Summer Music Shenanigans

Greetings everyone!

It has been a wonderfully busy summer so far between gigs, teaching, writing, and recording. We finished up another fun session with the Lesser Lakes Trio at Burst HQ in Wauwatosa, and hope to have an album together sometime this coming Fall/Winter. This band continues to push me in new directions in both my playing and writing. Stay tuned for some performances in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago with the LL Trio. Stream/download some live bootlegs and studio outtakes ======> HERE!



August 1st I will be performing at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts “Starry Nights” Series, with the Wilson Center Big Band. This is a fantastic free music series on the beautiful campus of the Wilson Center in Brookfield, WI. This is always a great band! The show starts at 6:30pm and is free!

On Saturday, August 9th I will be joining my old friend and phenomenal Washington DC-based pianist Tim Whalen and his Quartet at the Jazz Estate. It will certainly be an adventurous night of music featuring myself with Tim, John Christensen on bass and Devin Drobka on drums.

Wednesday, August 20th I will be performing in Madison, WI for Jazz at 5 with Johannes Wallmann’s Sweet Minute Big Band. We will be recording an album that week as well, featuring all Johannes’ original writing and an A-list band! This will surely be an outstanding event, as we play right before the world-reknown Arturo O’ Farrill Trio! Check out Johannes Wallmann’s big band at 5:00pm, and stick around to hear O’ Farrill at 6:30!

August 29th I will be joining the Josh Sherman Quartet at the World of Beer on Brady Street. We play from 9-midnight.

Ongoing Performances:
As always, join Mark Davis and myself every Tuesday and Wednesday at Mason Street Grill in the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, from 5:30-9pm. You will find us exploring the Great American Songbook, Thelonious Monk, Barry Harris, Fats Waller, and much much more.

Spring 2014 News

Well with some warmer weather finally arriving, I thought I would send out a quick blast of some upcoming performances and activities of note.

You will be able to hear the Lesser Lakes Trio twice this weekend if you are in the Madison/Milwaukee area. We will be performing as a part of the first ever “Strollin Schenk’s Corners” Jazz Crawl Series in Madison on Friday, May 23rd. We will be performing at Thorp’s Salon from 7:30-8:30pm. We will also be performing at Blu Milwaukee the following night Saturday, May 24th from 8-midnight. Both events are free of charge.


Please feel free to stream/download a composition of mine “You Never Told Me Your Dream”, which is an outtake from a studio recording session for the Lesser Lakes Trio’s upcoming record. This take will not be on the album, but thought you might like to get a sneak peek into what we have been up to! We will be going back in the studio (the incredible Burst HQ in Wauwatosa, WI) with engineer/producer Kyle White to complete the record within the next month or so.

Ongoing Performances:
As always, join Mark Davis and myself every Tuesday and Wednesday at Mason Street Grill in the historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, from 5:30-9pm. You will find us exploring the Great American Songbook, Thelonious Monk, Barry Harris, Fats Waller, and much much more.


Spirits – Live at The Jazz Estate

“If you wonder if Milwaukee can sound like New York, give the latest by this trumpeter a spin and wonder no more.” - Midwest Record

Jamie Breiwick | Spirits (BluJazz 2013)

Open the door on the album cover and you enter the Jazz Estate, a Milwaukee club that exemplifies a venue that nurtures modern straight-ahead jazz and makes money at it. This recording was made there one night, even if the program has the well-considered sense of purpose of a studio recording.

The melody of the opening “Gig Shirt” has a slightly skewed trumpet-saxophone harmony, recalling Ornette Coleman’s classic/radical quartet, which certainly influenced the album’s piano-less instrumentation. The theme bodes well for a musical departure, especially in its expansive rising last notes.

This journey’s departure mean’s arrival at many musical ports, including some adapted pop-rock. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard, is a mournful yet oddly resolute melody. Breiwick’s muted trumpet sounds playful, as if he’s wooing a young woman with a joke. The rhythm players burble along in the same coy spirit, lifting the interpretation’s insouciance and the band ends with an exquisite exhalation.

“Safe and Sound,” by country-pop artist Taylor Swift, is another strong and pliable melody that tenor saxophonist Tony Barba builds from close, pinprick-sharp variations until he unfurls some Joe Henderson-like flag-waving. Breiwick’s own “Little Bill” is a funky, amiable tune that honors the memory of his Grandfather Bill and also refers to Bill Cosby produced cartoon of the same name, which Breiwick’s children love to watch. “Dad” adopts a slightly gruff tone and Barba is almost flippantly offhanded, befitting the sit-com mood.

This band has a svelte-but-sure grip on the harmonic and rhythmic tension of “Capricorn,” a Wayne Shorter theme that seems to move in two directions at once while flowing as a seamless melody — characteristic of Shorter’s ineffable compositional genius. If that sounds like a chops-busting practice-room etude, “Capricorn” rises like an indelibly hummable melody. The band swings hard out of the gate, as Barba plunges in with pithy Shorterisms — slanting shards, open-throated exhortations and quotes of the sorcerer-like theme. Breiwick shifts gears, then creeps into a softly growling, splattered tone that recalls Don Cherry. He’s clearly finding his own forward-pushing place in the trumpet tradition. Bassist Tim Ipsen steps in like a heady middleweight contender, with a sly combination of punchy harmonic intervals.

The aphoristically titled “Walk through Daydreams, Sleep through Nightmares” reflects Breiwick’s magnanimous depth as a member of the jazz community. He leads two jazz bands, including a more pop rock-oriented one called Choir Fight. He’s also an educator, organizer and all-around go-getter, having co-founded Milwaukee Jazz Vision, a musician-run organization that promotes the local jazz scene, especially with an excellent website: This tune is by one of Breiwick’s own former students, Philip Dizack, a fast-rising young trumpeter of uncommon lyrical strength and compositional maturity. Breiwick acknowledges that crafting a songfully expressive melodic line is a primary concern of his. “I believe the album’s aesthetic intent points to a depth of feeling in the music,” he says. “Beyond technique, which is obviously hugely important, emotional communication is a priority.”

“Walk” opens with swelling mallet rolls and cymbals. The two horns resound like one voice, or mind, experiencing a revelation. Then everyone pulls back, as if in a slight state of awe, to contemplate the implications of the eureka moment. One imagines a lightning bolt having struck the narrative consciousness right at its precipitous leap from daydream to nightmare. It recalls John Coltrane’s more pensive lyrical moments in his late years, when he pushed the spiritual-empowerment envelope like the shaman Dr. King might have met on that windswept mountaintop.

The program follows appropriately with Barba’s title tune “Spirits.” A simple rising interval, extrapolated and harmonized, seems like a wisp of a theme, yet these men plumb its modality as if climbing the branches of a majestic tree. It stands like a spirit, inviting as it is inherently challenging for the earthbound.

Consequently the closing tune, “Sunset and the Mockingbird,” is also apt, from the pen of Duke Ellington, a timeless jazz presence. This is Duke’s indigo mood, and Barba proves he can fabricate a short story whole cloth from textured whole notes, while Breiwick is a mockingbird with genuine feelings. He evokes Ellington trumpeter Cootie Williams’ muted sorrow, as an elegy to whatever the sunset bade farewell, something to cherish, and live up to.

Spirits demonstrates extraordinary range and vision from this new jazz generation, and delivers on promise as if tapped into a musical wellspring flowing through their veins. — Kevin Lynch

Lynch has written for Down Beat, The Village Voice, CODA, American Record Guide, The Chicago Tribune, The Milwaukee Journal and other publications, and blogs at Culture Currents (Vernaculars Speak).
released 04 May 2013
Recorded live at The Jazz Estate
Milwaukee, WI — Nov 30th, 2012

Jamie Breiwick (trumpet)
Tony Barba (tenor saxophone)
Tim Ipsen (bass)
Andrew Green (drums)

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jeremy Kuzniar
Art design by Jamie Breiwick
Photography by Bryan Mir and Amanda Katz

January 2014 News

I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable Holiday season! I am looking forward to 2014 with much anticipation, having many “irons in the fire” as always. I am very excited about my most recent project, The Lesser Lakes Trio (with bassist John Christensen and drummer Devin Drobka). We have had some really fun gigs recently and will be recording sometime this winter at Burst HQ in Wauwatosa, WI. I would like to invite you to listen to some recent bootleg recordings made Live at The Highbury Pub in Bayview, WI.

The great quote (attributed to Socrates?), “The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know…” certainly applies to studying music. I have tried to keep this quote in the back of my mind as a constant reminder to myself to continue to learn and grow. One way I have made this quote tangible in my own life is by posting on the things I have been studying to include: solo transcriptions, lead sheet transcriptions, interesting articles and interviews, & an on going “diary” of what I am listening to. I’ve been working my way backwards, finally checking out earlier players such as Charlie Shavers and “Sweets” Edison, as well as Louis Armstrong and long time Milwaukeean!) Jabbo Smith. I am finding so much inspiration in listening to and studying the rhythmic integrity, melodic mastery, and individuality in these important players.

Please visit my “transcription” page:

 Upcoming Performances:
as always, join Mark Davis and myself every Tuesday and Wednesday at Mason Street Grill, from 5:30-9pm exploring the Great American Songbook, Thelonious Monk, and much much more.