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Michael Phillip Mossman Trumpet Player
in New York City

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman of New York City

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman's Debut Album as a Leader

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman of New York City grew up in Ridley, Pennslyvannia Southwest of the Philly Airport in a blue-collar neighborhood not noted (at that time) for the arts. They have a fine Jazz program now, though. All the kids leaving 2nd grade were encouraged to take up a band instrument. Michael wanted to play the guitar, but his parents were afraid he would become a Hippy (it was the 60's!) Michaels arms were too short for the trombone, so the trumpet became a natural fit for Michael. Oddly, Michael's grandfather had always called him "Satchmo," from the time he was an infant! Michael started private trumpet lessons very late. Michael had played in band since the 3rd grade, but didn't like the lessons (especially the music) and quit. Michael taught himself to play by listening to the radio and taping (reel to reel) things that had a trumpet in them. There was WRTI from Temple University that played jazz. (Michael didn't know it was jazz, just that it had trumpet in it!) Michael played along and learned to play by ear. Michael did not learn to read music until he was 15 years old. When Michael attended a jazz workshop, encouraged by a friend, Michael found he could improvise and play in the right style. Michael's clinic director was Trumpet great Marvin Stamm, from New York City, who encouraged Michael to get some private trumpet lessons. Michael started studying private trumpet with Don Ramos in Chester, Pennslyvannia, who had been trumpet player Marcus Belgrave's teacher. Don encouraged Michael to go to college for music. He also got Michael into a local rehearsal band, which gave Michael a chance to play big band jazz with professional players every week. Michael played all the stock charts and did some gigs and was very excited about the whole thing. Later, Michael had the opportunity to go to Europe with the American Youth Jazz Orchestra, directed by Hal Schiff, a noted teacher from Wilmington, Delaware.

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman attended Oberlin College, where he studied Sociology/Anthropology. Michael eventually was accepted into the Conservatory as well and graduated with two degrees. When Michael entered school, he had not even heard of the Haydn Concerto. By the time Michael left, he had played principal trumpet in the orchestra regularly as well as contemporary classical music, brass and wind ensemble, jazz ensemble and solo recitals. Michael's teachers were Gene Young, Byron Pearson and Wendell Logan, who founded the Jazz Program and saw it through very tough and unsupported times until its present prominence. He, more than anyone, was Michael's mentor as well as one for many others.

After graduating from Oberlin, Michael moved to Chicago, where he studied with Tim Kent from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, by a happy coincidence, with Vincent Cichowicz. Michael had a great time in Chicago and stayed for two years, gaining experience as a professional musician and learning more of the great tradition of brass playing there.

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman arrived in Chicago having no idea how to find work. Michael walked around town with his trumpet in a plastic bag as he lived in a tough neighborhood and people were getting ripped off left and right on the buses and subways. One night a trumpeter in a jazz club told Michael he'd been fired from a gig with a Latin band, but that he thought Michael could do the gig. He told Michael just to show up at rehearsal next day. Michael did, dressed in his trench coat and with a long parcel under his arm in a bag not knowing the place was run by a convicted killer. When Michael showed up asking for him, panic ensued, until Michael said, "my name is Michael Mossman and I just graduated from college and I want to sit in." The musicians were on the floor laughing, but Michael got the gig and that was his start.

With some income ($50/night for 6 sets, 7 on Saturday night) Michael was able to keep going. There was a band of the better-situated musicians working at the Wise Fools Pub on Monday nights. Michael went there week after week hoping to sit in, but was refused each time. Finally, one night a trumpet player was late and Michael asked to sit in. The band leader said no, but the bari sax player, Ron Kolber said, over his half moon specs, "Aw let the kid play!" Classic! Anyway, they did and there was a solo in Michaels part. After they finished the chart, the bandleader announced Michael as the newest member of the band. The musicians in that group helped Michael find work all over town.

While at a jazz festival, Michael met Bill Fielder, who taught many excellent trumpeters, such as Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Sean Jones, and Terrell Stafford. He had also studied with Vince Cichowicz and he and Michael hit it off. Next thing Michael knew, Michael had a scholarship to Rutgers University for grad school and was back on the east coast. Many of the students Michael was there with became serious jazz musicians. They sat in with Art Blakey, Jon Faddis, Wynton's band and anyone else who was kind enough to support young musicians.

Because Michael was on the scene, when Terence Blanchard needed a sub for a gig at the Village Gate with the Jazz Messengers, they called me. Michael invited Lew Soloff to come. He didn't make it, but when Michael asked him for trumpet lessons, he remembered Michael. When Michael went to his place he asked Michael to play something and Michael played him the 3rd movement of the Haydn Concerto. He said he'd confused Michael with a jazz player who wanted lessons. When Michael played him some jazz stuff, he said he just considered Michael a colleague! Very high praise from a real complete trumpeter like Soloff! Lew was about as responsible as anyone, or more, for getting Michael started on the New York music scene as a working professional. Another dear friend was Kamau Adilifu, a great trumpeter and gentleman, who got Michael started subbing on Broadway shows. Soon Michael was doing jingle work and Broadway, as well as light chamber music with a couple of chamber orchestras.

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman's big jazz break came in 1985 when he won an audition for Blue Note Records "Young Lions" band which came to be known as OTB, or Out of the Blue, with Kenny Garrett, Ralph Peterson, Bob Hurst, Ralph Bowen and Harry Pickens. They recorded 4 albums for Blue Note and did a lot of the jazz festivals, especially the Mount Fuji Festivals, where Michael was able to meet and hang with Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw. Michael learned a lot from both of them.

While still in grad school, Michael joined the Machito Orchestra after hearing them in a concert, and was initiated into the world, or family, of Afro-Cuban Jazz in New York City. Michael also did stints with Lionel Hampton and as the lead player with Toshiko Akiyoshi's Jazz Orchestra. Through Lew Soloff, Michael wound up playing with Michel Camilo, whose music (and hearing Lew play it!) taught Michael loads about how to play "impossible" music.

Michael's time on the Latin scene eventually led him to the band of Mario Bauza, the legendary founder of Afro-Cuban Jazz. He gave Michael his start as a professional arranger, which led to Michael writing and playing with Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, and Eddie Palmieri. Michael's writing for them also led him to be invited to join Slide Hampton's Jazz Masters, which, in turn led to writing and playing with Joe Henderson's Big Band. Slide Hampton has been a great help to so many aspiring players and writers!

Trumpet Player Jon Faddis, who has been a great friend and mentor to Michael in so many ways, invited Michael to both perform and write for the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, which really was a fantastic place for Michael to learn. The band still continues under Jon's name. Through Jon, Michael has also been able to write for the Chicago Jazz Ensemble (including the ballet "Beneath the Mask," which was choreographed by Michael's wife, (Mayte Vicens) and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Michael joined Jazz at Lincoln Center's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with Arturo O'Farrill, largely through Michael's association with the great Chico O'Farrill who Michael knew through Mario Bauza. Michael plays lead trumpet with the Chico O'Farrill Orchestra at Birdland on Sunday nights. The "Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra" just won a Grammy for the album, "Song for Chico."

Michael also has the amazing fortune to direct the Graduate Jazz Studies program at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York City. This was due to the grace of Jimmy Heath, with whom Michael has also had the amazing pleasure to play! Michael relates, "He is true genius and one the world's most giving human beings."

Trumpet Player Michael Mossman states, "Anything I can do on the trumpet now is the result of my teacher's hard work, patience and generosity in showing me many things. The most important of those came from Vincent Cichowicz and the Chicago School on one hand, and Jon Faddis advice on building strength. These are both very simple (but not easy) concepts. No over-analysis, just making sure the air moves freely and with intensity, even when playing softly. Having a clear concept of the sound you want as well as the musical interpretation you intend are essential, as is good posture and breathing habits. I think that my best teaching work has come from developing techniques of applying these fundamental concepts to advanced jazz techniques. I always seek to bridge the gap between brass playing concepts and jazz technique as far as flexibility, range and harmonic/linear content."

Michael Mossman continues, "When I came back East to grad school, I rebuilt my embouchure from scratch, largely as a result of seeing Freddie Hubbard and Adolph Herseth play with completely unobstructed air streams. I had taught myself to play with my lower lip rolled over my teeth, making a free air stream impossible and resolved to correct that or move on to something else professionally. It took 3 years, largely due to my continuing to play (and record for Blue Note!) during the transition a very stressful time, but ultimately worth it both in results and teaching insights. I recommend the same trumpet method books I studied from including Arban's Complete Conservatory Method For Trumpet, Max Schlossberg Daily Drills For Trumpet, Herbert L. Clarke Technical Studies, Irons, Walter Smith, Charlier, St. Jacomb's Grand Method For Trumpet but with customizations and exercises based on the above, expanded to include a greater range of harmonic and rhythmic content."

Michael Mossman plays Yamaha instruments and is a Yamaha Performing Artist. Michael uses both a Yamaha YTR-8335RS Zeno Professional Model Bb Trumpet and a Yamaha YTR 8310Z Bobby Shew Professional Model Bb Trumpet for lead trumpet playing. Michael uses a Schilke 17C4 trumpet mouthpiece to practice on, but plays a variety of other mouthpieces depending on the situation all the way to a Schilke 14A4A trumpet mouthpiece, which he uses in the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. Michael plays a Yamaha trombone, flugelhorn and piccolo trumpet, so switching mouthpieces is not a big deal for Michael. Michael publishes charts with the Hal Leonard Corporation and has been doing clinics for years in the United States and abroad (in English and Spanish). Michael usually sends bands a boatload of charts to choose from if a concert is included.

To contact Trumpet Artist Michael Mossman ... email Michael at or

Michael Mossman Discography At CD Universe

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