Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project
Mar 3, 2017
Vince Tampio is a professional trumpeter, arranger/composer, educator and multi-instrumentalist in the Philadelphia and New York regions. His primary instrument is trumpet; he also performs on assorted brass and electric bass. Vince holds a Masters of Music degree in Jazz Performance from the University of the Arts and holds a Bachelor of Science in Music degree concentrating in Jazz Studies and Theory & Composition from the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz.
Vince is the trumpeter and arranger for Philadelphia’s premier 1960’s soul tribute band, The York Street Hustle. Additionally, he works with a number of other bands that cross genres including funk, rock, folk, jazz and electronic. He is also a founding member of Philadelphia’s answer to the Memphis Horns, the Philly Phatness horn section. Vince has appeared on more than 20 albums during the past five years, including his own debut solo album SYZYGY (2014), and its follow up, SYZYGY: Remix (2014). Fast becoming a sought after trumpet and arranger, Vince continually pursues work performing, arranging, composing, teaching and recording original music.
In October of 2016, Vince Tampio was a featured artist in our HotHouse At PAFA After Dark Concert Series. We recorded the events of that night and Vince compiled, edited and mixed them into a fabouluous new CD, entitled, Live at PafA. We spoke with him about thexperience and the project.
PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction/passion?
Vince Tampio: I seek the freedom and possess the urge to create a diverse body of art. I have ears for a variety of music; whatever aspects resonate with me will appear in my music. I plan to release a lot of different music while always moving forward and refining.
PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?
Vince Tampio: Everybody has their musical roots; mine are many and wide. My earliest musical memory is hearing Dick Parry’s tenor saxophone solo on Pink Floyd’s “Money” from their Dark Side of the Moon album. It’s the sax’s first appearance on that album and it hooked my ear. Years later, I joined the elementary school’s band program. We were given a choice of instruments that we could study. My choices were: 1) saxophone, 2) trumpet, and 3) percussion. I was offered my second choice and luckily, my father’s high school friend, Allen Lock, gave me a trumpet.
In band we played marches, holiday music, and popular movie soundtrack arrangements for elementary band, but a score titled “Bb Blues” drew me towards jazz. Since my father is a fan of big band, I started listening to Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, as well as Louis Armstrong. My middle school band director, Darrin Thornton, had a poster of Miles Davis in his office and subsequently introduced me to Miles Davis, leading to John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, etc… It definitely helped that we could receive Toronto, Canada’s JAZZ.FM radio station.
I was a teenager when I resurrected my parents’ record collection. It’s ripe with ‘60s and ‘70s British rock. I started listening to Pink Floyd, the Alan Parsons Project, and Led Zeppelin. I quadrupled the record collection with albums by Supertramp, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, etc… Inspired, I picked up guitar, bass, organ, and drums by ear, but never put the trumpet down. I went to college at SUNY New Paltz for a Bachelor degree in Music concentrating in Jazz Studies and Theory & Composition; I earned my Masters of Music in Jazz Studies at UArts.
My musical roots are many and wide. The two dominant forces are Pink Floyd and Miles Davis. Their bodies of work are diverse and deep; neither stopped progressing their art. Pink Floyd was a rock band that integrated jazz and Miles Davis was a jazz trumpeter that integrated rock. My creative output falls somewhere between.
PJP: What drives your professional and business development?
Vince Tampio: My musical direction drives my professional and business development. I participate in musical projects that I enjoy and through which I can grow. Moving to Philadelphia was a major step towards independent musical employment (I am self employed); there is a lot of opportunity in Philadelphia. Often, an opportunity opens doors to more opportunity. I’m willing to try a lot of different work, but ultimately the music must speak to me.
PJP: Tell us about your most recent CD project?
Vince Tampio: Live at PafA is a live album featuring an improvised conversation between traditional jazz instruments and non-western instruments; including Eastern European percussion and the Indian drone instrument, all held in place by funk bass. This project was recorded as part of HotHouse At PafA After Dark: a concert series, by you guys, the Philadelphia Jazz Project.
PJP: Yeah. We loved the experience. Why is this project important?
Vince Tampio: Live at PafA is my third solo album and my first live album. I released my first solo album, Syzygy in January, 2014. Syzygy is an instrumental concept album that draws from rock, jazz, and world music styles. It follow-up, Syzygy Remix was released November, 2014. It is a collection of remixes performed by other artists based on the raw audio from Syzygy.
Whereas the previous two albums were produced primarily by recording each instrument separately, Live at PafA captures a live performance in an acoustic space. There was no opportunity for alternate takes. What you hear is a sonic representation of how my mind operates. And in my opinion, it features one of my best live performances recorded to date.
PJP: It was an engaging experience for the experience. Tell us a little about who performed on this project with you?
Vince Tampio: I chose the musicians for this ensemble based on interpersonal communication. Brian Blaker (tenor saxophone) and I met while both pursuing our Masters in Music degrees at UArts. We honed our musical relationship in graduate ensemble; developing an ear for each other’s sensibilities and subtleties. I perform with Jonathon Colvson (electric bass) and Ben Diamond (percussion) in Red 40 & the Last Groovement. The relationship between bassists and drummers is crucial for a solid rhythm section. Jon and Ben lock together while still engaging with the rest of the ensemble. Sarah Robertson (tanpura) is a former student and my partner. She provides the harmonic glue that bridges the horn section and rhythm section. Beyond communication, musicianship goes without saying; everybody on this project’s got chops.
PJP: True indeed. Can you describe the process?
Vince Tampio: For this particular project, I collected a variety of musical compositions. Many of these compositions were less-developed sketches I had written for past projects, some dating as far back as a decade. The charts provide very basic information: bass line, harmony, and melody. All these compositions stem from a bass line. I fit the bass lines to the tanpura’s implied harmony, since the tanpura only drones. Usually by this point in the creative process, a melody and implied rhythm has sublimated.
All of the compositions for Live at PafA were written in isolation. I notated the sketches independently and then presented them to the band. The forms are looser than traditional jazz; the performance is akin to free jazz. The musicians have a lot of freedom to develop the composition live, but I retain the ultimate authority over its direction.
PJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?
Vince Tampio: Understand that the music is primarily improvised. The recording captured a physical and mental performance. The physical performance is what was played; the mental performance is the real time thought process behind the physical performance. Sometimes the audience can hear both happening simultaneously. Since we perform this material in other venues, understand also that each subsequent performance is different. Live at PafA captured one performance.
Enjoy this album on the best sound system you have access to. It’s mixed it in stereo, sit in between the right and left channels at a comfortable distance. If you like what you hear and are curious to experience the music live, stay tuned for upcoming shows with this particular ensemble. We will be performing this material periodically.
PJP: If folks want to find out more about your CD, or to purchase it, how might they do that?
Vince Tampio: Find out more about my CD by contacting me directly. My website is www.vincetampio.com and I am on most social media platforms. All my albums are available as downloads and in CD format through my website. My albums are also distributed by CD Baby and are available for download via popular online vendors including Amazon and iTunes.
PJP: I know we've talked about this before, but why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?
Vince Tampio: Jazz affords me the freedom to create a diverse body of art. The art form owns a rich history yet always encourages diversity. Jazz also a foundation or element of so many other genres of music. It is always moving forward, which motivates me to progress. It’s an art that hosts a community concerned with challenging conversations (musical and otherwise). There’s room for everybody and above all, it sounds good!
Be sure to check out Vince Tampio's, Live at PafA.
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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.