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International Jazz Stars Featured on a New Live Recording From Austin, Texas

Live From Austin, the latest album from trombonist Ron Westray and trumpeter Thomas Heflin, has just been released on Blue Canoe Records. The album features internationally known artists such as Neal Caine, regular bassist with Harry Connick Jr., Eric Revis, featured bass player with the Branford Marsalis quartet, and drummer Adonis Rose, who toured extensively with Nicholas Payton and Betty Carter. The group also features three of the top jazz musicians in Austin Texas: Elias Haslanger, Peter Stoltzman and David Sierra.

Heflin and Westray recorded the album in 2009 while living in Austin, TX. At the time Heflin was completing his doctorate in music and Westray was serving as professor of jazz at the University of Texas. The recording project was conceived as a way to capture the energy of live jazz in Austin, a city known as the “live music capital of the world.” It felt appropriate to make the recording at the jazz club, The Elephant Room, which was selected as one of the top ten jazz venues in the United States by Wynton Marsalis in USA TODAY. The recording features all original compositions from the pens of Westray, Heflin and Austin jazz star Elias Haslanger.

Ron Westray is already one of the most highly regarded trombonists of his generation. In addition to serving as lead trombonist with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he is known for his collaborative album with Wycliffe Gordon on the Atlantic label entitled Bone Structure. In past years, he also toured as a member of the Marcus Roberts Quintet and the Mingus Big Band, as well as performed with a roster of jazz notables too long to list. In 2008, Westray released Medical Cures for the Chromatic Commands of the Inner City on the Blue Canoe Label. He currently serves as the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Rising star Thomas Heflin has already gained a fan base internationally with his style and command of the trumpet. In 2005, he placed second in the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition in Seattle, Washington. Two years later, he released his debut album, Symmetry, on Blue Canoe Records. Marco Maimeris of Italy’s “Jazz Magazine” described the CD as "… the extension of a charismatic leader with an innovative style who has the heritage of Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan but who does not forget the lessons of Freddie Hubbard…" In 2009 Heflin released his follow-up recording with the jazz collective “The New Five.” “Live from Austin” marks his third release on Blue Canoe Records. He currently lives in New York City where he works as the Program Manager of the Precollege Division at the Manhattan School of Music. Heflin and Westray will reunite to perform in New York’s prestigious Smalls Jazz Club on Sept. 9/10 2011 to perform music from the album. Live From Austin can be purchased at all major online music outlets.

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Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ron Westray / Thomas Heflin
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