Jack Gale composer
Steven Christopher Sacco composer
Brian Lynn composer
Walter Ross composer
Alan Raph composer
John D. Rojak bass trombone
For decades, John Rojak has been a staple in American brass music, performing with a number of chamber ensembles and orchestras such as American Brass Quintet, Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony; in Broadway shows including Les Misérables and The Producers; in big bands of Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, and Gerry Mulligan; and contributing to the pedagogy of the bass trombone as a faculty member of several institutions, including The Juilliard School, The Hartt School, and Aspen Music Festival and School. Needless to say he has taken the bass trombone and its repertoire to new heights in the classical, contemporary, jazz, and commercial genres.
Rojak presents his debut release on Navona Records, ROJAK ROCKS, a culmination of his experiences until now in the contemporary music scene, both in New York and around the world. Each of the works on this album have a history for Rojak, a time and place that marks a transcending moment in his prolific career. Whether coming to him from a close colleague or through an unexpected opportunity, the works on this collection have contributed to the development of Rojak’s extensive and varying career as a brass player.
Not only do these pieces illustrate significant moments in Rojak’s career and in the development of new works for bass trombone, some of them incorporate elements of genres in which he worked, including jazz and commercial music. Steven Christopher Sacco’s Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano was written for Rojak after Sacco was commissioned to write a work for American Brass Quintet, and features elements of syncopation and jazz harmonic structures. Rojak and Jack Gale, composer of Three Pieces for Bass Trombone and Jazz Rhythm Section, worked together in Broadway productions, delivering a piece with a rhythm section spearheaded by pianist Russ Kassoff.
Rojak recorded New York composer and bass trombonist Alan Raph’s Rock at Hunter Canyon in Moab UT, 150 feet above the canyon floor in order to capture the natural echo of the landscape. Rojak discovered Brian Lynn’s Ba-dee-doo-dup while giving a master class in Tokyo. He performed and recorded composer Walter Ross’ Concerto No. 2 for Trombone and Orchestra with the New York Chamber Symphony, under the hand of Gerard Schwarz, an experience which Rojak says was “one of those moments in a musician’s life that makes a career feel complete.” Rojak’s career is far from complete yet this album exemplifies his influence in the world of classical, commercial, and jazz music and in the expansion of the bass trombone repertory as well as a group of composers and musicians who inspired him and contributed to his eminent craft.