Trumpeter Zachary Finnegan unveils his debut recording

"For me, these songs are a moment of growth, a moment of reflection, a turning point in my life for better or for learning. Each song a lesson, " reflects Finnegan on the creation of his debut album. This album delves into love, loss, deception, new beginnings and reveals intimate stories from Finnegan's life's journey. Finnegan, for his part, played trumpet and flugelhorn on this cinematic album amidst an all-star cast of five other instrumentalists, adding a string quartet to three of the nine compositions. Finnegan acknowledges diverse influences on this album; from intimate family experiences to the mentorship of Mathew Buchman in a small town in Wisconsin, to colleagues at the Brevard Jazz Institute and other supportive relationships shaping his unique path. Finnegan meticulously unveils the diverse experiences woven into this album's journey.

In October 2023, Finnegan completed his first 4-continent, 31-country, 140+ show World Tour with 5-time Grammy Winner, Michael Bublé. In Chicago, he performs alongside jazz luminaries like Thaddeus Tukes and Matt Ulery, frequenting top clubs such as the Green Mill and Constellation. When asked why he's creating his debut album now, Finnegan states, "The moment feels right. It's time to document this chapter of my life." After years as a sought-after sideman, he's poised to step into the bandleader role, showcasing his history, style, and musical voice. He says, "This project feels like a documentary of the last nine years. This is a celebration of life; all the joy, love, hardship, struggle and perseverance that go along with it... My goal is to make you feel something along with me. If the music moves you in any way, I've done what I've set out to do."

The title "Guidance and Gratitude" paints Finnegan's nine-year saga, each tune a brushstroke capturing profound experiences and timeless lessons along the way. From Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to Bloomington, Indiana, and ultimately to the vibrant streets of Chicago, Illinois, Finnegan's musical narrative unfolds like a masterpiece, rich in depth and heartfelt reflection.

The album opens with "Urban Motion, " capturing Finnegan's Chicago experience, zooming in on the neighborhood of Pilsen. From vibrant horn writing to energetic solos by drummer, Camila Mennitte Pereyra, Finnegan, and guitarist, Matt Gold, it immerses listeners in the city's energy. "Deceptive Rhetoric" follows, showcasing Lenard Simpson III's melodicism and Finnegan's fiery playing, leading into an exuberant drum solo. The tune navigates a manipulative mentorship journey, transitioning from excitement to disillusionment, depicted through sweeping gestures and strong ensemble cohesion.

At this juncture of the album, the band's unity, depth, and vitality resonate vividly, showcasing Finnegan's compositional prowess and the ensemble's command of the present. As title track "Guidance and Gratitude 321" approaches, a transformative mood ensues. Dedicated to mentor Mathew Buchman, the tune embarks on a cinematic voyage. Pianist Julius Tucker leads with a cascade-like rubato intro, while Finnegan weaves captivating melodies and countermelodies. The addition of strings imbues a dreamy ambiance, heightening emotional intensity. Tucker and Finnegan engage in enthralling improvisations, while the ensemble transitions seamlessly between whispers and roars, evoking a sensory journey akin to cinematic artistry. 321 pays homage to the sanctuary of Buchman's office, where Finnegan imbibed invaluable lessons, both musical and philosophical. Aptly named, the composition blossoms as a tribute to an educator who dedicated himself entirely to his students, profoundly impacting lives along the way.

"The Angel Tribute" and "The Movement" resonate deeply with Finnegan's childhood. The former pays homage to a lost family member, evoking emotion through strings and melodic and counter-melodic phrasing. Finnegan forgoes improvisation, emphasizing the melody's raw emotion. He dedicates this tune to, "all who have angels watching over them." Meanwhile, "The Movement" honors his father's influence as his first band teacher and worship leader, featuring a dual structure of groove oriented enthralling solos into a gospel-inspired build led by bassist Ethan Philion and Finnegan to an eventual overtaking from a driving drum rhythm and soaring guitar solo. These pieces captivate with their emotional depth and

narrative richness.

"Invitation, " "New Beginnings, " and "Vigorous Pursuit" transport us back to the jazz sextet realm, initiated by Philion's intense 6/8 bass line. "Invitation" swings with fervor, featuring electrifying solos by Finnegan and Gold, highlighting their synchronicity in the ensemble's spontaneous double-time feel during Gold's improvisation. Finnegan chose "Invitation" as a nod to mentor Matt Buchman, its significance as one of his earliest jazz tunes. "New Beginnings" offers a serene lullaby, with Tucker and Gold's luminous solos. Mennitte Pereyra's brushwork and the blend of Simpson's soprano sax and Finnegan's flugelhorn add to its allure. Inspired by Finnegan's relocation, it symbolizes a fresh start. Finnegan mentions, "This song is for those who left home, bet on themselves and took that leap of faith." "Vigorous Pursuit" captures the pursuit of dreams amid uncertainty, with Finnegan's harmon-muted trumpet and the ensemble's adaptability in a 5/4 tempo. It oscillates between galloping energy and reflective serenity, featuring dynamic solos by Finnegan and Simpson, culminating in Mennitte Pereyra's rapid drum solo.

"Perseverance, " the album's final crescendo, unfolds with an unyielding rhythm, weaving a tapestry of resilience. Philion's bass and Tucker's piano lay the foundation, while Finnegan and Simpson engage in a spirited horn duel, leading to a triumphant crescendo propelled by Mennitte Pereyra's unstoppable groove. Finnegan reflects, "It's about forging ahead, rising from adversity, and embracing growth. Each note echoes the journey of emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual evolution—a constant reminder to continue the path of self-discovery, love and growth."

In this album, Finnegan's experiences sculpt both the musician and the man, infusing humanity into every note. The music unfurls as a majestic symphony, blending swing, groove, orchestral flourishes, and diverse tempos, each instrument and solo a luminous gem. Yet, transcending mere composition, Finnegan crafts a sweeping artistic masterpiece, eloquently narrating a nine-year odyssey, guiding listeners through a profound and transformative journey.

About Zachary Finnegan

Zach, a rising star in the world of jazz trumpet, calls Chicago, IL home. His musical journey skyrocketed when he finished his first global tour alongside five-time Grammy Award winner Michael Bublé in 2023, entertaining audiences in arenas and stadiums worldwide. With an impressive discography of 13 albums with a debut album releasing in June of 2024, Zach's trumpet has lent its brilliance to esteemed ensembles like the Buddy Rich Big Band, Alan Gresik Swing Orchestra, and the Blueshift Big Band.

From the iconic Madison Square Garden to the vibrant streets of São Paulo's Allianz Parque, Zach's trumpet has echoed across diverse landscapes, captivating audiences with soulful melodies. Closer to home, he's a fixture at established jazz venues throughout the Midwest, including The Green Mill, Café Coda, The Chatterbox and Andy's Jazz Club playing alongside esteemed musicians such as Matt Ulery, Thaddeus Tukes, Meghan Stagl, Marlene Rosenberg, Camila Mennitte and many more.

Zach's musical prowess extends beyond solo performances; his ensembles have graced stages at renowned festivals such as the Riverfront Jazz Festival, where they opened for jazz legend Dave Liebman in 2017. Headlining events like the Bull Falls Jazz Festival and the Taste of Bloomington Festival further solidify his place in the jazz scene.

In addition to previously leading his own bands, including the "Crossroads Quintet" and "Omnos Quartet, " Zach collaborates as a sideman with the popular hip-hop/jazz-fusion outfit "Clint Breeze and the Groove." A graduate of UW-Stevens Point and Indiana University, Zach's musical journey continues to evolve, resonating with audiences worldwide.


Zachary Finnegan (Compositions, arrangements, trumpet, flugelhorn)

Lenard Simpson III (Alto saxophone, soprano saxophone)

Matt Gold (Guitar)

Julius Tucker (Piano)

Ethan Philion (Bass)

Camila Mennitte Pereyra (Drums)

Erica Carpenedo (Violin, tracks: 3, 4, 5)

Rachel Mossburg (Violin, tracks: 3, 4, 5)

Wilfred Farquharson (Viola, tracks:3, 4, 5)

Francisco Malespin (Cello, tracks: 3, 4, 5)

Greg Ward II (Producer)

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