I teach trumpet technique and jazz improvisation. Trumpet technique includes an assessment of where the student is at right now, in terms of trumpet essentials, (warm-ups, sight reading, scales, modes, intervals, tongueing, slurring, interpretation, range, endurance, blending and phrasing with others, etc.), and to introduce tailored studies that will help to solve some of the difficulties in mastering the instrument.
Jazz improvisation will be examined mostly from a trumpeter’s perspective, including a broad survey of jazz trumpet trumpet styles, a study of individual styles of great jazz trumpeters, through transcriptions of their insightful solos. We will also use play-along jazz cds, such as “Jamey Aebersold”, to learn new jazz tunes, work on chords, progressions, solo structure, and to apply many of the things worked on in trumpet technique and solo transcriptions.
I approach teaching jazz trumpet as a way to improve on what the student already knows and to help propel them in the direction that they are already moving in, not to change anyone’s style or to conform to anyone else’s approach. Jazz listening, studying and performing can be a very wide open way for each individual to express themselves. Like any creative art form, it is open to interpretation, and each student should always remain open to new possibilities.
Since 1982, trumpeter Ron Horton has been an integral part of New York’s flourishing jazz scene and he stands out both as an exemplary instrumentalist and as a highly progressive composer and arranger. Whether called upon as a sideman or as a leader of one of his own ensembles, he shows that he is committed to further expanding the existing perimeters of jazz.
Horton has had many long musical associations with leaders such as saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom (1983-2000) and pianist Andrew Hill. He was a member of Hill’s sextet from 1998 until 2003, and appears on the group’s critically acclaimed cd, Dusk (Palmetto 2000). He was also musical director and co-arranger for Hill’s big band, and is featured on the cd, A Beautiful Day (Palmetto 2002). Horton has also had an integral collaboration with New York’s Jazz Composers Collective, going back to its inception in 1992, and appears on several cds by the other members of the group, such as Ben Allison and Michael Blake, as well as the collective’s Herbie Nichols Project. In 1995, Horton went to the Library of Congress and uncovered over three dozen of Nichols’ songs that had never been recorded. Several of these works appear on the three cds released by the HNP on Soul Note and Palmetto. Through his work with the JCC, Horton has received composing grants from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and Meet the Composer.
Ron Horton was born in 1960 in Bethesda, Maryland, and has been frequently called on as a sideman to perform and/or record with such artists as Lee Konitz, Will Holshouser, Rez Abbasi, Phillip Johnston, Andy Laster, Mick Rossi, Matt Wilson, Bill Gerhardt, Bill Mays, Peggy Stern, Allan Chase, Andy Biskin, Ted Nash, Jon Gordon, John McKenna, Walter Thompson, Diana Perez, Billy Newman, Mario Pavone, Tina Marsh, Maryanne DeProphetis, Landon Knoblock, Sam Bardfeld, Maria Guida, Abigail Riccards, Angie Sanchez, Kris Davis, Darcy James Argue and many others.
In 1999, Horton released his debut cd, Genius Envy (OmniTone), featuring Jane Ira Bloom. All About Jazz said of the cd, “(Horton) shines as a formidable composer, arranger and leader. (It’s) not difficult to discern why Horton is highly respected within jazz circles”. Subtextures, Horton’s first release on Fresh Sounds New Talent (FSNT-175) features pianist Kimbrough, bassist Allison and drummer Matt Wilson. It includes four new original compositions, as well as those by Kimbrough, Hill, Olivier Messiaen, and Frederic Chopin. The cd was selected by Jazzman magazine (France) for its CHOC award as one of the top cds of 2004. Jazzwise (UK) also chose it as one of the top cds of 2004. Horton’s 2005 cd, Everything in a Dream (Fresh Sounds – FSNT 243), features his two-bass septet, which includes bassists John Hebert and Masa Kamaguchi as well as saxophonists Tony Malaby and John O’Gallagher, pianist Kimbrough and drummer Mike Sarin.
Horton has taught master classes and workshops at The New School (New York), New England Conservatory (Boston), Univ. No.Carolina, Oxford University (UK). He currently teaches at the New York Jazz Workshop. In October 2008, the Juilliard Concert Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Ted Nash, performed an evening of Andrew’s Hill’s music utilizing Ron’s arrangements, which had been previously written for Hill’s A Beautiful Day and for the Jazz Composers Collective. Horton’s newest cd, It’s a Gadget World (ABEAT ABJZ-067), is a collaboration with Italian pianist Antonio Zambrini. The cd features compositions by Ron, Antonio, Paul Motian and Andrew Hill, and the quartet is completed by bassist Ben Allison and drummer Tony Moreno.