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Texas Brass Ensemble

  • The History of the Texas Brass Ensemble

In 1986, Darryl Bayer auditioned for the group known as the Texas Brass Quintet in Austin and began performing and playing concerts with this group for a number of years. By 1991, the Texas Brass was relocated to The Woodlands and incorporated under the name Texas Brass Ensemble. By becoming a corporate ensemble, the group was able to flow more easily among genres and membership. In their debut, the Texas Brass performed with sixteen players for the dedication of the Houston Police Department Memorial, in their original quintet configuration for the Houston International Festival, joined Young Audiences of Houston bringing quality education to schools, and entertained at family concerts for Parks and Recreation programs from Galveston Island, up through Friendswood, Clear Lake, West University and Pearland.

Requests for the Texas Brass to play entire concerts of Dixieland music, jazz and funk intrigued Darryl and friend Nelson Hatt (L.A. studio recording trumpeter) so along with Houston drummer, Joel Fulgum and saxophonist Martin Langford they formed one of the first hybrid brass ensembles in America, The Cadillac Brass. Again, this group’s popularity soared after their first concert for the Market Square Merchant’s Association groundbreaking event to revitalize downtown Houston. The Jazz Age Project, sponsored by Young Audiences brought Cadillac Brass into urban schools with their unique program, “A Jazz Odyssey” exposing thousands of students to history and sociology of jazz in America. Cadillac Brass performed a number of times at Ovations, a respected jazz nightclub in West University/Rice Village area along with receptions and corporate parties.

Texas Brass and Herald Trumpets was the next project on Darryl’s agenda. Feeling that “Heralds for Hire” was too commercial (although some agents still refer them) this more sophisticated name was chosen for the same group and also to tie the trumpets to the corporate identity. With this union, many clients were able to benefit by having Herald Trumpets greet the arrival of guests and Texas Brass perform dinner music. For weddings, Christmas parties, and fund raising gala events, The Texas Brass and Herald Trumpets played it all. At one point, Cadillac Brass, Texas Brass and Darryl Bayer’s solo Herald Trumpet act were all on the Young Audience Roster at the same time. Event coordinators such as Ward and Ames, Best Entertainers and Adams and Green all hire the Texas Brass (in some form) for events around the state. The Texas Brass Quartet and Texas Brass Herald Trumpets are at the Texas Renaissance Festival performing right now!

This first ten years had brought much satisfaction to music lovers of all ages but only within Houston and parts of Texas. In order to reach a global audience, the group would either need to tour or produce a CD. In the light that all current members had established careers in Houston, we opted for the CD. David Kirk, principal tuba for the Houston Symphony was recruited along with cross-over musicians Eddie Lewis, Thomas Hulten and Stephen Hambright. Thomas and Eddie were not only respected jazz and classical brass players but were fine composers looking for an outlet to record their music. With Darryl as producer, they began rehearsals and recitals in preparation for a summer of recording sessions. It was decided early on that the album would have elements of classical and jazz but for marketing to dedicated brass ensemble purists, having a french horn rather than saxophone was more sensible and Alicia Watson was invited to join the team. “Sounds of the South” is a one- of-a-kind CD with music that takes you through a journey of music that remises on the style Texas, Louisiana and Mexico. All songs, except for La Virgin de la Macarena and Amazing Grace are originals by Thomas and Eddie and everyone in the group has an opportunity to be showcased in a solo setting.

With airplay on the radio, a soundtrack to an independent movie and an award by K-ARTS the Texas Brass Ensemble had come a full circle. The group was back to the quintet roots of the early days with two trumpets, horn, trombone and tuba. Percussion was preferred by us and especially when promoting “Sounds of the South”. The group played back-to-back New Year’s Eve at the Cynthia Mitch Woods Pavilion and New Year’s Day for the opening of the Main Street Houston Light Rail Inauguration. The group also performed at the Red Hot and Blue Festival in The Woodlands and at Minutemaid Park for George Bush Sr. eightieth birthday party.

Texas Brass Ensemble has another CD of all renaissance music with the new TBQ (Texas Brass Quartet) featuring young talented musicians from Rice University. The Cadillac Brass, Texas Brass and Herald Trumpets continue performances throughout the year with High School and College Master Classes, education programs in grade schools, recitals, church ceremonies and events requiring dynamic brass musicians for excitement, entertainment and excellence.

Contact Us |    Texas Brass Ensemble |    Darryl Bayer |     Eddie Lewis  |    Thomas Hulten |     David Kirk |     Stephen Hambright |     Herald Trumpets |     Darryl Bayer, Soloist

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