WFIU’s Artist of the Month for April is Brent Wallarab.
A trombonist, arranger, and jazz educator, Wallarab received his Master of Music from Indiana University in 1991 and began to work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where he transcribed and restored hundreds of scores by bandleaders such as Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, and Count Basie. He also performed as lead trombonist in the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, with a special emphasis on recreating early jazz improvisational styles.
As a trombonist and arranger he has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Carter, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Jack Sheldon, the Manhattan Transfer, Charlie Haden, Randy Brecker, and many other notable figures of modern jazz and American popular song.
In 1994 Wallarab and trumpeter/jazz educator Mark Buselli founded the Buselli-Wallarab Orchestra, a 17-piece ensemble that presents fresh interpretations of America’s jazz heritage, creates new works for jazz orchestra, and promotes jazz education.
The orchestra has released six CDs and performs regularly at schools and other venues around the state of Indiana. Their 2007 CD Basically Baker, featuring the compositions of Indiana University Chair of Jazz Studies David Baker, was recently named by Downbeat magazine as one of the top 100 jazz CDs of the past decade. A new CD featuring original works by Wallarab will be released this summer.
In 2005 Wallarab joined the IU Jacobs School of Music faculty, teaching jazz arranging and composition, jazz history courses, and jazz ensemble. He has also presented workshops in Egypt, Italy, and South Africa. On April 24 he will share the stage with David Baker at IU’s annual Big Bands Extravaganza.
WFIU’s Joe Bourne will feature music by Brent Wallarab throughout the month of April on his weekday afternoon program Just You and Me.