Gifted trumpeter-composer Philip Dizack will play three Milwaukee dates

Trumpeter-composer Philip Dizack will present an “End of an Era” CD release concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, with a jazz ensemble and string players, at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts, 926 E. Center St. ($15). Then he will play with a jazz quartet Friday, Oct. 25 and Saturday, Oct. 26 at The Jazz Estate, 2423 N. Murray Ave., at 9:30 p.m. ($5).

Phillip Dizack is coming home, to Milwaukee for three October nights promoting his superb new CD End of an Era.  You might think of him in the dawn if a new era.

The Milwaukee native is one of the strong and diverse generation of younger jazz trumpeters who are post-bop, post-Miles, even post-Wynton Marsalis — who helped bring the trumpet back to the forefront of jazz, where it was when the music was born, in the era of Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong.

I hesitate to say this is post-modern trumpet because this music implicitly honors rather than deconstructs that continuum.

A player like Dizack explores the introspective depths of the horn and challenges the limits of the instrument’s eloquence.  His chops, especially his embouchure (mouth application), invariably flow straight to the service of musical ideas and thematic concepts.

There’s catchy, punchy playing here but overall new CD End of An Era * has some of the feel of an ECM session — plenty of spacious medium-to-slow tempos. Dizack incorporates chamber-style strings judiciously in a set that sometimes broods, while buoyed by many moments of lyricism, here tethered, there unbound and fiery.

Check out this clip from a recent New York performance with the full concert ensemble, with strings, as he’ll present at the Jazz Gallery.

The conceptual ambition and his trumpeter’s voice, warm but self-possessed, recalls the still under-recognized giant Tom Harrell.

And concepts dwell in most of these tunes. The title composition attempts to portray “the moment your world closes in around you, the time you’re forced to grow; the moment you realize that what you had, is no longer,” according to the trumpeter’s liner comments.

Other tunes range from an ode to tragedy and human tenacity “Yele” (Haitian for “Cry Freedom,”  regarding Haiti’s earthquake in 2010), to a cover of Coldplay’s “What If?” — with a gentle backbeat — and the original “Torch,” two probings of the complex shades of love and loss.

(Dizack, like many Generation X and Y jazz musicians – is highly conscious of contemporary pop music as distinctive cover material.)

With a variety of simpatico sidemen, notably saxophonist Jake Saslow and keyboardists Aaron Parks and Sam Harris, this recording feels like a highly personal yet quite accessible statement from a gifted and committed trumpeter-composer.

Few jazz musicians employ string ensembles on the road, so it will be very intriguing to see Philip Dizack making this much commitment to his art as live personal communication at the Jazz Gallery, in a Milwaukee Jazz Vision production.

The primary quartet will include pianist Stu Mindeman, drummer John Dietermeyer and Chicago bassist-composer Matt Ulery, who released his own ambitious, acclaimed album this year.

Dizack began playing the trumpet at age 10. While attending the Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 2003, he received a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship from IAJE and NFAA, touring the United States, Canada and Japan. Later that year, he moved to New York to attend the Manhattan School of Music on a full-tuition scholarship. In 2007, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music with honors.

Since his move to New York in 2003, Dizack was named third place winner of the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition in 2004, first place winner of the National Trumpet Competition in 2005 and at the Carmine Caruso International Solo Jazz Competition in 2007, and semi-finalist in the 2008 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. His extensive press acclaim includes the 2007 Down Beat Magazine article, “25 [Trumpet Players] for the Future”. At the age of 22, he was the youngest member recognized.

* End of an Era is on Truth Revolution Records:

Dizack portrait photo credit: Jeremy Hardy


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