Session Trumpet Player
Manchester-based Freelance Trumpet Player - Live/Studio/Remote Sessions
As a freelance trumpet player, Nick is at home playing any style of music. Be it Classical or Hip-hop, he can provide the trumpet sound you are looking for – whether it’s phat riffs or soaring solos.
Learning his trade playing in bands such as the Lancashire Youth Brass Band and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (whose former members include Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse); he started playing professionally after leaving university.
As a session musician he has recorded for bands on both sides of the Atlantic, Europe, New Zealand and China - some from the comfort of his own studio - including Wolverhampton-based band ‘The Lines’ (Nick’s custom Eclipse can be heard on the single ‘No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks’ which was Kerrang Radio’s Single of the Week in April 2012). Nick has also appeared live with artists including Rick Guard, Brenda Edwards (The X-factor, We Will Rock You), Jordon Lee Davies (The Voice) and bands including Redwood. He has toured with British breakthrough rap artist E.N.V. (Let Me Go Tour, 2012), worked on board the cruise liner Saga Sapphire and played in the band for Imperial Show’s Cirque du Noël in France.
His theatre credits include Jesus Christ Superstar, The Producers, Annie, Hairspray and The Sound of Music to name a few.
Nick proudly endorses Solomute Mutes and GR Mouthpieces.
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Interview with Nick Jolly
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Apart from the usual deadline and budget questions my main question is: What do you want the horn line(s) to add to the track? Are they subtle and just there to add colour or are they an 'in your face', stand out feature?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: If you have an idea of what you would like, if possible, have some examples of songs which demonstrate it - it helps us to get a feel for what you want. Also, have a look at instrument ranges and characteristics before sending a guide track - session players are great at what they do but some things just aren't possible.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing professionally after I left university. My first professional gig was with Rick Guard at the 235 Casino in Manchester, UK. I have worked on around 15 different musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar, The Producers. Annie and the London Premiere of Frankenstein - A New Musical. In between shows I spent a lot of time playing with big bands in and arond London and worked on a short contract with a circus in France. I played on my first recording session early in 2012 (No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks - The Lines) which was Kerrang Radio's Single of the Week in April that year. Shortly afterwards, I completed a contract as Lead Trumpet on the Saga Sapphire. After I returned from working on cruise ships I resumed playing with big bands and starting spending more time recording. Since then I have recorded on over 20 tracks for artists as far away as New Zealand, China and the USA and performed live with various other upcoming artists including single/album launches and tours.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: In 2012 I recorded the trumpet parts for 'No Illusions, No Cheap Tricks' by The Lines. It was my first major recording session and the song became Kerrang Radio's Single of the Week in April that year.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I don't really think I have a style. I'm classically trained with a big band/pit orchestra background so I'm very flexible with my style - I can fit into any style or genre.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: There's no one particular artist I'd like to work with as I think I would learn loads from whoever I worked with. If I really had to choose though it would be Mark Ronson - I'm really feeling Uptown Funk at the moment.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If you can afford that extra dollar, pound or euro then do. It's better to pay a bit extra upfront than having to spend more in the long run getting work redone or buying new equipment.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I mostly work on rock and pop music in the studio but I have been known to do folk and indy as well. On stage, it tends to be big band/swing music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Composing and arranging brass and string parts. Although my degree is in Performance, I actually majored in composition which has helped me develop an understanding of how instruments work together.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I start by discussing what is needed with the artist/producer. If they already have a trumpet guide track I will transcribe it and record it straight away. If the artist/producer needs me to write the trumpet lines I will listen to the track a few times and jot some ideas down. When I am happy that I have what I think the artist/producer is looking for I will create a MIDI trumpet track for them to listen to. If they are happy with what I have written I then record the real thing and send it over.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I like to keep it simple: Behringer C-1 mic, Behringer Mini-Mic MIC800 Preamp, Sennheiser HD201 Headphones, Studio One Pro
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Noel Langley, Andy Greenwood, Mike Lovatt, Derek Watkins, Wayne Bergeron are all trumpet heroes of mine.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Being a trumpet player, I am regularly called on to record riffs for pop or rock songs - often with my horn section (Funktastic Horns). I do a large amount of live perfomance - again, with FH - but I also spend a lot of time playing in Big Bands and Pit Orchestras.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm not currently employed on any projects but I am working on my second book of technical exercises for brass instruments.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: As an online session musician I prefer to use digital as it easier to send files around the world but I do like the sound of an analog recording.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: It's cliche but I promise guaranteed satisfaction whether that means a few revisions or your money back.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the variety of different genres I get to work in and the people I get to work with. I have been able to work for bands and artists all over the world without leaving my own house - there's not many jobs which allow you to do that!
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: The biggest misconception about online session musicians held by people who want to be online session musicians is that you need a lot of gear and you need to spend lots of money on it! You can get excellent results with one condenser mic, a pre-amp, a pair of headphones and a DAW, as long as you choose wisely - don't pick the cheapest but it doesn't have to break the bank.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Style... Colour... That little added something!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My trumpet and mouthpiece (Eclipse Enigma Bb & GR 66S Fatboy), my laptop (with some means of connecting to the internet), a decent mic and my headphones.