Hit me up for clean sounding trumpet/horns or steelpan (steel drum). My niche has hovered somewhere in between latin jazz and jazz funk for years, but I have recordedliots of jazz, RnB, reggae, and rock horns. For section work, I work closely with Philly horn players from the Roots Crew and John Legend's horn section.
Originally hailing from the Baltimore area, Chris segued to Philadelphia to study jazz trumpet at the University Of the Arts with bebop jedi/trumpeter John Swana in 2004. Since this time, he has performed with the likes of Paquito D'Rivera, Stanley Clarke, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Bakithi Kumalo, Chaka Khan, Kool and the Gang, Andy Narell, Guster, Father John Misty, The O'Jays, G Love and Special Sauce, Lotus, Dopapod, Phil Roy, and a host of incredible local musicians. He has appeared at venues ranging from the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall, The National Cathedral in Washington DC, the Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain Trinidad, the Iridium (NYC), Joe's Pub (NYC), The Jazz Standard (NYC), and countless others. Chris continues to span his reach with upcoming tours and musical pilgrimages and is excited for the post-pandemic musical climate.
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Interview with Chris Aschman
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I helped another Philadelphia horn player re-create the horn parts to "Love Rollercoaster," remotely from a hotel room, before Covid. The O'Jays needed a new version of their song due to copyright/label complications, and so I was proud to play trumpet on this iconic song. I have performed with the O'Jays live before, but to record for them was super cool.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently recording a remote mini-steelband project for my group Trinidelphia, that will feature Calypsonian/Steelband arranger Ray Holman singing his tune "Pan Woman." It is a painstaking one but I have learned a lot about mic/pickup choices for the pan, as well as deepened my understanding of voicings and rote memorization.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I think like a producer, and because I listen to so many different kinds of latin/world music I would say I bring arranging that is uniquely rhythmic. I do my best to not fall victim to perfectionism so that something truly excellent can come through the music.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I always listen to the track a few times all the way through at first, without even imagining a horn or pan part. Then, I'll begin recording at whatever part of the song calls to me most. I have found that my first instinct is usually something that will "keep," and then I usually work around that musical motif. I believe it's important that one let's go of any preconceptions of what the song should be so that it can become its own.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I use a combination of Sm57/58 mics with a Royer 121 ribbon mic through an Apollo Twin interface into Logic X 10.4. I find that each session requires a different setup with sound baffles/mic placement/mic choices... some projects call for multiple mics at once or stacked sounds while others do not.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Quincy Jones, Phil Lassiter, and Roy Hargrove's horn arranging styles really inform my style. When I record steelpan, the recorded sounds of Andy Narell, Tracy Thornton, and Victor Provost come to mind.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most commonly, I arrange and record trumpet/flugelhorn parts for clients, but I also record steelpan sounds for tracks with an latin/island vibe. I usually do about one remote recording project per week.