Brassfire Northern Stars

by Jens Lindemann

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about

Celebrated international trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann created Brassfire ‘Northern Stars’  as an instrumental tribute to his home country.  Featuring the ‘Canadian Heroes Trilogy’, an original musical portrait composed for his friends Ambassador Ken Taylor, Senator Tommy Banks and Premier Peter Lougheed, this recording also celebrates artistic icons Oscar Peterson, Maynard Ferguson and Leonard Cohen.  

With an ensemble of artists who are multiple Juno winners and Grammy nominees, Brassfire ‘Northern Stars’ was produced at Banff Centre by Jens Lindemann alongside 13-time Grammy winning recording engineer Richard King from Montreal. With music and artists as diverse as the country itself, Brassfire ‘Northern Stars’ celebrates Canada and it’s rich history.

Jens Lindemann is the first classical brass player to ever receive the Order of Canada and the foremost trumpet soloist in his country’s history. Celebrated for his beauty of tone and virtuosity, Jens Lindemann’s career has ranged from being a multiple Juno and Grammy nominee in numerous musical styles to being a viral video sensation as the ‘snowstorm trumpeter’.  Equally at home playing Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, or the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, Jens has a unique connection to audiences in all venues and places.  The recipient of major international awards from Prague and Munich and three honorary degrees, Jens is also the only trumpeter to win the ‘Grand Prize’ in the 60-year history of the Canadian Music Competition.  

"Jens Lindemann gave a sizzling, high energy performance in the American premiere of the trumpet concerto 'Dreaming of the Masters' at Carnegie Hall” 

-New York Times
 

Brassfire 'Northern Stars'
Jens Lindemann-Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Piccolo Trumpet
Robi Botos-Piano Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes
Matt Catingub-Piano Alto Saxophone, vocals 
Gilad Dobrecky-Percussion
Mike Downes-Acoustic/Electric Bass
Al Muirhead-Bass Trumpet
Barry Shiffman-Violin
Joel Taylor-Drums

Hymn to Freedom is an iconic composition written by Canadian legend Oscar Peterson in 1964 and was adopted by the American Civil Rights movement as a musical anthem. The inherent power of this work lies in the subtle beauty of it’s theme and the rousing gospel ending giving hope to the future.

Banff Beyond Beautiful is an original composition by Matt Catingub. In the composers own words, “This is a musical portrait of the feeling and emotions when experiencing Lake Louise in Banff National Park for the very first time.”

Canadian Heroes Trilogy

Hero: a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. With that definition in mind, Jens Lindemann has created this suite as a tribute to three men who not only fit that description, but were also close personal friends and mentors. All were iconic Canadians admired around the world and justifiably celebrated here at home. These musical portraits pay homage to their heroic legacies.


Senator Tommy Banks, ‘Reminiscence’
Considered one of the most iconic musicians in Canadian history, Tommy Banks was a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, TV personality, businessman and Senator. He was also one of Jens’ most important friends and mentors with whom he concertized, toured and recorded back-to-back Juno nominated recordings in 2016 and 2017. This work was originally written as part of a double concerto for piano and saxophone by Canadian composer Allan Gilliland but Tommy never had the chance to play it. The composition now stands alone in this format and has been retitled ‘Reminiscence’ as a musical tribute to Tommy’s incredible life and career. For Jens, the long final note was simply about not wanting to let go of a friend and holding on with a last breath of air. “Remember kid, it’s the ‘music business’ which is two words…keep that straight and you’ll be fine.”-Tommy Banks

Ambassador Ken Taylor, ‘Diplomat’
For his pivotal role in harboring six Americans for three months during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, Ken Taylor was celebrated as a hero both in Canada and the United States. Having been a close personal friend since 1992, this work was written for Ken by Jens along with noted Emmy award winning composer Jay Chattaway as a musical portrait of Ambassador Taylor’s extraordinary life. Opening with a speech by President Jimmy Carter, a noble theme depicting Ken’s understated personality is followed by a contemporary groove from that era paying tribute to his western Canadian roots. This ends suddenly with a rhythmic juxtaposition representing the historic world tension of the time coupled with Ken’s cool, elegant demeanor. A final musical send-off with a lone trumpet and piano is accompanied by the words of President Ronald Reagan expressing the pride of an entire nation thanking this true Canadian hero.

Premier Peter Lougheed, ‘Legacy’
Composed by Jens Lindemann, ‘Legacy’ is a tone poem representing the life and career of this revered Alberta Premier who received a Canadian state funeral upon his passing in 2012. As an iconic politician who led the booming energy industry in Alberta, Peter Lougheed was also pivotal in recognizing the need to support Banff Centre which is now a leading international arts institution and the location where this recording took place. Jens has known the Lougheed family since the 1980’s and went to high school with one of Peter’s sons, Joseph who is now a noted Calgary lawyer (and was a spectacular trombone player back in the day!). It’s six continuous sections are described as:

I Lougheed … the dawn of a political legacy (0:00-2:20)
II Career ... a political champion is born (2:20-3:03)
III 1-9-5-2 Love … pitches outlined in piano and also the year that Peter and Jeanne married (3:03-4:28)
IV Battle ... over the National Energy Program (4:28-5:02)
V Virtuosity …. his ability to create harmony from chaos (5:02-6:16)
VI Legacy … the dusk of a political giant (6:16-end)

Song of Hope was originally written by Canadian based composer Dr. Peter Meechan as a tune simply titled, ’Song’. It is now dedicated to Ryan Anthony, Jens Lindemann’s former colleague in the Canadian Brass and has been adopted as an anthem for Ryan as he himself continues to bring awareness through his foundation ‘Cancer Blows’ and his own battle with Multiple Myeloma in particular. Ending with a trumpet choir including Banff Centre residents, Jonathan Bhatia, ????????, ’Song of Hope’ is filled with the musical message that we will continue finding ways to beat cancer while continuing to care for each other.

Hallelujah’ is considered one of Leonard Cohen’s most memorable compositions. Due to it’s iconic melody, it lends itself beautifully as an instrumental. Performed with only trumpet and bass, famed Canadian violinist Barry Shiffman also provides a poignant counterline to this epic song.

Li’l Darlin' is a 1957 jazz standard composed by Neal Hefti for the Count Basie Orchestra. This rendition features the legendary Canadian jazz musician Al Muirhead on bass trumpet in a duet with Jens on flugelhorn. Li’l Darlin’ is one of the greatest slow ballads ever written and simply can never be played in a hurry. Only Al Muirhead (at the youthful age of 83!) could have counted this in at the right tempo!

Suite Hellénique was written by saxophonist Pedro Ituralde as a through composed suite in four sections called Kalamatianos - Funky - Valse - Kritis. This arrangement was done by Jens Lindemann to feature the stylistic range, virtuosity and improvisational skills of the Brassfire ensemble. As with the multicultural make-up of Canada itself, this track intentionally tries to blur stylistic stereotypes.

Crazy, written by Seal in 1990, was inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square Massacre as a reflection of that profound time in human history. With vocals sung by Matt Catingub, the poignant words challenge people to rise to new heights.

Reelin’ in the Years was a Steely Dan hit from 1973. This arrangement was inspired by the life and legacy of Canadian trumpeter Maynard Ferguson whose powerful high notes were legendary and inspired an entire generation of trumpeters including Jens.

credits

released November 3, 2018

Jens Lindemann-Trumpet/Flugelhorn/Piccolo Trumpet
Robi Botos-PIano, Fender Rhodes/Hammond B3
Matt Catingub-PIano/Also Saxophone
Gilad Dobrecky-Percussion
Mike Downes-Electric/Acoustic Bass
Joel Taylor-Drums

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