Willie Waldman

A childhood fascination with the trumpet led Willie Waldman to his high school band and eventually to a scholarship at Memphis State University. While in Memphis, he began playing in Beale St. clubs and eventually hooked up with Herman Green, Calvin Newborn, and Jimmie Ellis at Club Hardy. Green became somewhat of a mentor to the young Waldman, who would eventually become a member of Herman Green & the Green Machine. That band eventually morphed into Freeworld, which was a fusion band that met with some commercial success and toured with Stevie Ray Vaughn, the Robert Cray Band, Albert King, and Joe Cocker.

In 1994, Waldman decided to relocate to California. A friend, David Aron, was working as an engineer at Death Row Studios and helped Waldman get his first rap gig, playing on a track from a Snoop Doggy Dog album. That job led to several others, and as a result, Waldman's trumpet can be heard on albums by Warren G., Sublime, Tupac Shakur, Jodeci, Salt & Pepa, and the Eastsidaz. He also was hired to do session work for several soundtracks, including Tombstone, Under Siege 2, and 101 Dalmations. He also got a job playing in Vonda Shephard's band on the television series Ally McBeal. In 1997, Waldman met Perry Farrell and performed on two of his albums. Those projects helped him to come in contact with Stephen Perkins and Bob Wasserman, both of whom used Waldman as a studio musician on their recordings.

When it came time to record his own debut album, however, Waldman went in an entirely different direction -- into jazz. His album, Trumpet Ride, which was issued by Rhombus Records in 2001, incorporates some Latin and fusion elements, but radiates outward from a core of pure, small-group jazz music. ~ Stacia Proefrock

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