Remembering Trumpet Jazzman Jeff Pietrangelo


On Dec 27, 2012, the jazz world lost a beloved pillar of the community.

Trumpet Jazz artist Jeff Pietrangelo, who founded the acclaimed Matrix Jazz Group, had a heart attack in his Wisconsin home not long after completing a brand new album with The Peter Blair Combo.

Pietrangelo was an active musician his entire life; from when he picked up his dad’s Navy bugle at age 8, to his first gig playing taps, to being a major label artist, to his last recorded works (which came out just weeks after his death).

From 1974-1979, The Matrix Jazz Group released four studio albums.  One was on RCA, two on Warner Brothers, and the last one was on the revered Jazz label, Pablo Records.  In 2002, they made a reunion disc.

During their heyday, the group toured non-stop, performing not only at all the major Jazz clubs and festivals (including Telluride, Monterey, New York and Newport); but also with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra more than once.

His sister told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “My father wanted him to be a symphony musician because he thought it was more stable. He wasn’t interested in that. He just fell in love with jazz.”

Over the span of his career, Pietrangelo also shared the stage with numerous pop icons, including The Temptations, The Four Top, Aretha Franklin, and Henry Mancini.Peter Blair Combo - Abstract in Blue

For the past 10 years, he was a staff musician at the Fireside Theater in Fort Atkinson and continued to play in Jazz clubs across the region.

His final work appears on Blair’s Abstract In Blue, which is somewhat of a nod to Miles Davis’ classic Kind Of Blue.  It features soloist Pietrangelo throughout the album and was released by Fervor Records on January 22, 2013.

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