By: Jen Mulson April 4, 2018
This one’s for the brass fans in the house.
Two trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba make up the popular quintet Boston Brass, well known for its original arrangements of classical and jazz music. They’ll perform Saturday at the Ent Center for the Arts.
After a group of music students formed the band in 1986, it took about a dozen years for them to come into their own. Founder and original member Jeff Conner says it was the personnel and the presentation of the music that earned them attention.
“We were doing it off memory, and the arrangements were unique and had never been heard before – a brass quintet doing the kind of music we were doing, especially the jazz,” said the trumpet player, who graduated from Boston University.
The first half of the show is classical music-oriented, with works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Astor Pizzola and John Williams and Spanish orchestral dances. The second half features jazz tunes by Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and others. Joining them on stage for several songs will be the Restoration Brass Ensemble, a collection of professional brass and percussion musicians in the Colorado Springs area, including Glen Whitehead, a trumpet player and associate professor of music at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Conner and Whitehead attended Boston University and studied trumpet under Tim Morrison, a famous trumpet player who has often been featured on film soundtracks by Williams, including “Saving Private Ryan” and “Apollo 13.” Morrison will be in the Springs to conduct the large ensemble with Restoration Brass and do a pre-concert talk with Conner and Whitehead.
After more than three decades in the business, Conner attributes the band’s staying power to the three Ps.
“People, passion and perseverance. We’ve had lots of people who have helped us along the way. We have a passion for what we do and the music we play. The audience feels like they know the group by the end of the concert. And perseverance – we keep forging ahead.”