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Wednesday, January 11

Interesting interview with Natalie Cressman about New Music, Trombone, her Famous Dad, and the General State of her Career

Writer Chris Snyder sat down with trombone phenom Natalie Cressman for a short interview for Grateful Music. This amazing talent opens up about her roots, stepping out on her own and memorable gigs. She tells us about her favorite new bands and most exciting musical experiences, so far. After seeing her play with TAB, the sky is the limit for this up-and-coming talent. After stepping out from under her famous dad, let's listen to her thoughts on music. 

Chris Snyder:
Growing up, both of your parents were professional musicians. You guys performed music from Brazilian to Jazz and everything in between. Did you feel that there was a special bond between you and your parents through music? 
Natalie Cressman:
Both of my parents were very influential  in my musical career. My Mom (Sandy) was involved in Brazilian music and my Dad (Jeff) is a recording engineer and trombone player. I’m actually heading to Brazil in February to learn more about the culture and music. Both were always very encouraging in all my music endeavors.
You have had the opportunity to share the stage with your Dad, a fellow trombone player, on a number of occasions. Are there any special moments you guys have shared together during the years that have stood out? 
Natalie Cressman:
Playing at The Peach Music Festival with my dad in Trey Anastasio's band was definitely a highlight. I had always dreamed that one day my dad and I would get to share the stage on a big show together. Trey (Anastasio) really made this a reality for me at The Peach Festival. I remember years ago at New Orleans Jazz Fest, I was standing side stage during Santana’s set, and Santana called me up to solo with my dad. When we soloed back and forth, I felt the magic in the air. To learn music from my Dad and then get to play with him, there are no words to really express it.
You studied at the Manhattan School Of Music. Why did you relocate from San Francisco to Manhattan?
Natalie Cressman: 
My parents are well known in the Bay Area music scene so I thought that moving to New York would be a chance to start a career without their connections.  A bit of nepotism would have come into play if I stayed in the San Francisco area so I wanted to prove to myself that I could make it on my own. It helped to challenge myself not only as a musician but as a person.
You released an album, “Etchings In Amber”, with Mike Bono in October and have had the opportunity to go on the road together. How did Mike and you originally link up? What was it like to work on the album?
Natalie Cressman: 
Mike and I met in New York City, and working on this album was awesome. Each song tells a story, and his songwriting along with the emotional aspect he puts into his music is outstanding. He kept me on my toes all the time with his unpredictable melodies, his pinpoint accuracy, and attention to detail. It was great be able to work closely with him on the project.
Matt Butler has invited you to play with The Everyone Orchestra and play with some stellar musicians. This music is 100% improvised. How does this differ from the other projects you are a part of? Are there any musicians that you loved playing with?Natalie Cressman:
Playing with Matt Butler and The Everyone Orchestra is always a fantastic experience. The caliber of musicians he brings together is great. All the music is improvised so it's always enjoyable to see the result of what everyone musically brings to the table in the moment.
One of the musicians that I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with is Jans Ingber from The Motet. His ability to write amazing hooks on the spot takes the music to the next level. He is such a incredible talent to work with and just a masterful musician all around.
Are there any groups out there right now on the touring circuit right now that you have enjoyed watching perform?
Natalie Cressman:
Snarky Puppy! The way they approach music has always brought a smile to my face. They are all virtuosos and their passion for the music resonates in their live shows. Hiatus Kaiyote, from Australia, is a group that I finally got to catch live. I’ve been listening to their studio albums for a while now and have absolutely loved them. Seeing them in a live setting was definitely a highlight for me this summer.
What festivals are you excited to return to or experience for the first time this year?
Natalie Cressman
I’m really excited to play the main stage at High Sierra Music Festival. A few years back I performed with Peter Apfelbaum’s Sparkler on a side stage and it was a blast!
Are there words of wisdom you have for beginner trombone players/vocalists?
Natalie Cressman:
Practice is an important part of learning and development as a musician, but the other distinguishing factors that become supremely important as you go on in music are how easy you are to work with. Whether you come prepared, and what kind of attitude you bring to the table. It's important to work hard on the musical front, but being a person with a positive attitude who is fun to be around, easy to travel with, and shows up on time, can really set you apart from people who are just as talented but lack those other qualities. 

Interview by: Chris Snyder
Photo by: Shervin Lainez Photo
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