Tom Brantley

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Tom Brantley (born 1970) is an American jazz trombonist.


Brantley was born in 1970 in Louisiana. He is a third-generation trombonist.[1]

Brantley earned music degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi (BM) and the University of North Texas (MM). He majored in trombone performance at both schools. His teachers have included Gerald Waguespack, Bob Schmaltz, Marta Hofacre, Raoul Jerome, Vern & Jan Kagarice, Royce Lumpkin, and Neil Slater.

He joined the chamber ensemble Rhythm & Brass[2] in 1995 and continues to tour and record with the group. He appears on many Rhythm & Brass recordings, including Ellington Explorations (1998), which upon release was named the New York Times Album of the Week,[3] Sitting in An English Garden (2001), and Inside the Blue Suitcase (2005). He also records with the chamber group Confluences, and their self-titled debut CD appeared in 2004.

Brantley's first solo CD project,[4] entitled Boneyard, was released on the Summit Records label.[5] Reviews of the CD Boneyard include the Jazz Society of Oregon[6] as well as magazine.[7] Other reviews include Bill Milkowski's in JazzTimes magazine [8] and Ken Dryden's from the All Music Guide.[9]

The Brass Herald, the UK journal devoted to brass music, published a review of Boneyard (May 2009), as well as a feature article about Brantley (October 2009).[10]

Brantley serves as Professor of Music at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is an occasional reviewer for many publications on topics of interest to trombonists and other brass musicians.[11] Brantley performs on Yamaha trombones and has offered podcasts through the Yamaha Artists series.[12] Brantley appeared as a featured artist on the 2009 Clearwater Jazz Holiday program.[13] He has also served as a member of the faculty for the 2007 International Trombone Festival[14] as well as the 2011 International Trombone Festival.[15]

Reviews of Boneyard[edit]

From the International Trombone Association Journal's review (October 2009, by Stan Pethel)

A boneyard is usually a place you find old junk airplanes, cars, and other rusting vehicles, but in listening to this CD the words of the prophet Ezekiel come to mind, “Shall these bones rise again?” The answer is yes. Tom Brantley shows his originality, creativity, and heritage on this CD. The promise of more to come is a hopeful thought.

From The Brass Herald (May 2009, by Philip Biggs)

Tom Brantley ... is a musician who transcends technique and the practical considerations that most mortals have to deal with. One can just sit back, relax, and soak up the music-making. In fact, the same can be said of Tom Brantley as is said about great sportsmen. Two or three come to mind - Sachin Tendulkar when batting for the Indian Cricket team, Cesc Fàbregas when playing for Arsenal FC and, dare I say, Mike Lowell with the Boston Red Sox.

From (April 2009, by Ken Dryden)

With his debut recording as a leader, trombonist and jazz educator Tom Brantley offers a versatile release, including both established and new compositions and live and studio performances, as well as a variety of different bands. Highly recommended.

From (April 2009)

Trombones ring loud and clear during this hybrid, live-studio date. Leading a large ensemble, top-flight bone-man Tom Brantley launches a vibrant modern mainstream gala, featuring originals and interesting spins on time-honored standards. Brantley’s corpulent tone and fluid attack combines hefty doses of improvisation with acute reinventions of a given melody line. Brantley executes sublime and mood-eliciting balladry. No doubt about it, Brantley has formulated a divergent set, complete with works that span various cadences and storylines. The strength of material and memorable arrangements translate into an endeavor that pronounces intelligence, wit, and plain old savvy, to complement the performers’ zealous soloing jaunts.

From Jazz Society of Oregon (April 2009)

In a myriad of instrumental settings ranging from a trombone-guitar duet to a five trombones and rhythm group, Tom Brantley solidly states the case for all of you bone freaks ... as a leader, Brantley has done his homework and takes on all comers with style, wit, and, most importantly, musical acumen.

From JazzTimes (December 2009, by Bill Milkowski)

Trombonist Brantley shifts nimbly from an organ-fueled shuffle-blues version of Duke’sIn A Mellow Tone” to Saint-Saens’ classical “Adagio” delivered as a jazz ballad to a wacky rendition of Bird’s “Confirmation” done as a second-line groover. A Carl Fontana influence is apparent on his stunning duet with guitarist LaRue Nickelson on “Stardust.” He also engages Keith Oshiro in a spirited two-trombone romp through Randy Weston’s "Hi-Fly." Jerald Shynett offers some fine contrapuntal writing for five trombones on his lyrical “Exemption.”


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