Whether playing an original or exploring a jazz classic, trombonist and singer/songwriter Natalie Cressman fully embraces the imperative to render music in her own image. If you listen closely to Unfolding, her debut album with her band Secret Garden, she provides all the clues necessary to uncover the treasure trove of influences and inspirations behind her music: Cuban, Brazilian and West African music, indie rock, funk and the post-bop continuum.
When an injury kept this former ballet devotee off the barre for three months during her junior year of high school, she turned her focus to music. Close family friend Peter Apfelbaum eventually stepped in as a mentor and invited her to join the New York Hieroglyphics at the 2008 Monterey Jazz Festival. She later went on to work with Carlos Santana, Joe Lovano, Sheila E., Miguel Zenon, Ambrose Akinmusire and Eric Harland. She’s gained her widest exposure after touring for two years with Phish’s Trey Anastasio.
Cressman hails from an illustrious musical family and was practically weaned on jazz and Brazilian music. Her mother is esteemed American-born Brazilian jazz vocalist Sandy Cressman, while her father is recording engineer and trombonist Jeff Cressman, a longtime member of Santana. As an educator, Cressman has taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Nueva School. She is currently attending Manhattan School of Music and is at work on her sophomore release, Turn the Sea.