick Hession (Maynard Ferguson's last lead trumpet) was absolutely phenomenal. His tone and mastery of the stratosphere immediately made jaws drop. Many couldn't believe their ears. His double-C at the end of "Danny Boy" was held out longer than I've ever heard! It really made the audience reminisce about their favoite Maynard concert/recording. The only thing that would've been better? Maynard himself. It was obvious more than a little of M.F. rubbed off on Patrick in the 6+ years he occupied the most gruelling chair in jazz!
The whole ensemble was very inspired. Myself included!!! I dipped into the depths of my own Fergunousity (as measured with aFergunometer!) to pull of my most accurate M.F. impersonation to date! All the soloists were incredible - Chuck Mahronic's solo on "Chameleon" was some of the funkiest piano I've heard in my life! That man is a genius. Andy Mill blew everyone away with his treatment of the Maynard book on "Footpath Cafe". The conversation between he and alto saxophonist Jacob Duncan was a true exhibition of intuition. Chris Fortner was an absolute showstopper with his valve trombone work on "Superbone Meets The Badman". Then he turned around and did it again and again throughout the night with his slide trombone! I really loved Charlie Niehoff's trumpet solos. . . PERIOD! That cat can swing! Tim Whalen's treatment of everything was perfect. I don't know how he always does it, but every solo sounds like they should never be played another way. I'd like to go on, but there were too many shining moments in the show to mention them all! Sorry, Mike Smith, Craig Wagner, Miles Davis, Drew Miller, . . . you get the idea.
I want to express my gratitude to every musician, audience member, audio engineer, and everyone else that helped make the show a success. I really want to thank John La Barbera for attending. It was a good thing I was exhausted from putting this show together. I was so tired I forgot to be terrified while playing alongside Patrick Hession - with the best musicians in town - in front of John La Barbera!
The last person I wish to thank is my wife, Lori. This is the biggest/best event I've ever put together or performed. I felt very driven to make this happen to honor the biggest influence in my life (and many others), Maynard Ferguson. Without her help, I wouldn't have come close to pulling it off. She may not take credit for her contributions, but we've always worked as a team and always will.
Gonna fly now.
Bradley Scott Tharp
ITG 2006 Conference Coverage
Friday, June 9 - 9:30 am.
Patrick Hession - The Trumpet is a Soprano Instrument
Chuck Tumlinson, reporter
Patrick Hession has been Maynard Ferguson's lead player the past 6 years. His morning clinic opened with a brief performance of Ferguson's solo on Macarthur Park in typical dramatic style. He then introduced himself and related his life story, including early influences (starting with Maynard and including Maurice André, Harry James, and Bill Chase) and musical associations.
The clinic consisted mostly of helpful tips for the trumpet player, particularly in a lead and high note context. He emphasized using the body while playing to help keep the chops strong. The body can work when fatigued, but the chops cannot. He also emphasized pacing and waiting for the peak in a long musical phrase, both for musical and endurance purposes.
Hession related some things he learned in his college marching band years that have continued to help, such as playing the mouthpiece into gloves or a cloth to warm up. He then played the mouthpiece along with recordings (particularly Maynard) to help internalize the music. He also recommends practicing shakes and lip trills into a cloth.
He addressed vibrato and the Harry James vibrato that sounded somewhere between a vibrato and a shake. He also advocates adding lip trills to pretty melodies. He related advice from Maynard that the ability to play with vibrato in upper register is an indication that you are not using too much pressure.
The clinic included several ideas for high range playing. If you improve in the normal range, this will also help your higher range. Also practice pretty melodies in higher keys. Either practice up in half steps, or take those melodies up an octave. (Hession learned this from Maynard!).
These are just a few of the ideas that Patrick Hession imparted to the receptive audience. He is obviously a strong player with an easygoing, pleasant personality. Hession is a goldmine with regard to his perceptive insights in the lead and bravura tradition of trumpet playing.
[TPIN] ITG Conference 2004 - Monette, Patrick, and Manny