Nick Vayenas: A Bout Of 'Synesthesia'


Nick Vayenas. i i

Nick Vayenas. Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist
Nick Vayenas.

Nick Vayenas.

Ingrid Hertfelder/Courtesy of the artist


  • Nick Vayenas: valve trombone
  • Patrick Cornelius: alto saxophone
  • Frank LoCrasto: piano and Fender Rhodes
  • Asen Doykin: synthesizers/programming
  • Matt Clohesy: acoustic and electric bass
  • Kendrick Scott: drums


  • Josh Jackson: producer
  • David Tallacksen: tracking
  • Josh Webb: mix

Trombonist Nick Vayenas spends the majority of his time on the road, playing to sold out crowds around the world — Radio City Music Hall, the Sydney Opera House, London's Royal Albert Hall. How does a trombonist do it? Well, for the last five years, Vayenas has toured with singer and entertainer Michael Buble. But when Vayenas is not playing in the young entertainer's trombone section (or lampooning him during an onstage skit), he's writing his own futuristic-sounding instrumental jazz.

Vayenas is a graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz, the highly acclaimed finishing school for young improvising musicians. That's where he wrote "Along the Way," an original in 5/4 time that floats in the ether until alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius cuts through the void with his lone contribution to this session.

Synesthesia is Vayenas' debut recording on World Culture Music, an independent, artist-driven project. Like the neurological condition of synesthesia, an involuntary combination of the senses, Vayenas' music is meant to provide both an aural stimulus and a place where artistic fancy colors a listener's perception. The palette includes synthesizer, programmed playback of tracks and a Fender Rhodes, each of which add some science fiction to the mix. On "Voyager," Vayenas takes a valve trombone solo that departs the Delta Quadrant, while drummer Kendrick Scott propels the ship through space. "Assembly Line" has a repetitive bass line (on both electric and synth bass), but the song is anything but monotonous.

Vayenas shows promise as a young composer. This music may not fill concert halls, but there's certainly enough here to fill your ears.

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