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Chris Kase

Chris Kase (b. 1964, New Brunswick, NJ) is a jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer and educator who has resided in Madrid, Spain since 1997. He has performed and/or recorded with many well known jazz artists such as: The Mingus Big Band, Adam Nussbaum, Kenny Wheeler, Bob Mintzer, The Bird of Paradise Orchestra, Steve Coleman, Chick Corea, Steve Wilson, Al Foster, Grant Stewart, Bruce Barth, Jacob Sacks, David Berkman, Perico Sambeat, Iñaki Salvador, Jorge Pardo and Don Braden, among others. Presently, Chris maintains an active performance schedule throughout Spain. He is professor of trumpet and improvisation at Musikene, the Superior Conservatory of Music in San Sebastián. He has recorded seven albums as a leader. The most recent entitled My Private Circus was released by Errabal at the end of 2012, just months after the release of Six, an ambitious sextet project, named one of the top five jazz discs of 2012 in Spain by the magazine Cuadernos de Jazz, as was Ode (2008) in 2009. His method book, Twenty-first Century Technique, is a collection of variations on the exercises of H.L. Clarke and was published by Balquhidder Music in 2006. His arrangements for trumpet ensemble and rhythm section have been published by Triplo Press and Quintessential Brass Repertoire.

Since 1994, more than seventy of Kase’s original compositions have been recorded and released. His talent as a composer has been recognized by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) Biennial Jazz Composers Competition (Third Prize in 2003 for his composition Epic Ballad and Second Prize in 2001 for Mystery Waltz), the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (honorable mention, 1991 ASCAP Competition for Young Composers; Popular Awards panel grants since 1991; Honorable Mention, ASCAP/IAJE Dizzy Gillespie Commissions, 1997), the Michigan Council for the Arts, Billboard Magazine (two Honorable Mentions in 1991, one Honorable Mention in 1992) and the John Lennon Song Writing Contest (Honorable Mention, 2004). His arrangements have been performed and/or recorded by Orquestra de Cambra del Teatre Lliure (Barcelona), Creativa Jazz Orchestra, Bird of Paradise Orchestra, the Musikene Big Band and the Bob Sands Big Band. Kase was one of fifteen trumpeters chosen from all over the world to participate in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, held in Washington, DC in 1997. The Chris Kase Quartet won the 1990 Ypsilanti (MI) Heritage Jazz Festival Competition and reached the Mid-Western semi-finals of the 1991 Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search.

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Album Review
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In his detailed liner notes trumpeter Chris Kase attempts to shed some light on the technical considerations behind the compositions on his latest release, Nine Easy Pieces. And it is true that there is a lot of meat in his writing; but what really makes this album succeed is the easygoing manner in which all participants navigate music that, while complex and considered at its core, sounds deceptively simple. Lester Young once said, “Can you sing me a song?” and clearly Kase can. He has a warm and inviting tone on both trumpet and flugelhorn and his playing demonstrates a lyrical elegance that makes every solo, every motif eminently singable. Whether it be on the brooding “Dark Interval,” improvising around a brief 6/4 piano-bass motif, or on the more compositionally rich “Número tres,” Kase creates melodies which linger in the memory. And speaking of rich compositions, Kase is another example of a contemporary writer who explores more extended compositional form, avoiding the tune-solo-tune format and, instead, creating a broader framework which still allows the group ample opportunity to stretch out. Remarkably, the group’s improvisations are so thoughtfully constructed that it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the written and extemporized.-John Kelman, ALL ABOUT JAZZ

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Professor of Jazz Trumpet, Musikene (Superior Music Conservatory of the Basque Country), San Sebastián


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Espejismo . Mirage

Jcari Records


Let Go

Errabal Jazz



Nuba Records


Nine Easy Pieces

Satchmo Jazz Records




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