"Take Five" Q&A with Sean Jones!

Q1: What's the best music gear or app purchase you've made recently? 

The best music gear that I’ve purchased as of late is my pedal board. My former student, Aaron Janik of Horn-fx.com has become the teacher in that he’s exposing me to a wide range of sounds that, frankly I’ve avoided for some time now. I’ve warred with the idea of “corrupting” my natural sound with any electronic enhancement. However, Aaron and his team have discovered a way to retain the natural sound of the trumpet while enhancing it with various set ups on the pedal board. I’m truly loving discovering what’s available to me. I’m almost treating the pedals as they’re “mutes” to create varying moments in pieces that offer “layers” that don’t exist with the natural sound of the trumpet and all of it’s colors. That all said, I’d have to say that the use of pedals and my new pedal board is the best gear purchase as of late. 



Q2: What's your funniest or worst gig story? 
Wow, this is a tough one. The funniest or worst gig… lol. Geeze, there are so many examples I could use here that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the music being played at all. Much of the time, the craziest or funniest stories happen off of the band stand. That said, I’ll offer two… 1. The funniest on stage moment that I’m willing to share is when I decided that I was going to eat a big meal right before taking the stage at Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia. TERRIBLE idea… During the second tune, I had to run off stage and go have some “personal” time during an extended piano solo. Thank God Orrin Evans can keep the attention of the crowd for several minutes…lol. As for off the stage… I’d have to say it was when I was on. The road with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller. We were driving in the middle of the night and they decided to make a stop… To make a long story short, Wayne decided to load up on chocolate bars while Herbie decided to eat frozen pizza with chips on it… We then watched the movie “The Girl Next Door”, in which Wayne decided that he was going to analyze the movie while watching it at 4:00 A:M. To say this was a surreal moment is an understatement. LOL. Beyond hilarious. This isn’t even how the story ends… After the movie, we all decide to get some rest. Herbie, while listening to some Gil Evans, decides that he wants to stay up a little more to figure out Gil’s voicing… Well, we went to be and woke up at around 1:00 P:M and guess who was still sitting there analyzing Gil’s voicings? That right there taught me a valuable lesson.. No matter how much you achieve in this life… there’s more to discover! 


 

Q3: What's one concert you've attended that has had a lasting impact on your life?

A concert that sticks out in my mind is Herbie and Wayne’s 1+1 tour. I went to see them in Akron, OH and is was like being taken to another realm of consciousness. Also, it was kind of crazy that at least 1/4 of the people attending, left the concert about half way through. I suppose they wanted to hear the “hits”. But, I’ll never forget the way that they were able to completely transform the room. I'm pretty sure that it’s due to: 1. Trust 2. Knowing one another. 3. Freedom.   


 

Q4: What's a specific skill/exercise/technique that has taken your playing to the next level?

I’d have to say that the one thing that’s been my anchor for my entire career is my technique. The ability to transfer basic trumpet technique and apply it to any genre. I was fortunate enough at an early age to have really great trumpet teachers that emphasized pedagogy. I’ll never forget my teacher Essotto Pelligrini, telling me that “the horn is the horn… you can play what you want as long as you take care of that horn”. I never lost that. It’s been my saving grace from playing lead in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to playing in Ray Chew’s ensemble from the Apollo. If you have good technique, you can pretty much play any gig if you’re in tune with the genre. 


 

Q5: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self entering the music scene?

Great question! I’d offer two bits of advice. 1. Be undeniable. Leave no stone unturned. Develop ALL of your skills as a musician. Whatever your instrument can do…learn how to do it. This will ensure that you can work in any capacity. I've never turned down any gig because I couldn’t execute the music. I’ve made sure that my technical ability afforded me the opportunity to play in any scenario with anyone. 2.  Learn ALL aspects of the business. From copyrights to investments. You are a business. Act accordingly before you end up being older and having regrets because you didn’t learn the biz. Ok… one last one… lol. Learn piano! compose. When you write, produce… you get paid in your sleep. Diversify your career. 

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