Natalie Cressman is a trombonist, vocalist, and composer who makes music with a maturity and range of musical influences beyond her years. As a student at San Francisco High School of the Arts, she played salsa with Edgardo Cambon e Orquesta Candela, Latin jazz with Pete Escovedo’s Latin Jazz Orchestra, world music with Jai Uttal and the Pagan Love Orchestra, Brazilian with Sandy Cressman’s Homenagem Brasileira, and avant-garde jazz with Peter Apfelbaum and the New York Hieroglyphics. While studying at the Manhattan School of Music, she formed her own band, Secret Garden, and her debut album, last year’s Unfolding, has earned rave reviews. The San Jose Mercury News calls it “startlingly beautiful,” Jazz Weekly calls it “impressive on a plethora of fronts,” the website Critical Jazz describes it as an “incredibly impressive debut release from an amazing young artist whose musical stock should now be an arrow pointing straight up,” and Indie Music Reviewer Magazine says, “Natalie Cressman is, to put it simply, an extraordinarily talented young woman.” From Carnegie Hall to the House of Blues, from Birdland to Lincoln Center, Natalie has been making music that breaks boundaries alongside such luminaries as Carlos Santana, Joe Lovano, Sheila E., Wayne Wallace, and Trey Anastasio, and now she’s the one leading the band.
She’ll be performing at the Freight with Secret Garden, featuring Caili O’Doherty on piano, Chris Jeffries on bass, Michael Mitchell on drums, and Natalie herself on trombone and vocals. Her music takes the Cuban, Brazilian, and West African traditions she grew up listening to and weaves them together with nuanced elements of jazz, folk, and indie rock. The result is utterly contemporary, steeped in several traditions, elegant and urgent, carefully crafted and wildly improvisational.