Nick Lees: famed Edmonton trumpet virtuoso gathers star jazz band for tour


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Some McNally High School alumni will remember him as the one-season quarterback whose Tigers football team have lost all nine of their games.


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Others will have followed his career and will know that Jens Lindemann, 55, of Edmonton, is hailed around the world as one of the most famous soloists in trumpet history.

“Due to COVID-19, this is the first live concert these musicians have given in almost two years,” said the musician, who within hours gathered 15 musicians to play the Yardbird Suite one evening. from last week.

“I think the pandemic has reminded artists that one of their goals is to give people hope. All the musicians I invited to join our group agreed to play and none asked about the salary.

It can be difficult to decline an invitation to perform with a master clinical musician who has performed both jazz and classical music in concert halls around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin. , Moscow, Tokyo and even the Great Wall. from China.


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Also a well-known recording artist, Lindemann was the first classical brass player to be awarded the Order of Canada.

He also gave a solo performance for Queen Elizabeth II, and among many other notable performances he performed at the famous Last Night of the Proms in London.

Bach and Brahms musician Reimagined’s recent recording was nominated for a Juno Award this year, and last week it received a Grammy nomination for Classical Producer of the Year.

“We’re calling a concert tonight ‘pop’ and we’ve done others already, in Calgary, LA and Atlanta,” Lindemann said of the Yardbird Suite appearance.

“We plan to go to Vancouver, Detroit and Chicago before returning to LA and Edmonton.


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“My mission is to go out and perform in front of as many people as possible and get them to talk about our performances.

“We are already registered in festivals, but performing in small venues helps create a buzz. We hope to play with a larger audience soon.

When I noticed that last week’s $ 50 gate fee wasn’t enough to pay the musicians, Lindemann said the return on investment would come with future performances around the world. And this performance was also a tribute to the late Senator Tommy Banks, a good friend and teacher who had performed regularly in the Yardbird sequel.

In case you were new to Alberta, Banks was a professional jazz pianist at the age of 14 and has gone on to lead his own groups and conduct symphony orchestras around the world. He was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2000.


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“One thing Tommy taught me was to always work with people you really want to work with and people who are better than you,” Lindemann said. “They will bring their skills to the table and raise all night long.”

The musician reported last week before his band performed George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, written in 1924, that his band recorded it during the recent pandemic.

“Everyone from star players from Newfoundland to British Columbia recorded their part alone with soloist Jon Kimura Parker and then a video was made in Alberta with Ian Parker,” says Lindemann.

The A Rhapsody in Blue piano, one of only 24 ever created by Steinway and permanently housed at the Calgary National Music Center, will tour with Lindemann’s Alberta All-Star Jazz Orchestra.


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Lindemann arrived in Edmonton at the age of one in 1967 when his German-born parents – in public last week – emigrated to Canada.

Beginning with piano lessons at the age of nine, Lindemann attended Edith Rogers Junior High School and later McNally High School before going to Juilliard School in New York, a private arts conservatory in show in New York widely regarded as one of the premier theater, music, and dance schools.

“I was lucky in the schools in Edmonton, which both had excellent conductors who communicated well with their students,” he said. “I was lucky with the way things turned out. I always say the trumpet chose me.

His first paid public event came at the age of 17 when he played privately at the homes of two of the Edmonton community’s biggest supporters, John and Barbara Poole.


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The audience also warmly applauded Lindemann when he introduced his band, some of whom had only met a few hours before the Yardbird Suite performance.

Two enthusiastically applauded members of the octogenarian group were trumpeter Al Muirhead and flute and saxophone player Eric Friedenberg, both of whom performed regularly with Banks.

Pianist Ian Parker, who also performs with ESO and has performed all over the world, was himself exceptional.

Trombonist Hannah Gray, who is the No. 1 Canadian Olympic women’s masters weightlifter and also placed sixth in the world, also received a lot of applause.

“A lot of the band was from Calgary,” Lindemann said. “Our two cities must overcome the imaginary demarcation line of Red Deer. We can accomplish a lot together.



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