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Danny Lubin-Laden: 'Ollie'

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A collage of five nearly identical pictures of varying sizes. A man standing against a plain grey backdrop holds a trombone in both hands as he looks into the camera.
 (Courtesy of Danny Lubin-Laden/Collage by Spencer Whitney of KQED)

The Sunday Music Drop is a weekly radio series hosted by the KQED weekend news team. In each segment, we feature a song from a local musician or band with an upcoming show and hear about what inspires their music.

Berkeley trombonist and composer Danny Lubin-Laden says he first picked up the trombone when he was last in line to pick an instrument in middle school and it was all that remained.

“It was kind of like, no one wants to play this thing. And so I got stuck with it,” Lubin-Laden said. “But over the years, you know, I went to high school at Berkeley High and they had a phenomenal jazz program and there weren’t a whole lot of trombone players, so I immediately was kind of accelerated into this phenomenal ensemble where I was traveling the world and I was like, wow, this is kind of cool that I took up the trombone … Maybe there are other opportunities just ’cause there aren’t as many people playing it.

Now, the musician aims to put the trombone in the spotlight while breaking new ground on the instrument’s possibilities.

“I feel like the trombone has typically been an instrument that’s not at the forefront, you know, and so I’m trying to kind of take my voice on the trombone and put it in a slightly different context where it has the possibility of being perceived differently,” Lubin-Laden said.

Although Lubin-Laden was trained in jazz, he said his current music is a blend of genres, and he aims to create works that reflect a combination of his inspirations and current emotions.

“Ollie,” the lead single on his latest album, was inspired Lubin-Laden’s deceased dog.

Lubin-Laden will be performing with the band The SticklerPhonics at Bird and Beckett in San Francisco on Feb. 16, 2023.


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