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Jazz Trumpeter Alex Massa Releases New Music

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With the coronavirus pandemic closing nightclubs, bars and concert venues, musicians don’t have any place to play live. But that hasn’t stopped them from creating and releasing new music. Chicago jazz trumpeter and Rapid City native Alex Massa has just released Plays Well With Others: Adventure #1 and another album, Water Music, is ready to go. He also plans to release more new music in the months ahead.

Massa grew up in Rapid City and studied music at Northern State University in Aberdeen. He lived and played in New Orleans for more than five years before relocating to Chicago. 

Like most everyone else in the country right now, Massa is practicing social distancing, but he says the solitude is allowing him to focus on releasing music so he can turn to creating new works. It’s also changed his plans. For example, he was originally going to release Water Music just on vinyl in July but decided to make it available much earlier.

“I was talking to my partner and I asked her if it was a good idea if I just pushed everything through and just released all of this music,” he says. “We both kind of figured that people would be wanting to hear some new stuff and would welcome an interruption from the chaos.”

After getting turned down by various recording companies, Massa decided to release his music on his own. But then he was picked up by ears&eyes Records and the company has made Plays Well With Other: Adventure #1 available exclusively through Bandcamp.

Massa had also planned on touring and bringing his music to audiences in South Dakota this summer. He’s cautiously optimistic that he still can. “I’m intending to be in Rapid City within the next six months with one of these projects,” he says. “I’d really love to bring Water Music to the Black Hills.”

Water Music was inspired by water protectors in North America and highlights the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It’s an extended, multi-part work depicting chaos and peace with melodic, composed passages mixed with freer moments. Massa joined Jazz Nightly for the radio premiere of Water Music and discussed the work and other projects. 

You can watch a live SDPB Radio Jazz Nightly performance with Alex Massa including a selection from Water Music here.

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