The Track with Ryan Swift podcast

The Track - E051 - Gordon Au

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In this episode, I am joined by trumpeter and bandleader Gordon Au.  Gordon leads the Grand St. Stompers, a traditional jazz band who the New York Times has called “a pillar of New York’s hot jazz scene,” and regularly plays with numerous groups in New York City.  He is a frequent guest artist at music festivals around the country, including the Redwood Coast Music Festival and Monterey Jazz Bash By the Bay, as well as at swing dance events such as Lindy Focus, and DCLX. Gordon is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, and teaches for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s WeBop program. His latest albums, Swing in Place, recorded remotely in quarantine, and Tribute to Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars / Live at Lindy Focus, are now available on Bandcamp.

Gordon joined me on a video chat from across Brooklyn to talk about how he went from scientist to professional musician , what it’s like to play a gig with a musical idol, his opinion on cultural appropriation and historical context in jazz, and the importance of the arts in the time of a global pandemic.

We also discussed what is special about playing for dancers, how learning to Lindy Hop has influenced his playing, and the level of research and preparation that he puts into each song in an effort to find the right balance between recreation and innovation.

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