Fri September 15, 2006
An interview with Trumpeter Tim Hagans
Educator/Bandleader explores the cutting edge of jazz with a firm straight ahead foundation
By Chris Cooke
Omaha, Nebraska – Trumpeter Tim Hagans, who has strong roots in traditional jazz, is also a fearless explorer of the frontiers of the music.
Born in 1954 in Ohio, Hagans attended Bowling Green State University. He first came to fame as a member of Stan Kenton Orchestra. Hagans was a member of Kenton?s band for three years, where he learned the art of improvisation from a bandleader who wanted his band members to challenge themselves nightly.
Following a short stay with Woody Herman, Hagans relocated to Malmo, Sweden, a hotbed of the European jazz scene. Hagans was able to play with other expatriate players such as saxophonist Dexter Gordon, pianists Kenny Drew and Horace Parlan and trumpeter Thad Jones.
Returning to the United States, Hagans taught music at the University of Cincinnati from 1982-84 and the Berklee College of Music from 1984-87.
Moving to New York City in 1987, Hagans joined Mel Lewis? big band at the famed Village Vanguard and played with tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and pianist Fred Hersch. Hagans has also performed with the big bands of Bob Mintzer, Maria Schneider and the Gil Evans Orchestra, and the progressive jazz group the Yellowjackets.
A steady succession of more adventurous recordings led to the the landmark 1999 recording, Animation/Imagination, where Hagan?s concept of Jazz & Electronica & DJs took full bloom.
Hagans continues to tour worldwide and perform his cutting edge brand of electronic jazz. Iowa City Jazz Festival audiences in 2006 had the chance to see Hagans in performance with Immediate Left, with Jazz multi-keyboardist Scott Kinsey, drummer Gary Novack and bassist Dave Carpenter. The performance sustained the ambitious, energetic direction started with Animation/Imagination. Infused by Middle Eastern rhythms, Immediate Left?s performance was a strong showcase for Hagans, who told KIOS?s Chris Cooke before the concert that the Miles Davis album Bitches Brew has been a strong inspiration to him.
Hagans also is a featured artist on other musician?s projects. He was recently a sideman on a new recording by Joe Lovano. The new disc, Streams of Expression, features the music of Gunther Schuller, best known for composing the music for the famous Miles Davis-Gil Evans Birth of the Cool sessions.
Chris Cooke is the host of Jazz in the Afternoon and Last Call on KIOS-FM.He spoke with Tim Hagans at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in 2006.