One of the joys of listening to jazz is discovering new talents. Daniel Nissenbaum is a brilliant trumpeter who up to now has mostly been busy behind the scenes. After picking up experience playing as a teenager with groups in the Philadelphia area and graduating from Berklee, he worked as an educator, composer, and film scorer, doing work for Nickelodeon, the Smithsonian Channel, a music production library and a music composition facility.
Bismuth is Nissenbaum’s first recording as a leader and it makes one happy that he is finally in the spotlight. He has an attractive tone on trumpet and flugelhorn in all of the registers, a wide range, a fiery style of his own that is also a bit thoughtful, and displays effortless technique along with a mastery of the straight ahead jazz vocabulary. Nissenbaum performs seven of his originals with a modern hard bop group full of colorful talents: Sam Greenfield on tenor and soprano, trombonist Matt Hall, pianist Tim Brey, bassist Matt Keppler and drummer Gusten Rudolph.
The opener, “Don’s Dilemma,” is one of several jazz waltzes on the set. The haunting minor-toned song showcases the leader in a quartet. “King’s Ransom Blues,” a cooking performance with the full group, has the three horns playing the rapid lines of the melody flawlessly. Trombonist Hall takes a highly expressive and virtuosic solo. Tenor-saxophonist Greenfield begins his solo with the trombonist’s last phrase, displays a very appealing tone, and rips through the piece with the articulation of Sal Nistico. Nissenbaum starts off with variations on Greenfield’s last phrases before building up his own hot solo.
The quality stays consistently high throughout the other selections which include a workout on “Bismuth” (a medium-tempo jazz waltz with tricky chord changes), the dirge-like feel of “The Lighthouse,” and “Duende” which recalls Chick Corea’s “Spain” at first and features explosive soprano and trumpet solos. “The Man Who Died” is a high-powered romp in 6/4 which climaxes with the three horns improvising together over the closing vamp. “Bismuth” concludes with some beautiful trumpet playing on the folk-like “For Gaby.”
This is an impressive debut for Daniel Nissenbaum, a trumpeter with quite a bit of potential.
–Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
–Gene Thackara, allaboutjazz.com
Dan created great, swinging original music for a film about the Frankfurt Kurnit law firm and its founder – and then played a live celebration with heart and soul. He is talented, a pleasure to work with, and I highly recommend him.
–-Marc Handelman, Director of Marketing, Frankfurt Kurnit
On “Mech Champions”, an action packed Nickelodeon pilot, Daniel took on the very challenging role of Sound Designer and hit it out of the park, despite nearly impossible deadlines. Shortly thereafter, I was hired by Nickelodeon to re-score six episodes of “The Adventures of Pete & Pete”. Given the workload, and outrageous turnaround time (one week!), I had no choice to farm out some of the scoring. Once again, Daniel came through, and has become a go-to guy on the Bathing Suit Music team.
--P.T. Walkley, Composer for Team Umizumi and Director Ed Burns