Who is Alistair?

Alistair is a slide and valve trombone player, composer, and educator based in Berlin and Munich.

 He is known for his captivating sound, technical finesse, and ability to shine in a multitude of musical contexts. As a composer, Alistair possesses a personal and fearless voice, unafraid to meld the stylistic differences of his influences together into something wholly individual. His performance experience includes regular appearances with small improvising ensembles, classical orchestras, big bands, new music ensembles, swing dance combos, funk and soul bands, and in pop horn sections. He has performed with Phil Woods, Steve Wilson, John Hollenbeck, Peter Erskine, Bob Brookmeyer, Scott Robinson, Fabrizio Bosso, Paolo Fresu, Francesco Cafiso, and the WDR Big Band, amongst others.

Alistair was born on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Whilst still a wee lad he left for the US, but has since returned to the east side of the Atlantic and been based in Germany since 2013. After picking up the instrument at age 10 and being mentored throughout his school years by Tom Tait, Alistair studied trombone and jazz and contemporary music at the Eastman School of Music from 2009—2013 with professors Mark Kellogg, Dariusz Terefenko, Bill Dobbins, Harold Danko, Jeff Campbell, and Clay Jenkins. In addition to giving both jazz and classical recitals and performing regularly with the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and various other groups, he completed an independent study on Baroque improvisation with Dariusz Terefenko. After graduating summa cum laude from Eastman, he moved to Berlin. From 2014—2015, he studied composition with John Hollenbeck and trombone with Geoffroy de Masure at the Jazz Institut Berlin, earning a Masters degree and graduating with honours. From 2015-2017 he was a member of the Bundesjazzorchester (Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra) under the direction of Niels Klein, Jiggs Whigham, John Hollenbeck, Jörg-Achim Keller, and Ansgar Striepens.

Acclaim for Alistair's playing has come from critics, fellow musicians, and competition judges. His solo work has been described as “haunting and rapt” and has twice made him a finalist in international competitions — the Carl Fontana Competition in 2013 and the JJ Johnson Competition in 2016. In 2017, he was a finalist for the lead trombone position in the Danish Radio Big Band.

In 2013, he premiered his Robert Burns Suite, a reimagining of Scottish folk melodies written for a 15 piece ensemble. As part of his Masters degree in 2015, Alistair composed and premiered a suite for a 14 piece ensemble based on baroque dances. His primary compositional and orchestrational work as of late has been with the Stegreif Orchestra, of which he is a founding member. A collaboration with Wolf Kerscheck and Juri de Marco produced #freebrahms, a transformation of Brahms’ 3rd Symphony into a genre-confounding vehicle for the orchestra’s unique blend of ensemble interpretation and improvisation. The work saw its premiere in April 2018 in the Konzerthaus Berlin and has been lauded by critics.

Alistair’s multi-faceted musicianship makes him highly in demand across a broad range of genres. He is a current member of the Stegreif Orchestra, the Monika Roscher Big Band, the Gaststätte zum Heißen Hirten, Hund und Hybris, the Careless Cats, Mr. Zarko, and Badass Confit. He also performs regularly with the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra, the PODIUM Kammerorchester, Malte Schiller's Red Balloon, and L‘aupaire.

Beginning in the Autumn of 2018, Alistair will be on the faculty of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München's Jazz Institut as the jazz trombone teacher.

Amongst his other interests, Alistair is an avid runner and cyclist, a voracious reader, enjoys travelling, and has a keen interest in language.