Q&A: Ernest Stuart, trombonist

The South Philly musician on his acclaimed new album, the state of jazz, and his iPhone jones

Why trombone?: My mom couldn’t afford a sax, and the band teacher had a tuba and trombone sitting around. And I wasn’t playing tuba.

Most memorable gig: With the Roots last July 4th on the Parkway.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: By 16, I made the decision that, live or die, I would be a musician.

Non-jazz musician you find most inspiring: Jimi Hendrix. It was just the blues, but man …

Number of days it took to record your new album: One.

How that’s even possible: You find the baddest musicians in Philly.

What you’re doing when not playing music: Taking photos with my iPhone. I do everything on my iPhone. And I’m realizing how photography is so congruous with my music. It’s real. It’s unedited. It’s a snapshot.

Where can we see your pics?: I have a gallery show at Chris’ Jazz Café opening June 3rd.

Is jazz dying?: When people talk about the death of jazz, they’re talking about the death of the connection the music has with people. The music will always be there.

Can the connection be saved?: Traditional jazz goes in a straight line, while society goes on a tangent. People like me are straying closer to the tangent.

Whether you can make a living playing trombone: Unless I’m dreaming right now, yes.

See Stuart play selections from his critically acclaimed debut album, Solitary Walker, on June 10th at Chris’ Jazz Café.

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