Trombone star Audrey Ochoa is a versatile, spirited musician who mixes jazz, Latin, fusion, and pop. Described by trombone master Hugh Fraser as “highly original and powerfully lyrical,” she has played with Lew Tabackin, Dan Aykroyd, and The Temptations. We chatted with her recently to find out what she’s been up to.
Happy Jazz Appreciation month, Audrey. What are you doing to celebrate?
Happy Jazz Appreciation Month! Luckily, in Edmonton, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate jazz, from the Yardbird Suite shows to the Jazz.Standards jam at The Common. It’s also recital season at MacEwan University, highlighting a ton of great young jazz talent.
Who were your first music teachers, and at what point did you decide to pursue music as a career?
My mother and father were definitely my first teachers, as they were both musicians and exposed me to some of the jazz community by attending jazz shows at the summer festivals, The Yardbird Suite, churches, dinner dances—anything. I started playing professionally when I was still in high school, and while I went on to study Education in university, playing trombone wherever I could was always a priority. So it wasn’t a conscious, adult, career decision. It was more like a “playing makes me feel good, so I’m going to make sure I’m able to do it as often as possible” decision.
What project(s) are you working on now?
My fourth album is going to be released in September, and I’ll be doing a CD release at the Citadel, in the Rice Theatre. I’m really proud of this project, and I think it’s some of my very best work. It includes the musical contributions of Rachel Therrien, Jeremiah McDade, Chris Andrew, Jim Head, Sandro Dominelli, Rubim de Toledo, Luis Tovar, Ken Read, Jen Bustin, Ian Woodman, and the wonderful Mike Lent. I even sing on this album. I cannot wait to release it.
April is also Spring Fundraiser month here at CKUA. Can you tell us a bit about your connections to CKUA?
My mom always had CKUA on, in the house and in the car. The exposure to different genres, local music, Alberta-centric music, and world music had an enormous effect on me. Hearing people like Ann Vriend, Bob Stroup, or !Bomba! on the radio, and then finding out they’re from Edmonton gave me an enormous sense of pride, and legitimised music as something that I could actually aspire to do myself. I can’t overstate how local radio continues to inspire me, and how CKUA, specifically, has helped me develop professionally and artistically.
Can you choose a song to send out to our listeners?
I remember listening to CKUA and having to stop and sit down when I heard “Hyperballad” performed by Marcin Wasilewski, Michal Miskiewicz and Slawomir Kurkiewicz (Trio). This recording made me realize that jazz is anything—that I could take a Björk standard and play it on trombone if I really wanted to. Where else could I have been exposed to this, other than CKUA?
Thanks, Audrey! CKUA invites all fans of all kinds of music to donate during the month of April. Your donation cultivates musical variety, and it supports the careers of local and emerging artists.