Photo from Dawn Weber's Facebook page
Years ago, an old and unassuming trumpet claimed the life of a petite, jazz performance graduate student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
From the moment she put her lips on the horn, it was a rhapsody of sorts. And decades later, Weber’s love for the instrument has increased and taken her further into the world of music.
On Jan. 30 and 31, Weber will headline her own production of “Dawn Weber and Friends” at one of St. Louis’s premier jazz hot spots — Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave.
Performing with Weber will also be alums Jerry Mazucca on the drums, Nathan Jatcko on the keys and Phil Ring on the guitar; SIUE music professor Jason Swagler on the saxophone; and graduate student Bob Deboo on bass.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students with valid identification. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.jazzstl.org.
“This is my first production show at the Jazz at the Bistro,” Weber said. “People should expect a wonderful time because of the depth of talent that will be performing with me.”
And of course, there is the fuchsia-haired musician herself. She is touted as a world-class trumpeter, prolific songwriter and captivating vocalist who leaves audiences mesmerized. Weber’s music repertoire includes jazz, rock, R&B, swing, salsa, hip-hop, electronica, funk and classical.
Weber plays with the St. Louis Symphony as an extra and as a substitute. She has also played with such popular St. Louis bands as Vargas Swing, Urban Jazz Naturals and Mo and Dawn (The Remix Project). Weber has a bachelor’s in classical trumpet performance from Cleveland Institute of Music. She is working on a master’s in Jazz Performance at SIUE and is expected to graduate in fall 2016.
“Dawn is an amazingly versatile musician,” said Garrett Schmidt, SIUE music professor and director of the SIUE Jazz Band. “She is an accomplished trumpeter, a great teacher and singer.”
Weber has recorded five CDs and expects to debut a new album sometime in September 2016.
“She is one of the most determined and hard-working people I know and has so much positive energy to share with other people,” Schmidt said.
Weber started playing the trumpet at the age of 12.
“I wanted to play the flute, but we had a trumpet at home. My older brother played it,” she said. “I picked it up, and I couldn’t put it down. I became obsessed with getting better and better. It’s like the instrument picks you.”
The trumpet player is also a longtime private music instructor. When she came to St. Louis 15 years ago, Weber began teaching the trumpet to students, grades six through adult.
“Some of my students have ended up as the top trumpet students in the district and the state,” Weber said.
Because of her success, McKendree College contacted her to teach on its staff. Weber has taught classical trumpet and jazz band at McKendree for the past three years.
“I am and always will be a musician,” Weber said on her website, www.dawnweber.com. “Music is what I do and my wish is that you walk away from all my performances with a sense of musical satisfaction.”