Growing up in a supportive family, Chris Klaxton was encouraged to study music from a young age and inevitably found himself embarking on a life and career in music. While at the University of New Hampshire under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Stibler, Klaxton soon realized his commitment to the horn and was fortunate to form a relationship with jazz legend, Clark Terry. Learning the music and history from Clark, as well as traveling with Clark as an assistant and travel manager, were profoundly deep and eye opening experiences for Klaxton.
A several year stint in Miami afforded Klaxton the opportunity to study with trumpet luminaries Brian Lynch and Jason Carder, perform alongside and learn from trumpeter Dave Douglas, as well as study composition and trumpet with renowned trumpeter and film composer, Terence Blanchard. Rehearsing and performing in a small ensemble directed by Blanchard became a pivotal experience in Klaxton's development as a player.
As a freelance trumpet player, pianist, and educator, Chris Klaxton has found himself part of a world class musical community spanning from jazz to bluegrass / country, hip hop, reggae, indie rock, and classical music. As pianist and trumpeter for New England hip hop group, The Press Project
, Klaxton has opened for Soulive, Boyz II Men, George Clinton, and was invited to perform at the 2008 Bonnaroo Music Festival.
Klaxton is a current member of critically acclaimed NH based Tan Vampires
, contributing trumpet, guitar, and percussion and also appears regularly as trumpeter and keyboardist with Moe Pope
, Boston EMCEE and recently voted "Hip Hop Artist of the Year" (2012 Boston Music Awards).
As a composer, Chris Klaxton's work is featured in his self-led ensembles as well as In Ears and Eyes
, an experimental performing / visual art project with artist Roger Goldenberg
. Chris Klaxton has recorded with:
(clink on link to check it out!)
As an educator, Klaxton has spent his time teaching trumpet, piano, and improvisation in a one-on-one format as well as coaching ensembles, leading workshops, and guiding students through the composition process. Chris has recently been appointed by the New Hampshire Council on the Arts to the NH Teaching Artists Roster.
Chris is available year-round for institutional residencies throughout the state of NH. Chris is currently on faculty at:
and is available for private lessons for
(classical, jazz / improvisation)
(beginner / intermediate classical - jazz / improvisation)improvisation
for any instrumentcomposition
(beginning / intermediate) CURRENT PROJECTSTan Vampires (trumpet / guitar / percussion)
NH based indie rock ensemble performing
throughout east coast
Music has appeared on MTV’s “The Real World”
“Best Band in New Hampshire” – Boston Phoenix
Appeared on NPR’s All Songs Considered
and NHPR's Word of MouthOURBIGBAND
18 piece big band - performing classic big band repertoire as well as original works and the pop standards of today. Moe Pope
(trumpet / guitar / keyboards)
“Hip Hop artist of the Year” – 2012 and 2013 Boston
Chris Klaxton Group
(trumpet / piano)
Self-led ensemble performing original music and
interpretations of the music of today, as well as selections from American
Songbook and classic jazz repertoire
In Ears and Eyes (trumpet / composer)
Experimental performing ensemble featuring live
“jazz painter” Roger Goldenberg
Jazzputin and the Jug Skunks (trumpet)
Old-timey jazz fused with elements of bluegrass,
free improvisation, and comedy
PRESS / REVIEWS
always refreshing to hear a new artist’s work that takes you to a
special place. A place where you can escape to if only for a short
while, as the song transports you from start to finish. Well, with
first-rate trumpeter/composer/arranger Chris Klaxton’s new releases I
became the latest impressed passenger! His artistry is born from a
place that communicates freedom and connection to a universal groove
that will beg of you to dance once you hear his music! He has the
uncanny ability to pen a melody that sticks with you and leaves ample
space in his compositions for improvisational contributions by all of
his fellow bandmates. It is my sincere hope that the heartfelt music
from this project as well as his future projects will continue to
attract many curious passengers throughout this beautiful journey that
we call life. You have a new loyal fan in me!! - Jason Palmer
Oftentimes the back story behind the motivation and inspiration for
songs compiled on a record is just as fascinating as the music itself.
Case in point is trumpeter Chris Klaxton,
whose interest in subjects as diverse as astrophysics, the intellectual
philosophies of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff, and spiritual continuity of
life, culminated in his recording Starcode. Though all of this
might sound complicated when applied to jazz, his music is grounded and
accessible,implemented with profound sensitivity.
track is actually three part intro segments which abruptly set up the
next song with a cosmic message of urgency. "Billions" in reference to
the galaxy system, is a progressive venture where Klaxton introduces his
powerful trumpet voice. The following, is an unexpected take on Stephen
Foster's "Hard Time," where vocalist Taylor O'Donnell twists this
Americana classic into a somber gospel tinged lamentation. Then it's
back to the future with "Exposheric," a journey to the outer regions of
the atmosphere. Drummer Michael Piolet does a superb job of propelling
this song forward and upward, as is vitally required for full effects.
Time We Float Away/Quarter Note," drops down a few revolutions,
offering light uplifting harmony as the trumpet tastefully soars into
the clouds, before gliding back down. "Fictional Friends," is a swaying
vocal number that allows sax man Mark Small to colorize the middle
section. "The Land of Dreams," with lyrics by William Blake, again
features Taylor O'Donnell singing a moving tribute to Klaxton's nephew
who passed far too young. The trombone solo by Kendall Moore provides a
semblance of a second line hymn, as the song flows into a memorial mode.
Chris Klaxton is a prime example of ambitious players who are
coming up today and breathing new life into the music. Well-schooled by
top trumpet masters, he not only has the chops, but also the unbounded
imagination needed to transmit his ideas with music. His blending of
cosmic jazz with earthy vocals in this occasion worked and can only
serve to stimulate his sense of adventure in future endeavors.
- James Nadal, ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM
In his debut album, Starcode, Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
trumpeter Chris Klaxton shows a compositional poise that's modern in
tone, adventurous in scope, but kept on a leash just long enough to keep
everything in check. It's surprising how enjoyable this album is, on
first listen and every play through all over again. The rhythm section
of Mike Effenberger on rhodes, Josh Allen on bass, and Michael Piolet on
drums are immensely gripping. Effenberger shimmers on the keys and
maintains the spacey theme that Klaxton conveys in these compositions
with great aplomb. Piolet's drums are crisp and Allen's bass has some
bounce to it. This group alone would be worth the price of the album,
but the rest of this band, including Mark Small on saxophone (didn't see
that one coming), Tim Jago on guitar, Kendall Moore on trombone, and
Taylor O'Donnell on vocals on a few tracks. The three-quarter hour album
can get a serious bounce going, reign things in to a softer ballad, or
make a slow build at points, but the constant revisiting of the
"Starcode" theme throughout the album provides a nice through line for
the album that gives the whole work a nice balance that makes for a
great overall listen as well as for each individual track that may pop
up on a play through shuffle. Starcode truly is as great as a whole as it is from its individual parts.
It's a particularly strong debut album that you should definitely
check out. Klaxton has been around the block a few times, studying at
the University of New Hampshire before working with Terence Blanchard,
Dave Douglas, and others, but it's with this release that the artistic
statement he's making is clearly his, and it clearly works.
- Anthony Dean-Harris, NEXTBOP.COM
Interview: Nick Mainella speaks with long-time friend, Chris Klaxton, on working as a musician, composing, preserving personal ideas, organization, and the New England scene.
Interview / story behind STARCODE
Some radio play alongside Flying Lotus and Thundercat (approx 27:30 in)
If you have any questions or comments, are interested in booking either Chris Klaxton or an affiliated band, or are interested in private instruction, please leave a message / email with the above link.