Richard Boulger
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Richard Boulger

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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"Richard Boulger Blues Twilight"

Richard Boulger’s trumpet burns brightly on this fine collection of soaring postbop tunes, commanding attention with a soulful, punchy sound that recalls the consciousness-raising jazz of the 1960s and ’70s. Boulger had an ideal complement in the late pianist John Hicks, whose joyously sweeping piano runs add depth and spirit to five tracks, while Anthony Wonsey’s more introspective piano gives a thoughtful spin to four others. But “Perceptions” finds Boulger getting down to basics, tearing things up with drummer Victor Jones in torrid improvisation.
- Jazz Times Forrest Dylan Bryant


"Richard Boulger: Blues Twilight (2007)"

Getting an endorsement from a living legend like Freddie Hubbard seems like a dream situation for every aspiring trumpeter and here it is, written out in bold types. Hubbard has written the liner notes for Richard Boulger's second recording as a leader, Blues Twilight, and he is more than thrilled about Boulger's playing, calling him “an impassioned improviser” with “great chops and facility on the horn.”
There's a sense and respect of tradition that goes both ways here. Hubbard is recognizing the voice of the new generation in words and Boulger is paying homage to the old generation in his playing, taking up the line from Louis Armstrong to Miles Davis with special emphasis on the modal compositions of the 1960s and 1970s. The ability to adapt into tradition is a virtue that is sometimes taken for granted in jazz. Nowadays, the typical young jazz musician has eclectic tastes that encompass both Radiohead and Coltrane. There's nothing wrong with that; jazz has never been a pure art form, but has taken cues from different styles and genres. That said, it is refreshing to hear a musician who works within a certain established paradigm without necessarily trying to push the boundaries of the music with all sorts of electronic devices.
Blues Twilight builds upon the foundation of the kind of music that is aptly described in its title. The deep sense of groove, the basic blues patterns and the challenging lines of the horn, all released in a howl of emotion. Music to be played in those dim lighted deserted diners that the painter Edward Hopper captured so evocatively.
Throughout the record there's a wide palette of tempi and feelings. The cry of “The Eternal One,”with its fury and passion, is a tribute to pianist John Hicks; Hicks graces all the numbers on the album except four, where the piano chair is taken over by Anthony Wonsey. “Tears” is a sad ballad dedicated to the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Asia. Boulger plays a deeply felt muted trumpet and there are no flashy ornamental lines, just pure emotion. The tune also sports a pretty introduction by Hicks.
Boulger strips down even more on “From the Night,” a short but tender soliloquy where it's almost possible to follow every breath the trumpeter takes. There's more to the album, though, than the introspective moments. On tunes like “The Other Side,” “Miss Sarah” and “Letting Go,” the band really stretches out. Saxophonist David Schnitter does some fine soprano work on “The Other Side,” while drummer Victor Jones punctuates the rhythm with a wildness reminiscent of another Jones: Elvin.
The album ends with the epic “Time Flies,” and one is tempted to say: indeed it does. Even though there is a generous seventy minutes of new music here, there is not an ounce of fat or a dull moment. That is an achievement in itself and speaks volumes about Boulger's talent. - All About Jazz JAKOB BAEKGAARD,


"The joy And despair of life"

Richard Boulger - Blues Twilight
(b-1 Music)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 14, 2008

Review by Brad Walseth
There are trumpet players in Jazz like Chris Botti and Chet Baker who will lull you into a dreamy haze with their lyrical sound, and there are others who will flat out hit you full in the face and knock you senseless: Richard Boulger is one of the latter. Not that he doesn't play with a beautiful tone or depth of feeling, because he certainly does, but Boulger is primarily a high-octane powerhouse on his horn, and I for one, wouldn't have it any other way. Blues Twilight is some "kick ass" Jazz, with a bit of a '60s/'70s sound, some intriguing compositional twists and excellent playing from an exceptional group of high energy players.
Studies with people like Jackie McLean, Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard have clearly influenced Boulger's writing skills and his tunes are both intelligent and tough, melodious, but contorted, joyous, yet sad. Even when writing love songs or tributes to his mother or father, Boulger avoids the simplistic or maudlin way out and instead fashions songs that are layered with nuances the listener will enjoy unraveling through repeated listenings.

Additionally, as they say, "timing is everything." Boulger's timing in recording this album not only captured the late bassist Dennis Irwin, who passed away last month, but also saved for posterity the wonderful playing of the late John Hicks, whose unique style and original phrasings were criminally underappreciated in his lifetime. This recording is a stellar tribute to both musicians.

These three are joined by drummer Victor Jones, underrated saxophonist David Schnitter, Kris Jensen on tenor and flute, and up and coming piano star Anthony Wonsey on four tracks. Boulger's horn wails and sings on numbers like the mysterious opener "The Eternal One," the Hubbard-ish title track and the stellar "The Other Side" (maybe my current favorite), while Hicks is the perfect foil with his startling harmonies and sometimes jarring rhythms. Schnitter and Jensen provide excellent front-line complement to their leader with sensitive and energetic playing, and the use of tenor, soprano and flute (as well as muted trumpet) paints a broad swathe of sound. Songs like "Letting Go," the ballads "A Flower for Mary" and "Tears" and the almost jaunty "Miss Sarah" and swinging "Have You Met Mr. Jones," impress with the clarity and maturity of composition. Through it all, Jones provides the dynamo, with Irwin's melodious woody bass locked in sync.

Between the full-fledged compositions, Boulger also adds two short meditative solo improvisation" and one incredible improvised horn and drum duet with Jones ("Perceptions"). These aren't there as filler, but serve to break things up and bridge sections, contributing to the overall aura, while showcasing Boulger's mastery of his horn. When Irwin leads off the final tune, the hard-charging, triumphant "Time Flies," it is a fitting resolve to an album, through which runs the feeling of the joy of life and the despair at its fleeting impermanence, hand in hand, in the blue twilight.

Check out great Chicago jazz happenings at JazzChicago.net
- JazzChicago.net Review by Brad Walseth


"Quotes from The Masters"

“I am very happy and honored to be a witness to a great trumpet player. Richard Boulger's Blues Twilight is truly inspirational.” FREDDIE HUBBARD
"I was truly elated when I heard Richard Boulger's latest recording."
Donald Byrd
“Richard Boulger is a trumpet player with a big fat sound, great chops, and most importantly lots of soul.” - Randy Brecker
“Boulger has all the elements. His sense of composition is adventurous and on the cutting edge of contemporary music.”- Eddie Henderson
“Richard is a wonderfully gifted musician with a trumpet sound that would put some of the so called masters to shame. Rhythm-Sound and Vibe. He’s got it” –
Victor Jones
Richard Boulger is the man!" Greg Allman - b-1 Music


Discography

AS A SIDEMAN:
The Allman Brothers Band- “Live at The Beacon Theatre”
2003-Peach records, Gold and Platinum
“Joe” “Signature” (2009-Sony Music)
Louie Vega " Elements of Life" (2004 Vega Records)
“Joe”“Make Sure You're Home Before Christmas
(2009- Def Jam Music)
“Joe”“Home is the essence of Christmas
(2010-Kedar Music)

Moon Knows Steve Davis & The Explorers  1996 Brownstone Records

AS A LEADER:
“The Calling” (1999- b-1 Music)
“Blues Twilight” (2008-b-1 Music)- GRAMMY AWARD ENTRY Nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album
"Lookin Up" (2011-b-1 Music)

For A More Complete Listing Go To:
http://66.7.211.164/~richardb/site/sample-page/discography/

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Bio

Trumpeter, composer and producer Richard Boulger was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. At the age of 6 he was first introduced to the trumpet by his father, who was also his first teacher and mentor and taught him the importance of expressing one’s “heart and spirit” through the horn.

“Richard Boulger is a trumpet player with a big fat sound, great chops, and most importantly lots of soul.” - Randy Brecker
 
At 18 he enrolled at the Hartt School of Music and studied with alto saxophonist and Jazz master Jackie McLean. Richard continued his formal education, earning a Masters degree in 1997 from Rutgers University, where he studied with trumpet “guru” Professor William Fielder. He has since continued his search for knowledge, studying extensively with jazz trumpet icons Freddie Hubbard and Donald Byrd, as well as pianists Jacki Byard, Walter Bishop Jr., and many other of the jazz world’s giants.

“Boulger has all the elements. His sense of composition is adventurous and on the cutting edge of contemporary music.”  -Eddie Henderson

In 1999, at the advice of Donald Byrd, Richard founded the b-1 Music label, on which he would release
"The Calling", his debut album as a leader. He received much praise from some of the jazz world’s most respected artists.

“I was truly elated when I heard Richard’s latest creative effort. He has exceeded my expectations” -Donald Byrd

In 2001, Richard joined Gregg Allman and Friends. After extensive touring with Allman, he recorded and was a featured soloist with The Allman Brothers Band “Live At The Beacon Theater 2003 (Peach records). He has also been a member of drummer extraordinaire Victor Jones and his band “Cultureversey,” appearing at several clubs, concerts, recordings and festivals including an extensive tour throughout South Korea (May 2004).

“Richard is a wonderfully gifted musician with a trumpet sound that would put some of the so-called masters to shame. Rhythm, Sound and Vibe. He’s got it!” -Victor Jones

In 2008, with the encouragement of Freddie Hubbard, Richard released "Blues Twilight". Featuring the late pianist John Hicks and bassist Dennis Irwin, along with an all-star line-up of some of today’s finest jazz musicians, the project received a first ballot selection for the 2009 Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Instrumental album.

Richard Boulger’s Blues Twilight is truly inspirational” -Freddie Hubbard

Richard has recorded with such diverse and Grammy award winning artists as: The Allman Brothers Band, Randy Brecker, Louie Vega, and R&B’s “Joe”, as well as top jazz artists such as John Hicks, Eddie Henderson, Victor Jones, Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, Steve Davis, Dennis Irwin, Nat Reeves, Anthony Wonsey, David Schnitter and many others.

Richard has also committed himself as an active clinician/educator and has been dedicated to working with New York’s inner city school music programs . Most recently, Richard and b-1 Music are pleased to announce the release of "Lookin Up"

"Lookin Up" is a collection of 10 original tracks that are based in the sounds of Jazz Electronica, Funk and World Musics. In addition to Richard on Trumpet and Flugelhorn, the project also features pianist and keyboardist Dario Boente along with some of New York's finest musicians including vocalists Francis Mbappe and Brent Carter, bassists Gene Perez and Gary Foote, Victor "YA-YAH" Jones and Luisito Quintero on drums and percussion and saxophonist Kris Jensen.