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My Summer: From Virginia to Australia

This summer has been a lot of fun. In June, I served as an instructor at the 3rd Annual Jazz Institute at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA. I really enjoyed working with the wonderful kids there. Thanks again to everyone involved, especially Chad Eby, Michael Blanco, Daniel Faust, Cyrus Pace and Dylan Locke.

I was also fortunate enough to serve as the The Central Greenough Artist in Residence in Western Australia. While I was there, I performed at the Central Greenough historical settlement as well as the Queens Park Theatre in Geraldton, where I premeired a new piece, Land of the Setting Sun. I had a great time working with the kids at Nagle Catholic College and Geralton Senior College. Special thanks to the guys in the band for your beautiful playing: Chris Budhan, Josh Crothers, and Daniel Susnjar. Another special thanks to the people at the Central Greenough historical settlement for your unbelievable hospitality: Kevin and Elaine Freeman, Joao (John) Victor Leite, and Eden Doudle. Finally, thanks to Jo Tamburri and Michelle Jones at the Greenough Wildlife & Bird Park for letting me have a run of the place and pet the kangaroos!

Live at the Shrine!

I will be performing at the Shrine on April 2. The Shrine is one of the best live music venues in Harlem. This will also be a reunion of sorts with my good friends Quinn Blandford and Chris Conner, both of whom were on my first album, Symmetry. Be sure to save the date and join us uptown for some great music!

The quartet is comprised of:

Tom Wilson - keyboards
Chris Conner - vibraphone
Max Stehr - bass
Quinn Blandford - drums

Freddie Hubbard Tribute Concert

My group will be performing a tribute concert to the music of Freddie Hubbard on Jan. 2. For more information about the concert, see the recent write-up in the Knoxville Daily Sun, the Greeneville Sun and the Metro Pulse here.

The Kelly Powers Project

I was fortunate enough to be involved in a recording with the Kelly Powers Project. This group has been performing regularly at Cafe Cielo here in NYC and we are excited to finally record Kelly's fantastic compositions. To support this project, be sure to visit Kelly's Kickstarter page here.

The Reviews Are In!

Here are some reactions from writers so far:

"On (Live from Austin), trombonist Ron Westray and trumpeter Thomas Heflin lead their group (sextet for four selections, quintet for two) in an energetic set of jazz of a world class level from the Lone Star State."
-Don Lerman
 Cadence Magazine

"Westray and Heflin match perfectly, blending their styles in a balanced yet searching way over bebop foundations."
-Josep Pedro
 All About Jazz
(The review can be found here.)

"This performance is for anyone who enjoys original music 'done right.'"
-David Bohnert
 International Trumpet Guild Journal

"Live from Austin is that rare recording that captures live fire."
-Donn Schaefer
 International Trombone Association Journal

Last but not least, Jay Trachtenberg reviewed the album in the Austin Chronicle!

Live From Austin Hits The Airwaves!

Live From Austin was recently featured on Jazz After Hours, a nationally syndicated show on PRI, Public Radio International that airs on approximately 70 stations across the US. Live From Austin has also been played on some of the biggest jazz stations in the country from WBGO in New York to WRTI in Philadelphia to WCLV in Cleveland to WWOZ in New Orleans.
Here are some reactions from listeners so far:

"It's top-flight stuff"
-Greg Rickard
 KAZI Austin

"One of the best CD's I've heard this year"
-Mike "Mr. Jazz" Gourrier
 WWOZ New Orleans

"This is a must have CD!"
-Tom Kiebzak
 Beyond Bop Internet Jazz Radio

"The groove is solid with warm brass blends that sooth the soul."
-D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Magazine

Airplay for the album has also spanned the globe with plays on Radio Coteaux, in Mirande, Francem, Animajazz in Italy, and ukjazzradio in Britain. Click here, to listen to one the tracks featured on the 5/24/11 episode of Puro Jazz, a wonderful jazz podcast based in Italy.

New Recording By The Bill Mobley Big Band

In April, I was honored to sit in on a tune with the Bill Mobley Big Band. I regularly perform with this amazing band on Monday nights at Smoke Jazz Club on 106th St. and Broadway in Manhattan. Bill is my favorite big band arranger on the scene today, and this album will be chocked full of amazing writing. The album was recorded in front of a live audience and will be available soon on the French jazz label, Space Time Records, so keep an eye out for it!

Recent Concert Review

My recent performance with Ron Westray was featured in The Purple Cabbage, a great blog covering Jazz and Creative Music in Toronto, Canada.

The New Album Is Out!

My newest album with trombonist Ron Westray, "Live from Austin" was recently released by Blue Canoe Records and is available on iTunes, complete with a digital booklet of artwork and information. Click on the album cover to the right to buy a copy today!

The album will feature a cast of jazz all-stars including:

Thomas Heflin-trumpet
Ron Westray-trombone
Elias Haslanger-saxophone
Eric Revis-bass
Neal Caine-bass
Adonis Rose-drums
Peter Stoltzman-piano
David Sierra-drums