Neil Brown on recording Chris Gekker | Trumpet Music of Robert Levy
Much like Chris says that Bob Levy served as a model musician for him, Chris has long been an inspiration for me. I am a trumpet player in addition to a recording engineer and I have known of Chris Gekker since I first began taking the trumpet seriously in middle school. I carefully studied his numerous celebrated recordings and diligently practiced his method books.
Later, I was able to study with him as a student at the University of Maryland. The opportunity to record a musician of Chris’s skill and stature was wonderful and exciting, but made even all the more meaningful given how much Chris has meant to me as a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. To collaborate on an album of Bob Levy’s music was especially exciting as Bob’s music really showcases many characteristics of the trumpet, and Chris’s playing in particular, that I really love - a perceptive partner in chamber music, expressing a full range of tonal colors, weaving through a wonderfully nuanced confluence of musical influences.
The album was recorded over a series of three sessions from 2017 - 2018. I served as the recording engineer for the sessions and then worked together with Suzanne Gekker and Rick Humphreys (both are musicians playing on the disc) to produce and edit the album. Bob Levy also listened and gave feedback at every step of the process. From the first recording session to the final release of the album, I felt enormously privileged to work with Chris, Bob, and all the collaborating musicians on the album, all of whom were so dedicated, humble, and just a true pleasure to work with.
Neil's Chris Gekker Sampler Playlist
A sampling of the prolific discography of Chris Gekker. Created in celebration of the release of his album, Trumpet Music of Robert Levy.