It’s not often that trombonists get to toot their own horns in music circles. Typically, they’re one of many in a horn section or the punch line of a joke (see: sad trombone). But next month in Gowanus, they’re front and center.
Starting on April 3, Ibeam Music Studio on Seventh Street hosts a month-long music festival dedicated to the underappreciated brass instrument.
“The festival brings a certain element of power, a strength in numbers element,” said Brian Drye, festival founder and, naturally, a trombonist. “I don’t think any other city would have so many creative musicians that happen to be trombone players, playing their own music and producing their own stuff. It’s kind of amazing.”
The festival pulls from a range of musical styles, from jazz to salsa to experimental, and many approaches, from straight up traditional to more electronic.
Rick Parker seems to be doing them all.
“I use a lot of guitar effects pedals with the trombone, so I’m really changing the sound of the instrument and presenting the trombone in a different light,” said Parker, whose trio will perform on opening night.
The aim is not only to perform great music, but to further the noble goal of trombone appreciation.
Not long after playing Ibeam last year, Josh Roseman formed the New York Slideworkers Union, a network of brass blowers that runs a private performance series dedicated to the instrument at its N. Sixth Street space. The “union” also hosts Loove, a weekly jazz night at Greenpoint’s Coco66, which has featured trombone-centric nights.
These efforts serve both to unite fellow sliders, as well as engage those who may overlook the brass instrument.
“The business is in flux. What’s wonderful is that we’re seeing so many musicians taking the bull by the horns and affecting positive change,” said Roseman, who also plays on the first night. “[If you can do] arouse curiosity and interest, that makes us all the happier.”
The Second Annual Trombone Festival runs every Saturday in April, plus Friday, April 30, at Ibeam Music (168 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus. No phone). Shows start at 8 pm. Suggested donation is $10. For info, visit www.ibeambrooklyn.com or www.nyswu.org.