Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix Creates a Higher Ground

by Elizabeth Hoover    /  December 8, 2010  / No comments

Musicians of the 2010 Jazz Poetry Concert

Video production and editing by Glen Wood

Trumpeter Freddie Hendrix describes growing up in Teaneck, New Jersey as “survival of the fittest.” Perhaps this experience is what gave him his fierce drive; he practices for at least four hours a day and, at 33, already has a lifetime worth of accomplishments with five albums as a sideman for George Benson, Bradford Hayes, Melvin Davis, New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble, and most recently Rufus Reid.

Hendrix has been dedicated to his instrument since age 12. “The sound went through me, I had a spiritual connection,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger, describing his first encounter with the trumpet. “Today, it’s the sound, the feeling that overcomes me when I play. It makes me feel whole.”

While earning his B.A. in music performance at William Paterson University, he transcribed the music of Woody Shaw, an innovative trumpeter credited with expanding the instrument’s vocabulary by playing intervals once thought impossible. Hendrix, who went onto earn his masters at New Jersey City University, plays with a similar sense of adventure in his hard-driving and rhythmic solos.

Hendrix is an equally talented ensemble player. He plays with Abraham, Inc., a band that brings together an unlikely mix of traditional Klezmer, jazz, funk, and hip hop. You can hear Hendrix’s virtuosic playing on the their album “Tweet Tweet.” He has also played with llinois Jacquet’s Big Band and Olive Lake’s New Life Jazz Orchestra.

Whatever competitive edge growing up in Teaneck gave Hendrix, he leaves at the rehearsal room door. For him the job of the musician is to put aside his ego so the band can come together to “create a higher ground and a spiritual point that people can relate to.”

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About the Author

Elizabeth Hoover earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University, where she received a Project on African Expressive Traditions grant and the Won-Joon Yon Scholarship for Racial Tolerance. She has written for American Heritage, Life, and Poets and Writers. Her criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She has published poetry in The Adirondack Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and the Atlanta Review. Recently, New Letters nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. Hoover is a former associate editor at Sampsonia Way.

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