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Worcester’s Jeff Galindo Makes it Big Worldwide

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Galindo is touring the world with Esperanza Spalding and in the past has appeared on a few of the country's favorite late night shows. Image courtesy of Bruce Fararra

Local jazz artist Jeff Galindo is a highly sought after musician, and not just in his current hometown of Worcester, but all over the word. He began playing the trombone at the age of 7 with the Salvation Army Band, and from there his career as rocketed to heights he could never have anticipated at such a young age.

He was introduced to jazz at 15.

"It completely knocked me out," remarks the musician.

"Before that I played but, as a kid, had many interests. But when I heard jazz and especially jazz improvisation, I knew immediately that this is what I wanted to do. I went to my junior high school band director and told him this. He gave me some jazz albums and some jazz improv materials and I started working very hard by myself with this lifelong endeavor."

Born in San Francisco, he initially moved to New England to attend the Berklee College of Music. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Who Galindo Performs With

Galindo is currently the Musical Director and lead trombonist with Esperanza Spalding, the 3 time Grammy award-winning singer and bassist, and touring the world with her Radio Music Society.

A little closer to home, he can be seen playing in the Boston area with musicians John Lockwood, Bob Gullotti, and George Garzone (the long-time acclaimed trio known as The Fringe). He also plays with Charlie Kohlhase's Explorers Club, the Greg Hopkins Big Band and Nonet. In Worcester itself, where he has lived for two years now, he backs up acts at the Hanover Theatre and can be commonly seen with local musicians Dick Ogdren, Bob Simonelli, Duncan Arsenault and Pete LeVesque, among others.

Last but not least, Jeff has appeared on some of the country's most popular late night talk shows including The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

For all his efforts, he was recently awarded a Worcester Arts Council Fellowship for 2013.

Music as Communication

But the promise of fame and monetary success is not what ultimately drove Jeff Galindo to transfer his innate musical desires into something tangible. His love for the craft is far more profound. Music allows one to express emotions and feelings that nothing else really can.

"I get to tell my story and bring out things musically. Share who I am. Music doesn't lie. We can speak lies, but a musician plays who he is," says Jeff.

And the ability to improvise, which Jeff is able to do so effortlessly, takes this unique aspect of music to a whole new level.

"Music is a language and jazz music, in particular, is a very communicative form. At a high level, the musicians are communicating to each other and to the audience... it's not a specific communication, its more emotions and feelings...I try to share my emotions and feelings with the audience as well as communicate with the band. When one improvises, they are not just trying to bring out what a composer might want, like in classical music (much like a storyteller reading a book to an audience), the improviser gets to tell their own story," he states of the mission of his music.

In fact, the title of his most recent CD, Talkin' Horns, which he made with his good friend Marc Phaneuf and others, speaks to this idea of communication through improvisation.

"I called it Talkin' Horns because of the communication we have as a band which is obvious when you hear it. It's not just the usual formula of melody, solos, melody. There is a lot going on through the compositions," he states.

The album is made up of mostly originals and improvisational pieces written by he and Marc.

As with all musicians, he credits all those great jazz musicians who came before with helping him find his musical "voice." These include Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Vic Dickenson, Lester Young, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy Knepper, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana, JJ Johnson, Roswell Rudd, and Joe Lovano, among many, many others. Music connoisseurs will surely be able to hear a hint of each in every song Jeff plays.

What could be in store for the future for a musician who has already achieved such great success? He keeps it simple.

"Music is wide open for me. I am just trying to get better and find different opportunities to play and write," he says.

For more information on Jeff Galindo please visit his website.


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