Trumpeter-composer-bandleader-educator-designer Jamie Breiwick dwells in that nether region of America called the heartland. His native Racine is a Warm Valley nestled among several urban musical scenes, which makes him valuable to each of them – Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Minneapolis. At times he’ll think of that nether region as Dreamland, the imaginative name of the Thelonious Monk repertory band that he founded and leads. It’s named for an obscure Monk tune which, like so much of the legacy of that great and eccentric musician, needs dusting off and raising to the light of day. Breiwick is just beginning to reach his prime and, as a man gifted in enterprise as well as artistry, you can find him performing at any one of those cities in a myriad of musical groups and collaborations.
He’s also a vivid and potent presence online, as the primary creator and contributor to Milwaukee Jazz Vision, a website dedicated to promoting that city’s jazz scene with articles, art, press releases and, most recently, an impressively billowing archive of Milwaukee jazz history, researched and generated primarily by Breiwick.
He also runs a digital graphic arts business and regularly creates stylish posters, album and book covers, often reflecting the sleek and bold manner of classic Blue Note label album covers. Breiwick is also a dedicated and Grammy-nominated educator who teaches at both high school and university levels. He’s among the few musicians in the Midwest one might aptly apply the sometimes-abused title of Renaissance Man.
Breiwick has performed with numerous notable jazz artists, including Arturo O’ Farrill, Adonis Rose, Ralph Bowen, Matt Wilson, Dan Nimmer, Joe Sanders, Matt Ulery, François Moutin, Pete Zimmer, Adam Larson, Rick Germanson, David Hazeltine, and David Bixler. Jamie has performed with Grammy-nominated R&B artist Eric Benet, and was featured live in his recent music videos, “The Hunger” and “You’re the Only One”. He has also performed with the Barcelona-based band Brazzaville led by David Brown (Beck), and comedian Bob Newhart. In 2005, Jamie was the featured artist on the nationally syndicated NPR show “Says You!”. Jamie’s current band projects include Dreamland (The music of Thelonious Monk), KASE, and the Lesser Lakes Trio (with John Christensen and Devin Drobka). Among his notable past band projects were leading the eclectic fusion group Choirfight, the legendary Milwaukee band Clamnation, and performing with We Six, the faculty jazz sextet of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music from 2005-2011.
In 2003, Jamie recorded his first album as a leader Song to a Rose, featuring then 19-year-old bass phenom Joe Sanders. The recording featured several original compositions, as well as Freddie Hubbard’s classic “Gittin’ Down”, Sam Rivers’ “Beatrice, and the beautiful Jules Styne ballad, “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” Finally released in 2006, the recording was chosen by jazzreview.com’s Paul J. Youngman as a top-ten release of 2007.
In late 2011, Jamie recorded and released his second studio recording, Serenity, a duo with the Boston-based pianist Barry Velleman. The 13-track “standards” release was recorded in one three-hour session. Serenity was released on January 1st, 2012 as a digital-download- only.
2013 found Jamie recording and releasing a new project, Spirits on Chicago’s Blujazz Record Label. Spirits features the talents of Tony Barba on tenor saxophone, Tim Ipsen on bass, and Andrew Green on drums. The album was recorded live at The Jazz Estate, Milwaukee’s epicenter of jazz and creative music. Since its release in early May of 2013, Spirits has been receiving airplay nationwide. By contrast to that album’s improv-heavy focus, his newest recording, The Good Land (Shifting Paradigm Records, 2017) with the Lesser Lakes Trio, reveals a stunning command of concise, wordless songcraft and an overarching thematic attunement to the environment.
As an educator, Jamie formerly directed bands at Maple Dale School in Fox Point, WI from 2002 until 2015, when he took a position as Instrumental Music Instructor at The Prairie School in Racine, WI. In 2013, he was nominated for the first-ever Grammy Music Educator Award, being selected as one of 200 semi-finalists from over 30,000 nominees. Besides his full-time band director duties, he has served on the music faculties of Cardinal Stritch University, Alverno College, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and served as adjunct instructor of Jazz Trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2010-2015. In 2010 he co-founded Milwaukee Jazz Vision, an organization guided by the purpose of advancing jazz and creative music in the greater Milwaukee area. In 2013 Jamie became an endorsing artist for Ravel Paris trumpets.
– Kevin Lynch
“If you wonder if Milwaukee can sound like New York, give the latest by this trumpeter a spin and wonder no more.”
“This may be a “local” combo, but its artistry is world-class.”
“Trumpet with a mellow tone, bluesy lines, sounding somewhat gritty and phrasing that keeps you listening intently.”
“Burst Sessions drew me from the very first notes, which isn’t something I often experience from straight-ahead recordings these days.”
Dave Sumner, birdistheworm.com
“…Breiwick, one of the Milwaukee area’s most intelligent, gifted and resourceful musicians.”
Kevin Lynch, nodepression.com
“Trumpeter Jamie Breiwick continues to pursue his Miles Davis-cum-Don Cherry influences, often pushing plummy accents into a slippery swing and, like a master baker, he consistently kneads the thematic material into whole, rounded melodic ideas. As the bandleader, he’s also imaginative and intrepid in delving into the mysterioso depths of the Monk book. Breiwick has an assurance and dedication to the material that I think would’ve made Monk proud, even though he was known as an often-exacting bandleader.”
Kevin Lynch, nodepression.com
“The ever-occupied, constantly creating Breiwick is a musical force of nature.”
Bobby Tanzilo, onmilwaukee.com