Jazz pianist Trompeter is a one-man industry
Jim Trompeter has been captivated by music all his life. "I was so lucky to have a grandmother, Irene Webster, who played jazz piano. I used to sit and listen to her. My mother was a pianist and my father was a disc jockey, so music was a big part of our house in Wilmette."
That early exposure had a lasting effect on the Wilmette resident, who has carved a successful career as a jazz pianist and composer. His current musical activities sound like enough work to keep a half-dozen people busy...
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August 28, 2008, Evanston-Review.com
Member of the Sun-Times News Group
The secret life of Jim Trompeter
Performing musicians' day jobs are supposed to be unglamorous second careers that afford them the opportunity to pursue music at night. Jim Trompeter, however, is not your typical musician: By night, he is a leading jazz pianist; by day, he is among the few who make music at their desks. As a senior composer at WMS Gaming Inc. in Chicago, Mr. Trompeter, 45, writes and produces music for slot machines — the soundtracks that support the games' themes and, yes, all of those beeps and chimes that announce a big win...
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"There is nothing like hearing pure, straight ahead, swinging jazz where the musicians are inventing melodies on the spot over challenging chord changes. Add to that a live and educated audience in a great setting and all the ingredients are there for a wonderful live and spontaneous experience — the essence of what jazz is about Pianist Jim Trompeter created a situation like that at the Green Mill Club in Chicago and the results are fantastic. He has a gorgeous and elegant touch with an uncanny ability to reharmonize the chordal structure on the spot. You hear throughout the recording something that I think distinguishes Trompeter’s playing which is his ability and awareness of building tension and telling a story.
—Dave Liebman, Jazz Artist,
professor, Manhattan School of Music
"Trompeter and his group offer quick-moving harmonic turns and unexpected quirks of melody that keep everything sounding fresh and new. More important is the consistently high level of improvisation and the undeniable sense that Trompeter and friends are reaching for a music of their own making.
Trompeter and colleagues command a richer musical vocabulary in any 16 bars than most bands do in their entire repertoire. Trompeter approaches music in a painterly way, almost every piece suggesting landscapes, places and other kinds of vivid imagery. Beyond the delicacy of his touch, as well as his ability to create a sound that genuinely blends with the ensemble, he commands a remarkable harmonic imagination. With Trompeter it's the strength of the idea, not the virtuosity of the performance."
—Howard Reich, entertainment writer
for the Chicago Tribune
“The true spirit of improvisation — not some commercially expedient derivative — pulses mightily through Jim Trompeter's confident, articulate lines. Less obvious, but no less significant, is the fact that this same thoughtful spirit goes into his writing. Combined, these elements add up to an important new voice.”
—Tom Moon, entertainment critic
for the Philadelphia Inquirer
"Trompeter plays with enviable technique and a kinetic energy that sends his notes flying from the keyboard – energy that derives from his balanced touch, his controlled attack, and the force of his musical intellect. Even on slower performances, his finely wrought lines have a larger-than-life charisma, as if straining at the seams of the song structure that contains them; at quicktime, they threaten to surround the listener, taking no prisoners. Underneath it all, lies the touchstone of Trompeter’s music, a ferociously encyclopedic harmonic imagination.”
—Neal Tesser, music critic
for Playboy Magazine and The Reader,
Board Member of Jazz Institute of Chicago