Songs of My City: Trumpeter Brandon Woody on the Love and Tradition that Shaped Him


The band’s tracks mix jazz improvisation with hip-hop beats and melodies drawn from gospel and soul tunes, and Woody resists slotting it into a person precise style. “All of this is Black new music. The stuff with rapping has just as substantially inspiration from people like Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and the things with just trumpet from issues that aren’t always regarded as to be what individuals phone jazz,” Woody states. “I can not place these genres on matters since which is how persons institutionalize them.”

For Woody, Black music will come from communities fairly than institutions. “You just can’t study it from a laptop or computer or a book—that’s just not how it performs. You study it from jam classes and being all over elder musicians who move it on to you. Which is how it is and how it usually will be. And finding out from men and women like Craig Alston has taught me that I need to give it to the upcoming era and to my friends.”

Together with Extensive, Woody has introduced his songs earlier the stage. In 2019, Calvin Klein arrived across songs they experienced recorded and asked to use it for an advertisement marketing campaign. That commenced an ongoing sequence of movie scoring tasks. “I appreciate looking at some thing on the screen, currently being influenced by it, and figuring out how I can portray it musically,” states Woody. He and Very long scored tunes for Unwavering: The Energy of Black Innovation, a documentary made by the nonprofit Echoing Inexperienced about recipients of their Black Male Achievement Fellowship.

Correct to their mother nature, many of the duo’s scores have been collaborations with the Baltimore artwork scene, these as with carrying out artist Nia June and cinematographer Kirby Griffin. Woody and Lengthy composed tunes for a movie by June and Griffin known as The Unveiling of God (2021), a visual tribute to the filmmakers’ forefathers and the Black guys of Baltimore. The scoring function reflects Woody’s commitment to new music that not only comes from a neighborhood but can also be applied to provide it.

Woody has numerous new jobs in advance of him. He and Lengthy plan to proceed movie scoring collectively. He and one more musician pal, Brandon “Buz” Donald, have a instructing and doing residency at the College of Maryland. UPENDO performs weekly at the Town Winery in DC and performs weekly at other venues all around Baltimore. The massive event this calendar year, on the other hand, will be the release of UPENDO’s initial album, as still untitled. The project is years in the producing, issue to the trumpeter’s ever-high standards. He options to release it in August, all-around the time of his (and Alston’s) birthday. 

Regardless of his quite a few achievements, Woody locates his milestones at a additional personal level. He cites assembly Long, forming UPENDO, and just staying in a position to preserve taking part in songs. “I don’t want to chat about accolades much too a lot since that’s not truly what it’s all about,” Woody claims. “My audio is about celebrating everyday living and enjoy. Appreciate frequently receives viewed as one thing one particular-dimensional, but there are so numerous various varieties of love and so numerous different ways to like. Which is what my new music is about.” Woody is strongly aware of the distinctive types of adore that have nurtured his music—the love of a mother, of a trainer, of a pal, of the past keepers of a tradition—and as a result of his audio, he channels that really like back into the community that initial delivered it.



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