Anti-Mass, a chamber-jazz concept album by trumpeter/composer Erik Jekabson, features his String-tet playing music inspired by artwork from the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. The impressive list of sideman includes Dayna Stephens, tenor sax; Mads Tolling, violin; Charith Premawardhana, viola,; John Wiitala, bass; Smith Dobson on drums and vibraphone; and Jekabson on trumpet and flugelhorn.
“I’m a trumpeter, composer and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Erik. “Back in 2007, I decided to put together a new ensemble, which I have more recently called my String-tet. I had just graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a Master’s Degree in composition, and wanted to combine some of the classical music influences I had been studying and composing there with the jazz, funk and Latin music I had been playing professionally since 1995. I decided to go with an instrumentation of trumpet, tenor sax, violin, viola, string bass, and drums, giving the group flexibility to go in different musical directions.
“While preparing to do my very first concert with the String-tet at the DeYoung Museum in 2007, I received a grant from Intersection of the Arts and the DeYoung to write a composition inspired by a piece of artwork in the museum’s permanent collection. Wandering the museum in search of inspiration, I came across an installation: “Anti-Mass”, created by the British artist Cornelia Parker. I knew immediately that this was the piece for me to interpret musically, and after sketching out some themes and ideas right there, I raced home to complete the composition, which ended up being about 15 minutes long.
“We played that composition, also called “Anti-Mass”, at our concert at the DeYoung, and I had a blast! I found the process of composing music inspired by artwork and architecture so rewarding that I decided to create an entire album based on artwork in the DeYoung, and by the museum’s surroundings. With the blessing of the folks at the DeYoung, I visited the museum again to find more inspiring artwork, and, again, to sketch melodies and textures down in my notepad while viewing the artwork. I finished the compositions at home, and with the help of a Musical Performance Grant from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, was able to record the String-tet in July of 2011. We spent two days recording at Fantasy studios, and I’m really proud of the music that we created.”
About: Erik Jekabson
Erik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer, and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is equally busy playing and composing for different bands, leading his own groups and teaching a wide variety of students. Erik has two CDs out under his own name: his most recent solo album “Crescent Boulevard”, released in 2010 on his own Jekab’s Music label, and “Intersection”, which was recorded in New York in 2002 and released on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label. Erik also co-produced and played on two other recordings which are widely available: “Vista: the Arrival” and “New World Funk Ensemble”, and has recorded as a sideman on over 25 other jazz recordings, as well as doing session work in many other genres of music and on movie and video game soundtracks. He’s spent time on the road with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic, and the Howard Fishman Quartet, and has performed at such notable venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Algonquin Room, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.
Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area, and has performed at the DeYoung Museum, SFJazz’s Summer Series, the Napa Valley Jazz Society’s Parlor Series, Jazz at Pearl’s, Pacifica Performances, the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Jazzschool, the Red Poppy Art House, and the Piedmont Piano Company. He has also appeared as a sideman at the San Jose Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the North Beach Jazz Festival, and the Gualala Jazz Festival. Erik maintains a busy schedule as a freelance musician and often performs with local Bay Area musicians such as the Jazz Mafia, Terry Disley, Mario Guarneri, Marcus Shelby, Larry Vuckovich, Lavay Smith, and the Happy Hour Jazz Quintet. Erik has a Bachelors Degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently teaching at the Jazzschool Institute, Chabot College, Cal State East Bay, and Los Medanos College. He has also given clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College in New Orleans, and is a regular instructor at Jazzcamp West, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop and at the Brubeck Institute. Erik has also written two books of jazz duets for trumpet. He recommends that everyone see music teachers to help fine tune their skills.