Alton, IL – In a mesmerizing display of musical prowess, Dawn Weber, the esteemed St. Louis trumpet artist, graced the stage alongside Kasimu Taylor and Danny Campbell during the recent Alton Jazz & Wine Festival. For Weber, a classically-trained instrumental performer, singer, and original music composer, this performance marked a significant moment in her illustrious career.
Expressing her sentiments, Weber stated, “I am completely honored to be a part of this special performance. We all bring something different to the city as trumpet players, and we all have a great amount of respect for each other. It’s great to bring all of our own individuality and come together for this special set.”
Weber’s musical journey began at the age of 11 when she first picked up the trumpet. Over the years, she has garnered global acclaim for her exceptional trumpet performances, transcending genres from classical to jazz.
“Music makes me want to move,” Weber confessed. “When I play with the St. Louis Symphony, you don’t see me move because I’m playing classic orchestral music, and that’s my job. But when I’m on stage as the front personality, it is also my job to perform, and that entails a lot of high-energy jumping and performing. So there are definitely two sides to me.”
As a young musician, Weber initially considered playing the flute, but it didn’t resonate with her. However, when she held a trumpet in her hands, she felt an immediate connection.
“The instrument chooses the person,” she mused, drawing a parallel to the world of Harry Potter where the wand selects the wizard. “When they put a trumpet in my hands and I put it up to my face, the instrument just spoke. When that right instrument is put in your hands, you can’t put it down. It calls to you and it keeps calling to you. The trumpet is so difficult that there is this inner struggle that you have to go through just to play the instrument. But then you have these moments of power that you feel from it that are amazing and drive you to keep trying to conquer it.”
Weber’s musical influences stem from jazz legends like Alton’s Miles Davis and St. Louis’ Clark Terry. She is part of a growing cohort of women who have mastered an instrument traditionally dominated by men.
“Instruments don’t have race or gender, and it’s taken time to prove that,” she asserted. “It is about the individual and what they bring to the instrument. I think this next generation coming up are not even going to know that trumpets were once considered to be solely for men.”
Weber’s journey led her to St. Louis in 1998 after receiving classical training on the East Coast. Her involvement with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra marked the beginning of her musical odyssey in the region. She delved into the realm of jazz and vocal performance with Vargas Swing, a group that released the acclaimed album “Fire,” featuring all-original compositions by Weber.
Throughout her career, Weber has graced the stage with various groups, including Urban Jazz Naturals, The Dawn Weber Trio, Dawn and the Electro Funk Assembly, Treble Clef Palette, Naked Rock Fight, and the salsa/merengue band Son Montuno.
Although her musical ventures have taken her far and wide, Weber’s roots remain deeply embedded in St. Louis. She firmly believes that the Riverbend region possesses a unique and compelling musical identity that is cherished by both performers and audiences.
“People come to our area, and when they hear St. Louis musicians play, they realize we have a unique and special sound,” Weber emphasized. “Because we live in it, we don’t necessarily hear it ourselves, but we do have a special sound.”
For the youth inspired by Weber’s electrifying performances, she offers words of encouragement tempered with a dose of reality.
“You must practice, practice, practice,” she stressed. “It is a commitment; it is very hard work. It is a struggle. You hit walls, and you just have to work your tail off to try to be better, better, better.”
And when the curtains fall, and Weber unwinds, her eclectic playlist mirrors her diverse musical palette.
“Electronica, rap, classical, jazz, soul, funk,” Weber shared. “My playlist is all over the place because I like and perform different styles of music.”