Matt Bumgardner’s musical odyssey continues from winter into spring
May 10, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Camera-shy and uncomfortable with the spotlight, Matt Bumgardner nevertheless displays an honesty as uncommon as his talent with the trombone.
A senior in high school building a bright future with the sounds of his instrument, Bumgardner declares the trombone to be “lame” without sounding clichéd or like a too-cool-for-school teenager.
“You don’t have nearly as much freedom as you have with other instruments, just because of the nature of it,” he said. “Just because it’s really difficult.”
That’s what keeps it a challenge for Bumgardner and what keeps him enthralled with it.
“There’s a bunch of good pianists, there’s a bunch of good drummers, there’s always going to be way too many saxophonists,” he said. “But when you can find a trombonist who can really find their own unique voice in the instrument, that’s really cool.”
Mount Si High School music teacher Adam Rupert has called Bumgardner the best jazz trombone improviser in the nation.
This after his trombone-playing prowess took Bumgardner to places like the Grammy Awards in California and before it earned him tickets to Japan this July through the Monterey Jazz Festival.
“They have auditions from around the country,” Bumgardner said of Monterey, “and they pick out a big band and then every summer they have a tour. Last year, they did kind of a West Coast tour and this year they are doing Japan.”
Then in September, the band, including Bumgardner, will play at the actual Monterey Jazz Festival.
An incoming freshman at the New School of Music in New York, Bumgardner said the important thing is not where he goes or will go, but whether he learns once he is there.
“Anytime I get the chance to play with people who are better than me, whether it’s professionals or other students, that really helps a lot,” he said. “It keeps your ego from getting too big and it keeps you working hard.”
Bumgardner said all of these trips make for a busy and stressful schedule.
“But it’s a good busy and a good stressful,” he added. “I’d rather be busy doing all these things than not do any of it at all.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.