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David Weiss

About Me

In a jazz climate that rewards neo-conservative tributes and far-flung exercises in deconstruction, David Weiss has distinguished himself another way: through finding novelty and flexibility in the mainstream. The trumpeter, composer, and arranger has had the opportunity to learn from some of the music's quintessential figures. Weiss was born in New York City, but began his musical studies in earnest by attending North Texas State University. He graduated in 1986 and returned to New York. He soon found work with Jaki Byard, Frank Foster and Jimmy Heath and began to study with fellow trumpeters Tommy Turrentine and Bill Hardman. He also attended Barry Harris' weekly workshops, a valuable learning experience for Weiss and an opportunity for him to play with Mr. Harris and Walter Davis Jr. Weiss also began leading the "After Hours" jam session with many of the up and coming musicians of the day including Stephen Scott, Winard Harper, Leon Parker, Sam Newsome, Justin Robinson and Rodney Kendrick. Among the musicians he performed with during his tenure were Roy Hargrove, Clifford Jordon, Mulgrew Miller, Jeff Watts, Terence Blanchard, Benny Green, and Billy Hart. In 1990, Weiss formed a band with tenor saxophonist Craig Handy and began performing in various clubs around New York. The bands various personnel included Benny Green, Stephen Scott, or Dave Kikoski on piano, Christian McBride on bass, and Billy Hart or Jeff Watts on drums. Weiss also assisted Handy with music to the NBC series "The Cosby Mysteries" and arranged the main theme for the show. Weiss began getting more calls for his arranging and transcribing skills. His arrangements/transcriptions have appeared on over 80 CDs. Highlights include CDs by Abbey Lincoln, Freddie Hubbard, and Rodney Kendrick, Alto Legacy with Phil Woods, Vincent Herring, and Antonio Hart, and a Rahsaan Roland Kirk tribute CD entitled Haunted Melodies featuring Joe Lovano, Donald Harrison, James Spaulding and many others. Weiss also arranged the music and performed on a series of tribute concerts to trumpet greats Freddie Hubbard, Booker Little, and Lee Morgan at Birdland in New York City. The personnel included fellow trumpeters Nicholas Payton, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Terell Stafford, Brian Lynch, Eddie Henderson, and Claudio Roditi and rhythm section greats Pete LaRoca, Jimmy Cobb, and Idris Muhammad. In 1996, recognizing a lack of serious new jazz writing, Weiss recruited some young, first-call New York musicians and composers to form the New Jazz Composers Octet. With their passionate rendering of thoughtful arrangements and firm rooting in tradition, the collective quickly established itself as the "sound of the new jazz mainstream" (Ben Ratliff, NYTimes) and was praised for their ability to "stretch hard bops kind-of-unstretchable formula (Jim Macnie, Village Voice). Of Weiss' contribution to the Octet's 1999 recording debut, First Steps Into Reality (Fresh Sound Records), Willard Jenkins commented, "a skilled arranger, transcriber and all-round coordinator, Weiss also brings righteous trumpet chops to this potent mix." (Jazz Times). The CD was also lauded as a "gem" and received a Critic's Pick as one of the Top 5 Albums of the Year in Jazz Times. The octet recently completed their second CD Walkin' the Line (Fresh Sound Records) and Weiss used his compositions from this CD to win the prestigious Chamber Music America Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project: New Works Creation and Presentation grant, which provides funds to a composer to create a new work for his ensemble. Weiss first developed an interest in writing for octet while arranging a couple of Freddie Hubbard compositions for the Hubbard album M.M.T.C. Both Weiss and Hubbard liked the miniature big band sound and decided to collaborate on another album of arrangements of several of Hubbard's more distinctive pieces from throughout his great career. In 2001, Hubbard recorded these selections with the New Jazz Composers Octet on New Colors (Hip Bop). The London Observer praised the Octet's "fine, surging ensemble sound" on the recording, as well as the group's "canny mixture of youth and experience," and finally observed, "Trumpeter-arranger David Weiss is definitely a name to watch." In 2002, Weiss released his first album as a leader Breathing Room (Fresh Sound Records) featuring Craig Handy, Xavier Davis, Dwayne Burno, Marcus Strickland, and E.J. Strickland. The CD received great critical acclaim from JazzWise (4 stars, recommended, their highest rating), Down Beat (4 stars) and 52nd Street (4 � stars) among many others. 2003 finds Weiss touring the world with Freddie Hubbard and the New Jazz Composers Octet and with the trumpet summit band "Trumpet Legends at 65" a tribute to Freddie Hubbard, Booker Little and Lee Morgan featuring Nicholas Payton, Terell Stafford, and Tom Harrell. Selected Discography Recordings David Weiss "Breathing Room" Fresh Sound FSNT 110 New Jazz Composers Octet "First Steps into Reality" Fresh Sound FSNT 059 New Jazz Composers Octet "Walkin' the Line" Fresh Sound FSNT 151 As a sideman Freddie Hubbard and "New Colors" Hip Bop Records HIBD 8026 The New Jazz Composers Octet Bob Belden "Prince Jazz" Something Else TOCJ 5565 Bob Belden "Shades of Red" Something Else TOCJ 5578 Tom Harrell Big Band "Time's Mirror" BMG 9026 63524-2 NY Funk All-Stars "Hip Hop Bop" Meldac Jazz MECJ 3001 Bop City "Hip Strut" Hip Bop Records HIBD 8013 As an arranger Alto Legacy "Alto Summit" Milestone MCD 9265-2 Tim Hagans/Marcus Printup "Hubsongs" Blue Note 7243 8 59509 26 Freddie Hubbard "M.M.T.C." Music Masters 01612-65132-2 Rodney Kendrick "Dance World Dance" Verve 314 521 937 2 Rodney Kendrick "Last Chance For Common Sense" Verve 314 531 536 2 Abbey Lincoln "Over the Years" Verve 549 101-2 Bheki Mseleku "Beauty of the Sunrise" Verve 314 531 868-2 Various Artists/ "Haunted Melodies" Metropolitan MR 1114 The Songs of Rahsaan Roland Kirk As a producer New Jazz Composers Octet "First Steps into Reality" Fresh Sound FSNT 059 New Jazz Composers Octet "Walkin' the Line" Fresh Sound FSNT 151 Freddie Hubbard and "New Colors" Hip Bop Records HIBD 8026 The New Jazz Composers Octet Gregory Tardy "The Hidden Light" J Curve JCR 1009 Jeremy Pelt "Profile" Fresh Sound FSNT 127 Ralph Peterson "Back to Stay" Sirocco SJL 1006 Myron Walden "Higher Ground" Fresh Sound FSNT 129 Xavier Davis "Innocence of Youth" Fresh Sound FSNT 128 Mark Gross "Riddle of the Sphinx" J Curve JCR 1011 Marcus Strickland "At Last" Fresh Sound FSNT 101 Marcus Strickland "Brotherhood" Fresh Sound FSNT 152 Robert Glasper "Mood" Fresh Sound FSNT 153 Rodney Whitaker "Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" Sirocco SJL 1007 Bibliography Interviews http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=840 http://www.jazzweekly.com/interviews/dweiss.htm Down Beat May 2003 Jazziz March 2003 Extensive reviews http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/w/weissdavid-breathing.shtml http://www.52ndstreet.com/justjazz/weiss_breathingroom.html Down Beat July 2002