Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini
Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini
Natalie Cressman – Trombone/Vocals
Ian Faquini – Guitar/Vocals
Possessing a voice as cool and crystalline as an Alpine stream, Natalie Cressman is a rising singer/songwriter and trombonist who draws inspiration from a vast array of deep and powerful musical currents. In April 2019, she released her 5th album Setting Rays of Summer in collaboration with Brazilian composer, guitarist and vocalist Ian Faquini, drawing from impressionism, jazz, and the great Brazilian songwriting tradition. With the warm instrumentation of acoustic guitar and trombone alongside two-part vocal harmonies hugging Brazilian-accented Portuguese, Cressman & Faquini weave their musical voices together to craft a fully orchestrated sound befitting a much larger ensemble.
Steadily evolving in many directions, the 27-year-old Natalie Cressman has already put down deep roots in several overlapping scenes. A prodigiously talented New York City-based trombonist, Cressman has spent the past nine years touring the jam band circuit as a horn player and vocalist with Phish’s Trey Anastasio. Deeply versed in Latin jazz, post-bop, pop, and Brazilian music, Cressman tapped those interlaced traditions on her first two solo albums, 2012’s Unfolding and 2014’s Turn the Sea.
Cressman released The Traces EP in 2017, expanding her creative reach into post-production with meticulously crafted soundscape tracks inspired by the likes of R&B singer/songwriter Emily King, the Prince-championed vocal trio KING, and especially Australian avant-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote. The Traces EP followed on the heels of 2016’s Etchings in Amber, a gorgeous duo album with guitarist Mike Bono that introduced Cressman as a formidable musical force without her horn. While the project focused on songs featuring lyrics she wrote for several Bono compositions, Cressman also wrote words and music for three of her own songs, contributing to the atmospheric suite of jazz-inflected, genre-bending tunes.
When she’s not performing her own music, Cressman can be found collaborating with some of the most illustrious figures in rock, funk, jazz and beyond, which have included Phish, Big Gigantic, Carlos Santana, Escort, Wycliffe Gordon, Nicholas Payton, Anat Cohen, The Motet, and Umphrey’s McGee. Her passion for groove music hasn’t diluted her love of jazz. In 2016 SFJAZZ commissioned her to develop music for a concert celebrating the legacy of jazz trombonist and arranger Melba Liston. She also continues her long-standing musical relationship with world jazz innovator Peter Apfelbaum, performing with his band Sparkler. A fellow Bay Area native, Apfelbaum has hired Cressman since she was a young teen, a relationship that exemplifies the creative hothouse in which she was raised.
Cressman’s far-flung musical passions continue to bear new fruit as her identity as a horn player and singer/songwriter evolves in different directions. Playing funk trombone in arenas and cavernous theaters has required developing an aggressive new vocabulary of shouts, growls, smears and yelps, à la The JB Horns’ Fred Wesley. Her vocal work in increasingly intimate and rhythmically insinuating settings has revealed an artist who can thrive in any environment, from raucous, reverberant halls to packed and pulsing lofts and nightclubs. In an epoch marked by infinite musical possibilities, Natalie Cressman is a singular force who draws from an improbable breadth of sonic realms.