I met Joshua Trinidad for the first time at The Oriental Theater in Denver, CO... he had invited us out for a special event to present him with his new Harrelson Summit Trumpet the night he was opening for The Bad Plus. It was an awesome night of music. I see a lot of trumpet performances... and I always find it inspiring when trumpeters put a new twist on the old tried and true sound. Josh does just that... and with style. I personally love the eerie and ethereal sounds that emanate from his horn. I also have always been fascinated by the concept of funeral music... which is why I wanted to talk to him more about his current project "Cortege". Josh takes his music very seriously but he has fun doing it. I already pre-ordered my copy of Cortege... this is one of my favorite tracks from an earlier project he did... If you're in the Denver area... I highly recommend you take in one of his shows. And... when you do, stop by and tell him I say hi. Here's what he had to say about what he's working on now...
How long have you been playing the trumpet?
I have been playing trumpet for about 22 years (since I was 9 years old)
What made you decide to go into music / how did you start out?
I owe it to my mother. I grew up with her playing a lot of really good music for me at a young age. I was exposed to a lot of country, R&B, soul, funk and traditional music from Mexico / New Mexico since I can remember. I was lucky that I had parents that valued good music. Growing up listening to good music, allowed me to be inspired to make my own and the inspiration is still going strong today.
Who are some of your musical influences and why.
Currently and over the past 5-8 years I have been deeply influenced by the music and trumpeters / instrumentalists in Norway, Iceland, France, and Poland. Mathias Eick, Nils Petter Molvear, Tomaz Stanko, Erik Truffaz, Jon Hassel, and Enrico Rava. I like how these artists are not “macho” trumpet players. They don’t play high, loud and fast. They are what I would call expressive players that take the time to make each note count.
Is music your full time job?
Kind of. I am actually an educator here in Denver and have been in education for 10 years. I found out early in my life that musicians do not make enough money to feed a family, so I got my Masters in Education from The University of Colorado at Boulder as a back up plan from starving to death and getting evicted. I am currently in a good situation where I can take more risk in my music to spend money investing in trips, tours and albums due to my “day job” supporting my music. The moment that I can find more solid ground being a musician full time- I will do it!
I am extremely intrigued by the new project "Cortege" you're working on. Can you tell me some more about that... and how did you come up with the idea?
I have a good friend who recently fought cancer and won the battle! I sat down and spent some serious time listening to his music while he was sick fighting his fight. I said to myself “ wow, this music seems like the last song he will ever make, its powerful and makes such a big statement!” In a way, I saw it as, these could have been the final pieces of music that he could have ever recorded. It worried me and made me realize that life is so fragile. I later thought, it would be powerful for me to make an album as if I was dying and these were the last songs I were to make and record. I wanted to bring my music to a new level of intensity. I then thought, it would be even more powerful to make music for my own funeral. So here it is!
To Donate to the Cortege project and pre-order the CD please follow this link: http://joshuatrinidad.com/
What else is in the works for you in the coming year?
I am planning on pushing my new album “Cortege” really hard this year and trying to get my quartet to Europe very soon. I recently finished doing some recordings for hip hop MC Sage Francis and also laying down trumpet parts for the new Ken Burn’s documentary on the Vietnam Conflict that will be coming out in 2016. I am planning on playing in New York and possibly Toronto this summer along with hosting The Bad Plus again at The Oriental Theater here in Denver (our Third Annual show with them). I am also constantly recording and performing with lots of local groups here in Denver like, Wheelchair Sports Camp, Poets Row, JazzMixed, The Chance Trio and Rubedo.
You've played with a lot of famous people... any good stories... that you can repeat.
This one time I played at Dazzle here in Denver to a room of 3 people. My band took a set break and during the break, this very nice lady came up to me and said “ wow, you sound great.” I responded with “ thank, are you a musician?” and she said “yes, I sing a little bit here and there.” I wrapped up the conversation so that I could use the restroom. I later came back into the dinner room and she pulled me to the side and asked to sit in. I thought to myself, sure why not, there are only 2 people here. We all got on the band stand and I asked her, if there was something she wanted to play out of the fakebook and she said, “whatever you choose is fine.” We played Ague je de beber. The moment this lady began to sing, I realized that I was sharing the stage with Grammy award winning jazz vocalist Diane Reeves.
Musical highlight of your year?
I think anytime I go to New York to play is a highlight. Last time I was out there, I played with Rudy Royston and that was a lot of fun. Currently, I am excited to possibly play some international festivals in Toronto and possibly another chance to go to England.
If your trumpet were an animal which animal would it be?
I would have to say that my trumpet is like a Koala Bear. It is soft and has a real fluffy sound, but there is still a small bite inside of the tone.
What do you listen to... when you're not recording/performing? What's in your cd player?
Right now, I have been listening to sigur rós, Radiohead, Bjork, Tune Yards, Cuddle Magic, Wu Tang Clan, Tyga, Erik Truffaz and Sage Francis.
I am the PR, Advertising, Marketing, Web and Social mind at Harrelson Trumpets. When I am not at work- I paint: