Tim Hagans, The Moon is Waiting

Posted February 20th, 2012 at 8:33 pm (UTC+0)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Hard bop trumpeter and composer Tim Hagans is one of the most influential voices in modern jazz today. His latest album The Moon Is Waiting is a set of original recordings reflecting his creative ability to manipulate his trumpet and make tightly-structured music, allowing for the “wildest playing possible”.

“I’m not comfortable making comfortable music,” said Hagans about releasing The Moon Is Waiting last October. “This is the ideal band for me to create a kind of spontaneous combustion of raw energy that is nonetheless melodically unified. This might sound like a contradiction, but all my music is tightly structured to allow for the wildest playing possible.”

Tim Hagans was born in August 1954. He grew up in Dayton, Ohio playing in school bands. His early inspirations included Miles Davis, Brown Clifford, Herb Alpert, Sly Stone, and Blood, Sweat and Tears. In 1974, he majored in music education at Bowling Green State University, but dropped out of school to join Stan Kenton’s band. He later moved to Europe, where he lived in Malmö, Sweden, the so-called hotbed of the European jazz scene.

When he returned to the United States, Hagans taught music at the University of Cincinnati and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In April, he will travel to Sweden for a recording Project.

Last year, Hagans’ song, Box of Cannoli, was nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Instrumental Composition category. The song is from his album The Avatar Sessions – The Music Of Tim Hagans, the final project which encapsulates his 15 years with the Nörrbötten Big Band before resigning as Artistic Director in 2011.

Tim Hagans' Animation Imagination

Tim Hagans' Animation Imagination

Hagans’ first Grammy-nominated album, Animation Imagination, was a smash in 1999. You will feel the heavy influence trumpet great Miles Davis had on him when you listen to this album. I introduced the title cut, “Animation Imagination, on my Jazz Club USA show for the Middle East 13 years ago. Also on the show is tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander who released an album the same year, and a reimagined “Delilah” by Ellis and Branford Marsalis.  Their music follows Arabic narration.


Tim Hagans is well known on the modern jazz scene as a great improviser who maintains integrity of original character and tone.  But he is highly inspired by the music of Miles Davis.

“The first Miles Davis recording that I heard is still one of my favorite jazz records…In Person Friday and Saturday Nights live at the Blackhawk,” explains Hagans in his online biography. “The band was swinging and popping and the recording has a real dark sound that makes the music especially intriguing. Then I heard Bitches Brew and life changed once again. Although I love everything that Miles played, the records from In A Silent Way to Agharta are my favorites. Those records reflect the social and political energies of that time. It wasn’t just music, it was an abstract description of extreme force and energy.”

While in Europe, Hagans performed and recorded with many jazz icons, including jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader and Oscar-nominated actor Dexter Gordon. This year, Hagans will be awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where he was an International master class visitor.

Tim Hagans

  • Born on August 19, 1954 in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Studied music at Bowling Green State University.
  • Quit school and joined Stan Kenton’s band the band (1974-1977).
  • Joined Woody Herman Orchestra in 1977 only for four weeks.
  • Taught at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (1982-84).
  • Taught at the Berklee College of Music (1984-87).
  • Artistic director of the Nörrbötten Big Band (1996-2011).


Tim’s Albums

  • From the Neck Down (1983)
  • No Words (1993)
  • Audible Architecture (1994)
  • Hub Songs, the Music of Freddie Hubbard (1997)
  • Animation – Imagination (1999)
  • Re-Animation: Live in Montreal (1999)
  • Beautiful Lily (2006)
  • Alone Together (2008)
  • The Avatar Sessions (2010)
  • The Moon is Waiting (2011)


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Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

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