I love using pedals to increase the number of contexts in which I feel an acoustic instrument (like the trumpet) is relevant. In live contexts, reverb and delay are by far the FX I use the most frequently. I always hate feeling “out-matched” or overworked by situations where a super-dry trumpet sound leaves sections empty if notes aren’t being played constantly. FX can help give weight to each individual note that I play, which makes me happier with my playing as well as more satisfied with the impact I’m making on the music being created.
I also play a LOT of EWI (electronic wind instrument) in both projects of mine and as a sideman. Having the option of using a synth or trumpet (with or without FX) is amazing in that I get to be very selective as to what kind of instrument, sound, or “effect” is most appropriate for the situation at hand. No matter how effected your trumpet sound is, it’ll never hit in the same way as a lead synth. And vice versa, as bands in the 80’s learned!
“I love connecting with people,” says young trumpeter, composer and bandleader, Josh Shpak. “Whether they be teenagers or your grandma, if I can see that they’re feeling the music, I’m happy.” This breaking of generational gaps has become somewhat of a habit for the 23-year-old Berklee College of Music grad. With such a wide stylistic palette evident of influences from classic jazz to electronica, Shpak has made himself a wanted commodity in the music world. This cross-generational quality has launched a career playing with jazz heavy-weights, such as George Garzone and Kenny Werner, soul legends Tower of Power, 90’s hip-hop/blues beasts G. Love and Special Sauce, and pop/opera superstar, Josh Groban.
A protégé of the late-great jazz icon Clark Terry, Josh Shpak is dually driven by an immense respect for the past, and a desire to put his own mark on the future. “Every great musician in history has been completely present in his or her own time period, while using their knowledge of the tradition to drive their creative forces.”
Josh is a member of Boston-based funk/dance-pop band, Ripe, the Mario Castro Quintet and numerous other projects. He also performs with his own group, the Josh Shpak Band, a cutting-edge modern jazz outfit that incorporates the sounds of rock, electronic, and film music with jazz. The band’s debut EP, “ASTATIC”, released in the summer of 2015, features artwork by Leigh J. McCloskey, whose inspired inventiveness has graced the cover of Flying Lotus’ “Cosmogramma” CD and the Rolling Stones’ “Bigger Bang Tour”.
Hall of Fame (Reverb)
Spark (Clean Boost)
Viscous Vibe (Vibe)
Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork (Harmonizer) w/expression pedal
Cry Baby 535Q (Wah)
Ernie Ball Jr. Volume Pedal
Check out Josh's EP Astatic here: https://play.spotify.com/album/78NdiwJ0cSFjeebQ8kWyOn
A clip from Josh's tour in France. Go to the 37:30 mark to hear him use the Crybaby 535Q wah, a Rocktron Reaction Chorus pedal, TC Electronic Flashback delay, and Spark TC Electronics boost.
Pedals used in the video above:
TC Electronic Hall of Fame
TC Electronic Flashback
Crybaby 535Q Wah
Ernie Ball Junior Volume Pedal