Extremely versatile and experienced multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger in Vancouver, Canada. Professional, personable, reliable, creative, and dedicated to helping your music sound fantastic. I make it easy, fun, and affordable to add exciting horn tracks to any project.
I play all low brass instruments (alto/tenor/bass trombone, tuba, euphonium, Swiss Alphorn), and can write/record music for a wide variety of ensembles/genres. I work with a wide network of top-notch session musicians on other instruments (trumpet, sax, woodwinds, strings, drums, etc.), which allows me to quickly assemble horn sections, string sections, and even full bands/orchestras for recording sessions.
I hold a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria, where I studied with legendary session trombonist Ian McDougall. Over the past 15 years as a professional musician, I have played thousands of live concerts with hundreds of ensembles (credits below). I've released two albums as a leader, and have played on dozens of releases by other artists. As the primary arranger for www.tensouljers.com, I have written over 500 Pop/Rock/R&B horn charts.
Classical: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Video Games Live, Plastic Acid Orchestra, Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra, Vancouver New Music
Pop: Coleman Hell, Hedley, Dan Mangan, The Whiskeydicks, 604 Records, www.tensouljers.com
Jazz: Chucho Valdés, Holly Cole, Nikki Yanofsky, Muhal Richard Abrams
World: Adonis Puentes, Vijay Brass Band, www.sbahnmusic.com, Mazacote, Rocky Mountain Alphorns
TV/Flim: My Little Pony, Daniel Ingram, Mackenzie Gray, Vancouver Film Orchestra, Hal Beckett
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12 Reviews - 1 Repeat ClientEndorse Jim Hopson
Working with Jim is a joy! His expertise and musical intuition makes for an incredibly smooth and efficient experience. High-quality recording and techniques. Will be back, thanks Jim!
great musician - great communication :)
Pleasure working with Jim...he has a great sound definitely recommend him for your track!
Jim did an incredible job of recording a 4-part brass arrangement for me (trumpet, euphonium, trombone and tuba - he arranged a separate trumpet player but did all the legwork getting it to me), the result was spot on. The tone and feel of the playing is just lovely, and added so much character to the track.
The recording quality and sound was lovely and clear, too (no room sound so nice to mix).
I wouldn't hesitate to ask Jim for any brass in future, and can highly recommend him!
Jim did such a fantastic job on this production. He's super knowledgeable and talented. He played some great horns. It's my first time producing an orchestral piece of music and Jim was able to give me some great advice and insight. Jim's a true pro. I highly recommend working with him on your next production. 5 stars!!!
This entire experience with Jim was great! A Total Pro. He was able to play the low brass parts the song needed and then. get the trumpets from another top notch player. Fantastic playing on all the parts. Excited. to do more with Jim. If you need great brass. He's your guy. 5 stars!
We had Jim's help in creating horn charts for several songs that I arranged for a popular animated series. I brought him the MIDI and he transcribed the parts beautifully, accurately, and made adjustments where necessary. I appreciated his attention to detail which came at no expense to a quick turnaround. We were also fortunate to have him session on trombone for those tunes along with some quality players from his network of friends. Will be looking forward to the next opportunity to work in tandem with Jim.
I've worked with Jim for the better part of a decade. A true pro, Jim always delivers with a fast turnaround time and a high standard of excellence. Also great communicator, Jim listens to the artists' vision and writes the right arrangement to serve the project.
Jim played on a track in my latest record, arguably the most fun track! The track, called "Feeling Blue" needed some masterful Trombone playing, including improvised solo parts, and Jim provided those perfectly. He was a pleasure to work with in the studio. I won't hesitate to hire Jim again. -Marc Alexandre
I have worked with Jim for the better part of 15 years. He is an extremely talented and versatile low brass instrumentalist. I have played with him in World Music, Pop, Jazz, and Symphony Orchestras to name a few places. He is equally versatile on Tenor Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium, Mellophone, Alphorn, and Bass Trumpet. In addition to these skills he is an extremely talented composer and arranger. He is organized, motivated, professional, and is able to put together great horn parts in record time. Jim would be a go to if I were looking for someone on my project.
I’ve worked with Jim Hopson in his capacity as trombone player, arranger, and composer. He’s consistently professional, friendly, prompt, and does great work. The compositions in particular he wrote for me or my colleagues have been a hit with the audience and are all well written and appropriate to the audience and musicians alike. The man does great work on all fronts!
Jim played on my upcoming jazz orchestra record. Jim is a fabulous musician putting the upmost care and attention to intonation, style and phrasing. I have worked with Jim in professional situations for over 10 years. He is consistently excellent.
Interview with Jim Hopson
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Here's an odd one... I wrote, arranged, recorded, and produced an album of original Swiss Alphorn music with my dad (who is also an Alphorn virtuoso). The Alphorn is a 12 foot-long wooden instrument with no valves or keys... it can only play about 20 notes over 4 octaves, but it sounds incredible and is very difficult to play well. That was a special project because it's now an important piece of our family's legacy. Check it out on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Bandcamp etc... Rocky Mountain Alphorns 'Generations'.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I studied mostly classical trombone in University. After finishing my degree, I moved to Vancouver and started working as a freelance trombonist. I’m a life-long learner, and over the years I branched out into other low brass instruments, became comfortable with playing lots of different styles, and added composition, arranging, and recording skills to my toolbox. I’ve been working as a professional musician since 2005.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I mostly record at my acoustically treated home studio, but sometimes I rent a local studio space for larger sessions. I write arrangements on Finale 26, record/edit/produce on Logic Pro X, and use a PreSonus Quantum 2626 interface with my maxed-out M1 Mac Mini computer. I have a small collection of high-quality ribbon, condenser, and dynamic mics, but my go-to unit for most work is a Townsend Labs L22 modelling mic. I also have a mobile recording rig for on-location sessions.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: In addition to working on projects for other artists, I'm working on an album of meditation/relaxation music with my wife who is a yoga teacher and violinist. I'm also in the middle of editing some of my brass music compositions/arrangements so I can send them to my publisher (Cherry Classics). My YouTube channel ‘Chops with Hops’ just launched as well!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: My man Matt Reid, session bassist. Best funky bass player I know, period.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. Analog is cool, and I love my vinyl collection, but I really appreciate the flexibility and user-friendly nature of digital audio.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to work with you to produce the highest possible quality musical product.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I like the challenge and variety of working with a wide range of unique and talented artists and producers.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: How will adding horns/strings to my song make it sound better? A: It depends on the song. Horns/strings can add an interesting counterpoint to vocal melodies, create warm background textures, fill in gaps in the groove, or straight up drive a tune. The possibilities are endless. Q: Will adding horns/strings make my song sound cluttered or messy? A: Not when you work with me. Some tunes just need simple and sparse horn/string parts, and other tunes could benefit from adding some hard-hitting and busy tracks. Q: My style of music doesn't often use/require horns/strings. Will you still work with me? A: Yes, enthusiastically!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's difficult and/or expensive to add real horn & string tracks to your song. If you find the right provider, it's easy, affordable, and sounds WAY better than midi/synth/fake horns/strings.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What is your vision/intent with this project? Do you have any specific musical ideas that I can help you realize? If not, do you have any guidelines or parameters that you would like me to work within?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: To begin, look for someone who provides a high end product which meet your needs. Just as important: look for someone who is professional, reliable, easy to work with.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A trombone, a tuba, an alphorn, a euphonium... and probably a working satellite phone ;)
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Lyrical, precise, and fluid.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Bruno Mars. I think he's kind of a modern-day James Brown... he makes hip, interesting, dance-friendly music with a high level of complexity and artistry. He's also a great performer, or course.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: There's nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper or an empty DAW project. The possibilities are infinite! Start by setting parameters for your work (genre, tempo, key, groove, instrumentation), and then work on narrowing everything down. When I write this way, it almost feels like 'finding' a tune instead of 'writing' one.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Good music ;) ... jokes aside, I have 15 years of experience playing, recording, composing, and arranging in the following styles: pop, rock, EDM, jazz, world, funk, Latin, folk, bhangra, polka... name a genre and I've probably played it.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: What do you bring to a song?
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Most clients approach me with musical projects that could benefit from adding additional horn or string tracks. I listen to the project, talk with the client about their intent, write arrangements if necessary, record the tracks, and send them back to the client for approval/revisions. Sometimes clients ask me to provide multiple musical options or additional material for later editing, and I'm happy to do that as well.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Some of my varied influences include: Freddie Hubbard, Rush, Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Chicago, Urbie Green, Duke Ellington, Fred Wesley, Jimmy Bosch, and Tommy Dorsey.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Most clients send me bed tracks for their songs and ask me to add horn or string tracks to them. Some clients have very specific ideas of what they want me to add, and some clients want me to create new musical ideas from scratch. I'm very flexible!