When performing in a modern classical context, Nate Wooley has all the extended-technique tricks down. He knows his John Cage, and so can imbue even a whisper through a mouthpiece with the spirit of pure musicality.
But you stop wondering how he manages this once he puts his trumpet together correctly and begins playing in a jazz group, since it's then you realize he knows his instrument inside out the regular way, too. In his own jazz groups -- a quintet on the album (Put Your) Hands Together, and then a sextet on (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship -- Wooley shows a range of influences that stretches from hot post-bop up through modern avant-creative trends. (With the use of bass clarinet and vibes in his ensembles, the ties to Eric Dolphy's iconic Out to Lunch are hard to avoid acknowledging.) He has interesting compositions, too, like "Cecilia" and "Make Your Friend Feel Loved."
He can play pretty -- as on a solo feature like "Shanda Lea 1" -- and then deconstruct the whole business (as on, funnily enough, "Shanda Lea 3"). And he also offers great accompaniment and soloing on albums by other artists on the Clean Feed label, such as Harris Eisenstadt (see the smoking ["Kategeeper"]) and Matt Bauder (check the lovely "Parks After Dark"). Whether playing his music, playing the tunes of others or free-improvising in bands like Transit, Wooley's trumpet work is a must-catch part of the contemporary scene. Listen to selections from all of these albums and more, over in the appended playlist. Enjoy!