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Back in the swing Jazz trumpeter Hagans returns to BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT, Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Friday, 21 February 2014 09:54
photo provided
When Tim Hagans arrived at Bowling Green State University in 1972 the school didn't have a jazz program.
That didn't mean campus was bereft of jazz activity. Dave Melle led the big bands, and Lou Marini Sr. (whose son Lou Marini Jr. had just joined Blood, Sweat and Tears) taught saxophone and arranging. Percussion professor Wendell Jones made sure top names in jazz made stops in Bowling Green.
His fellow students included future professionals saxophonist Rich Perry, fellow trumpeter Tom Kirkpatrick and bassist Tom Warrington.
"Even though there was no jazz department, we made up our own jazz department," Hagans said.
Jazz Studies now thrives at BGSU, and Hagans is pleased when he gets to come back and share in it. The trumpeter will spend several days on campus starting Monday to work with students. Public events are a master class in Kelly Rehearsal Hall at 6 p.m. Monday and a concert with Jazz Studies director David Bixler's I75 Project Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall.
Hagans came back to campus first in 2006. He appreciated the changes, including the Moore Musical Arts Center, and enjoyed jamming with the jazz faculty. He was pleased as well with what hadn't changed. The Dairy Queen and town's friendly atmosphere. "Bowling Green always had such a positive vibe."
That wasn't enough to keep him here long enough to graduate. At the end of his sophomore year his academic career ended. He headed out on the road with the Stan Kenton Orchestra taking the first step in the dream of playing jazz  he'd nurtured since his childhood in Dayton.
A chair in a big band was an option open to a young player back then that's not open to young players now. Many of the great jazz big bands were still touring the world - Kenton, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson. Hagans got to see them all, and every time he'd hear them, they'd have someone new in the trumpet section.  "I saw that as perhaps a way to break into the music business," Hagans said.
"Now it's incredibly hard for young people to see what the possibilities are," he said.
Much of the action in getting a career launched has shifted to the internet and social media.
"How do you stand out?  I stress the importance of individualism. There are so many people in the jazz world that  sound the same. You have to find your own voice," Hagans said. "It  can't be contrived or forced. You have to let nature take its course with your own musical personality. Once you have that you have to market it."
His time with Kenton showed him that. The band played 320 nights a year, and "Stan wanted you to play something different every night." That meant plenty of experimentation, oddball note choices and outright clams.
Hagans said he feels he's always heard music a little differently. He has cassette tapes from his time at BGSU, and there's wrong notes, but "I was hearing something I couldn't out my musical finger on."
A few decades later, he's still at it. "It's a continual  adventure to try to articulate that abstract sound through the trumpet."
Last Updated on Friday, 21 February 2014 10:46

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