photo: Annemarie Mountz


NBJP: Who’s your favorite non-jazz composer?

BT: I’m a huge fan of classical music, and I have a strong background in classical piano.  However, it’s extremely difficult for me to select a single composer.  I love Russian composers: Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky, etc.  I’m also very influenced by French Impressionistic composers like Ravel and Debussy. Currently I’ve been exploring a lot of Aaron Copland’s work: he composed a lot of really delightful piano music that often goes overlooked.

NBJP: How old were you when you first played in front of an audience (beyond your family)?

BT: I was probably nine or ten the first time I performed in front of an audience.  I remember it was a talent show for my elementary school: I played an arrangement of Fur Elise!

NBJP: What’s the last movie you saw–and REALLY loved?

BT: That’s a tough one–I recently checked out Seeking a Friend for the End of the World in the theater a few days ago and was quite enamored with it…

NBJP: What’s your favorite (G-rated) guilty pleasure?

BT: Hmm… that’s a tough one, too.  I’m a huge book fan.  I spend hours and hours reading all sorts of stuff: biographies, philosophy, history, etc.

NBJP:  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

BT: I don’t know if it counts as change, but I guess I have a never-ending thirst for knowledge.  I always want to learn more about the world around me, and use that new information to continue to refine who I am as a person and an artist.  In the end, I really want to learn better ways to use the tools I’ve been given to make a positive impact on the world around me.

NBJP: If you were about to have your last meal, what would it be?

BT: Buffalo Wings!  I’m an extreme spicy food fan!

NBJP:  If you could only own ONE CD, what would it be?

BT:  I never know how to answer this question, as I always know my answer would change depending on when you ask me and what mood I’m in!  I always find myself returning to the Bill Evans album Alone.  The recording really got me hooked on jazz.

PLUS ONE: When did you know you wanted to be a professional jazz musician?

BT:  I think I always knew I wanted to do something with jazz, especially performing.  However, I remember seeing the Count Basie Orchestra when I was probably 15 or 16, and being really blown away with how much fun everyone in the band was having. The thought of playing music that I enjoyed and having that much fun for a living really turned into the end goal after that concert. 


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