The Rapidian

ArtPrize 2013: Brad Fritcher + Trois, Modern Pioneers

With their win in the jazz category at St Cecelia Music Center, Brad Fritcher + Trois allow themselves little time to celebrate.

Within the national semblance that ArtPrize has become, there is one medium in which artists must indefatigably labor to gain recognition: music. Brad Fritcher is the lead-man for experimental jazz band, Brad Fritcher + Trois, as well as the proprietor of an insatiable desire to reach the unknown. "New Jazz Standards" is the soul axiom for this young group of talented musicians: Brad Fritcher the trumpeter, Dutcher Snedeker on keyboard, Wyatt Wallace on bass, and Christian Vanduinen on drums. With a few non-amicable confrontations with the "Jazz Police" — self-established Brahmans of definitive jazz — the band's goal is to break form with the traditional standards of Jazz music. They're out to discover new potentialities within music itself. 

Originating from Flint, Michigan, Fritcher spent the majority of his childhood on a farm; a 200 acre country-canvas to gallivant with a wild and restless imagination. "It's where my work ethic comes from," he grins. Notwithstanding Disney's legendary Aristocats, one of his first musical influences was a record of his grandfather's, which he admits, he was originally attracted to because of the model posing lasciviously on the cover. That record sparked a profound, lifelong infatuation with music. Fritcher never saw himself primarily as a jazz musician until he discovered influences like Duke Ellington, John Coaltrain, and Miles Davis, and found himself craving the genre. 

After meeting Grand Valley student, Dutcher Snedeker, Fritcher became acquainted with Christian Vanduinen, a vigorous percussionist and music student at Grand Rapids Community College. Bassist Wyatt Wallace, also a Grand Valley student, was introduced to the group, as well as their current manager, Bear Yovino. "Bear is an animal," Brad explains. "He doesn't stop." Fritcher originally hired Yovino to create a personality profile for the band, and ever since, he and his company, Brother Bear Productions, has been a tireless catalyst for the band and their aspirations. 

Though the group may already be thriving in fruitful compatibility, they are still in their youth; their first rehearsals happened in January of 2013. With the leadership of Brad Fritcher and manager Bear Yovino, Brad Fritcher + Trois soon began booking gigs and finding new sounds, as well as publishing their first album, Blue Lake Studio Sessions, a compilation of both original and interpretational pieces. 

With their ArtPrize 2013 showcase at Saint Cecelia Music Center, Brad Fritcher + Trois placed first in the Jazz category, winning $2,000 in prize money, and $1,000 in studio recording time. Despite the success, Fritcher believes they are still far from accomplishing their final envisioned fruition. "I could talk about how I want to sound, but to say I am even close..." 

Though he knows his goal is a thought without end, he feels anything but solace. An erstwhile professor of his once shared an idea with him that if you are not satisfied, then you are progressing, and if there is any way to articulate the dharma of Brad Fritcher + Trois, it is progressive. And their progress lies not in the encapsulated foundations of standards and accomplishments already achieved, it lies at the next stepping-stones of melodic emanations in Jazz music. 

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