Tom Harrell’s Colors of A Dream sextet coming to Zipper Concert Hall
Courtesy of Tom Harrell/

Trumpeter Tom Harrell’s new sextet, Colors of A Dream, makes a rare Southern California appearance on Aug. 21, 2014 at 8:00 at Zipper Concert Hall in the Colburn School. Harrell’s ensemble - Tom Harrell on trumpet, flugelhorn; Esperanza Spalding on bass and vocals; Jaleel Shaw on alto saxophone; Johnathan Blake on drums; Ugonna Okegwo on bass; and Wayne Escoffery on tenor saxophone - made their debut at the Village Vanguard in New York in March 2013. Their self-titled recording Tom Harrell Colors of a Dream (High Note, 2013) has received rave reviews for its originality and imaginative compositions that creatively spotlight Harrell’s skillful songwriting for a piano-less, two-bass ensemble.

Prepare to be amazed as the sextet performs an array of songs from their repertoire including several from their HighNote debut recording. The songs span the musical spectrum from Latin to swing to funk, with emphasis on rich colors and textures, memorable melodies, deep grooves and polyrhythms played by the two bass players. During their concerts songs such as “Phantasy in Latin,” and “Nite Life” have received enthusiastic applause for Harrell’s stellar trumpet/flugelhorn work and skillful 3-horn arrangements. Harrell specifically wrote several songs to feature Esperanza Spalding, the prodigious 20-year Grammy-winning artist, on vocals and bass and she delivers them with the expertise of a jazz veteran. She has received rousing ovations as she lends her imaginative vocalese and scat singing to “Even If,” while her lyrical and multi-lingual skills are effectively delivered on “Velejar,” a Portuguese version of Harrell’s signature composition “Sail Away.”

A native of Los Altos, California and a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in music composition, Harrell is a prolific composer and arranger. The breadth and variation of Tom Harrell’s compositions and jazz ensembles has been critically acclaimed for nearly 50 years. As a jazz trumpeter he is known for his burnished tone and lyrical improvisational style. As a composer, his formidable body of music spans the spectrum of jazz styles – from bebop, to modal, to free and avant-garde. He has composed big band masterpieces for The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, Germany's WDR Big Band, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, Amsterdam's Metropole Jazz Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lorraine and Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

With 27 recordings – five of which were recorded as a member of The Horace Silver Quintet – Tom Harrell’s work speaks for itself. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Ron Carter, Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, and Carlos Santana. With Colors of a Dream, his new ensemble whose name was inspired by Harrell’s fascination with dream imagery, Tom Harrell continues to reach new levels of creativity from a source familiar to the creative process – his dreams.