UA's FivePlay Brass releases Christmas album

By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Students and an alumnus of the UA School of Music took on the task of producing their own CD, which has been released just in time for the holidays.

FivePlay Brass, a quintet of trumpet, trombone, tuba and horn players, released its first CD, Greetings from the Arctic: FivePlay Brass does Christmas on Nov. 20.

The members of the group recorded and produced the 16-track album, which includes popular Christmas carols like "Deck the Halls" and "Noel, Noel," in a studio in the home of three of the members.

Many of the songs on the album were arranged by members of the group, said Andrew Thompson, a trombone performance and music education senior who plays trombone in the group.

"I'm very happy with how the CD came out and thrilled to be associated with something we did entirely ourselves," Thompson said.

The group is made up of two trumpet players, a horn player, a trombone player and a tuba and bass trombone player.

Ed Reid, trumpet performance associate professor, said he's taught Al Cannon, trumpet performance alumnus, and Martin Patfield, trumpet performance and computer science senior, for four and five years, respectively.

Both Cannon and Patfield play trumpet in the group, and Reid said he is impressed with their musical talents.

"They are both amazingly talented musicians. Both of these people are very above average, intelligence-wise and musically," Reid said. "I have great respect for both of these players."

The CD is available on the group's Web site for $12. FivePlay Brass will also hold an informal release get-together for family and friends Dec. 4.

The release party will be held at the home of three of the members, which is where the CD was also recorded. The group set up a studio at the house called GreenKeeper Studios.

Jeff Haskell, a professor of jazz studies in the school of music and dance, said the group works together very well and he is impressed with how quickly they put the CD together.

"The level of the group is very high; they all play in the same sandbox and no one throws sand in anyone's face," Haskell said.

Haskell is the founding member of a local jazz group, Jazzberry Jam, of which Patfield is the newest member, Haskell said.

"Martin is a superlative musician, way beyond his years," Haskell said.

Patfield was the first artist to record in the UA School of Music's recording studio, Park Avenue Records.

Cannon had originally planned on attending graduate school at CalArts in Los Angeles. The members of FivePlay Brass are now looking at the possibility of attending graduate school together.

Since graduating, Cannon said he has worked hard as the group's manager and composer.

"Al has really been the sparkplug of the organization," Haskell said.

Jamie Keesecker a music composition and performance senior, plays horn for the group and Chris Beatty, a fine arts graduate student, plays tuba and bass trombone.