Concurrent with becoming the next director of Dartmouth’s Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, Taylor Ho Bynum has won in the 2017 “Rising Star, Trumpet” category in the 65th Annual Critics Poll in DownBeat magazine. The awards are announced in the magazine’s August issue, now on newsstands. The award recipients were selected by the 155 international jazz critics who voted in the annual poll.
In the same issue, Bynum was also mentioned in Phillip Lutz’s article about trumpeter (and past Barbary Coast guest artist) Don Cherry, just named to the DownBeat Critics Poll Hall of Fame:
“Cherry’s global explorations have proven a draw to a generation of musicians for whom a global mindset is second nature—none, perhaps, with a stronger sense of kinship to Cherry than cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. Like Cherry, who won the Trumpet category for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in the 1963 DownBeat Critics Poll, Bynum has won the equivalent award: Rising Star, Trumpet in the 2017 Critics Poll.
“Bynum, 42, said he was first exposed to Cherry’s playing when, as a teenager, he heard The Shape of Jazz to Come. The music, he said, was far less scary and more melodic than he had been led to expect. But more than the Coleman collaborations, Cherry’s global explorations ‘opened me up to what he meant,’ Bynum said.
“Because he was such an insightful thinker, he could find something in a tradition that maybe someone hadn’t noticed before that allowed him to make connections between what seemed like disparate traditions. In making those connections, he could find something that was incredibly universal and human.”
One of the resident ensembles of the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble is an all-student group dedicated to the idea that a large group of people improvising together, navigating forms and making choices in real time, can be a transformative experience.
A cornettist, composer, band leader, writer, educator and “one of the most exciting figures in jazz’s new power generation” (Time Out Chicago), Bynum has spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation—through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. Bynum’s expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over 20 recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman.
Bynum’s varied endeavors include leading his own bands (such as his long-running Sextet and his 15-piece creative orchestra The PlusTet), his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing and performing on most of Braxton’s recent major projects). Bynum has worked with many legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, maintains current collaborative projects with forward thinking peers like Mary Halvorson and Tomas Fujiwara, and increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music.
Bynum is also a published author and contributor to The New Yorker’s Culture Blog, has taught at universities, festivals and workshops worldwide, and has served as a panelist and consultant for leading funders, arts organizations and individual artists. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, USArtists International and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Bynum succeeded Don Glasgo, who retired this spring after directing the Coast for 40 years.