A musical milestone happened this weekend! I recorded my DEBUT ALBUM as a leader! Some very special moments were created with some of my longest musical friendships and I can’t wait for the world to hear it! I will be posting updates on the progress of this release here, on my Instagram page (@andrewlittleford), and on my artist facebook page (www.facebook.com/andrewlittlefordmusic) so if you are more of a insta/fb person please “like” those pages and I hope you can follow along!
The last 5 days of rehearsing and recording with the Big Dig! Band has been one of the best musical experiences of my life to date! A world of thanks goes out to the fearless leader Derrick Gardner for asking me to play on this unbelievable project! He wrote some of the most amazing music I have ever had the opportunity to play, not to mention playing his a** off!
Recording with some of the best Big Band players in the world was an incredibly inspiring experience. Witnessing the insanely high level that these cats play at was something I will never forget, and also reassured me I am on the right path. #Listen hard, #shed smart!
This summer has been great! I was very fortunate to do fair amount of playing in Winnipeg as well as going out on the road a few times with my DCBB brothers. Touring around BC for close to 2 weeks this August was defiantly a highlight of the summer for me. Seeing friends and family while on the road is always nice, but being surrounded by the beautiful scenery that the province of BC has to offer never gets old!
Hands down the most special musical moment of the summer was on this tour where I got the opportunity to get on stage at the Kaslo Jazz Festival, located in the northern Kootney’s of BC, and play a few tunes with Galactic, who if you don’t know is one of the most sought after bands in New Orleans. Getting to play and solo with Stanton Moore absolutely killing it from behind the drums was an unreal experience I will never forget! Such nice dudes too! Go check them out if you haven’t already...
I also got the opportunity to play shows with some great local bands including Ego Spank and JP Hoe. Besides playing the majority of shows with DCBB, the project I am most involved with, I also played shows with some other local groups I am involved with including Sunny Roseland, Ron Paley, and “B” Side Champs.
A recent experience that put me a little out of my comfort zone happened at the end of the summer where I was asked to put together 3-60 minute presentations for Avenues: Exploring Band and Jazz Methods 2019 at my Alma Matar Brandon University. This is a 3 day workshop is designed to offer music educators the chance to gather, collaborate, discuss and explore different methods of teaching band and jazz band in junior and high schools in a somewhat informal environment. I have never presented to a room of educators before but felt it was important to put myself in a challenging situation like this. I learned alot from doing this and gained new knowledge through discussions with other educators I respect and admire. I hope the participants of the workshop got something out of my presentations. Thanks to Wendy McCallum for this opportunity!
Now with Fall upon us I am moving my focus back into teaching. I’m looking forward to getting my teaching studio back up a running regularly and working with trumpet sections around Winnipeg. I look forward to seeing and working with all my teacher friends/colleagues on the clinic circuit this year!
Had a great time, albeit short, playing in the band for the touring show “Chicago” the past 2 days! Getting the opportunity to play with a professional musical production was a really awesome experience, and doing it in the Centennial Concert Hall to what looked like to a sell out crowd was pretty cool! Although, the insane amount of mute changes made things unusually acrobatic. Besides this show having maybe the most amount of mute changes I’ve ever seen, it had a couple of other firsts for me...first off, the stage that we played on had multiple tiered levels and the brass was on the top, which was around 15-20 feet high. Near the end of the first act an actress climbed up a latter and through a trap door in the floor that was right beside me (she could have knocked over my mutes!) and slid down the side of a railing. Pretty wild! Also, because this was a touring show we had 1, 4 hour rehearsal the day of the first show...ice please!
The last few months has definitely had some of the most fun stretches of music making this year. The Winnipeg Jazz Festival had a pretty amazing run of fun musical experiences. Not only was it great to play in the smaller intimate venues like Cinematheque and play real improvisational music for the jazz fans, but I also got to play on the outdoor stage for music fans. This year was extra special as I got the opportunity to play on the Burt and Cummings Theatre stage opening for Trombone Shorty with DCBB, and that was quite surreal to say the least…it is so great to see all the support for the arts in this city, not only was there so much great music, but the crowds were fantastic and volunteers made everything run so smoothly! After that wrapped up things started shifting away from Winnipeg a bit, and the following weekend I played at the Saskatoon Jazz Fest which turned out to be another highlight of the summer. DCBB played an afternoon outdoor stage set in a park downtown near the river, similar to the cube in Winnipeg but seemed a little more tucked away. We then played an evening set at The Capitol not too far away where we opened for John Cleary, who I had not heard of up to this point, and ohh man did his trio ever tear it up! For those who are not aware of him either, John Cleary is a pianist/bandleader who has been living in New Orleans for the past 30 years, and perfectly captures the New Orleans sound in his music, it was almost like I was transported! This was the best concert I had seen in a while! I then played again with the fish at Dauphin Countryfest and Winnipeg Folk Fest. Once again the Times Change(d) tent show at WFF was the highlight. The following weekend I played a memorable gig outdoors at Rockin the Red Festival out in Lockport with the WSO Brass Quintet. We played old Dixieland tunes, which was fun, and playing with such high calibour musicians is always a treat! But the real reason why this gig is so burnt into my memory was because a fairly nasty rain storm came through during our set drenching one half of my body/clothes, I was on the end where the wind was coming from…we were forced to stop playing and the 2nd half our set was cut short. The kicker is that I had to wait a set before going back on stage, after the rain cleared, with The “B” Side Champs! The next weekend I went out again with DCBB to the Brandon Folk Festival, which was more nostalgic then anything as that was the very first festival that I ever played in back when I lived in Brandon and was with Nuphunk Orchestra. The crowd was great and the food was delicious! The following weekend DCBB had it’s release for “Big Shiny Brass” at the Park Theatre. Definitely a highlight of the year. The crowd had an amazing energy, and the bands sound was elevated because of it. It was a good night for all involved! We then went on a small week long tour out west which deserves it’s own post (some pictures included from Regina Folk Fest)! After that wrapped up, August seemed to shift into private events and parties with bands including Sunny Roseland, Hot & Dirty Dance Party, “B “ Side Champs, Hot Bottom, and DCBB. The Catfish also just returned from our first tour to the States which also deserves another separate post. Thanks for reading and for all the support!