The Soul of Tony Glausi

Written by: Allison Del Fium

The Soul of Tony Glausi Photo

I want the people who are listening to my music to enjoy being alive, to feel a sense of purpose in life.”

As I sit in the dimly lit “Jazz Station” found in downtown Eugene, I am surrounded and moved by the powerful sounds made by the night’s musical act. It is the trumpet player Tony Glausi that especially commands everyone’s attention. Maybe it is his put together look or his remarkable stage presence that pulls you in, but for most of my fellow audience members, it is his extraordinary musicianship that is so captivating. After the song finishes and the band takes a moment to breathe, the audience instantly goes wild. I can’t help but notice the look on Tony’s face as the crowd cheers. A wide, bright smile appears and he begins to laugh. In this moment, Tony is at one with his music and his audience.

Tony Glausi is a student at the University of Oregon but more importantly, he is a musical phenomenon. At the age of twenty-one, Tony has accomplished goals that some only dream of. He recently released his debut album entitled Identity Crisis and has worked and performed with respected jazz artists Dave Douglas, George Colligan, and many more. Tony is a student, but he lives a life far beyond most of his peers. His maturity, determination, and talent have set him apart within the Eugene music scene and beyond. His enthusiasm for music and life is contagious and he is someone that everyone has their eyes on.

Before the Jazz Station concert, I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with Tony. We discussed his debut album, his musical influences, but most importantly his journey, with music and life. As we sat in a quiet corner within the depths of the University of Oregon’s music school, Tony seemed calm. He spoke with clarity and a sense of confidence about himself and began to tell me of his journey.

Tony’s connection with music started as soon as he could reach the piano bench and touch the keys. As a toddler, he began exploring the piano and sounding out melodies solely from ear. By the time he was four, he could play a hundred different song melodies – all from memory. Tony’s mother, a piano player herself, began formally teaching him at the age of six and he continues to play to this day. But it wasn’t until he was introduced to the trumpet at age ten that music really determined Tony’s destiny. As Tony expressed, “I fell in love with the sound and the look of the instrument. As soon as I started playing, I was in love with the feeling of it and all the colors I could get.”

As Tony grew up, his music not only continued to stay in his life, it blossomed. He began creating and composing music in elementary school and continued to mature as a musician throughout grade school. By the time he was a senior in high school he was playing paid gigs around the Portland area. The culture and the life of a musician became Tony’s world, one he fell deeply in love with. As Tony made clear, “I knew all the difficulties…it’s hard to make money, you’re busy on evenings and weekends, and schedules can be difficult. But that’s really what I liked about it.” As Tony began to pursue music as a career he continued his journey here at the University of Oregon.

Over the past four years the university has offered him many opportunities. Tony has spent his time learning, improving, and building upon his composition and performance skills. The university has opened up additional opportunities and he plays in numerous musical groups both on and off campus. He writes and performs with his own Jazz Quintet and 9-Piece funk band, Top Hat, the Eugene Composer’s Big Band, the Oregon Jazz Ensemble, and many more. Eugene has played a significant role in Tony’s personal life as well. During his freshman year Tony met the love of his life, Courtney, who is also an accomplished musician. They are now happily married and share the same passion for music. Being at the university has brought an enormous amount of inspiration to Tony and that is reflected in the creativity of his musical compositions. These compositions would eventually be gathered together to create Tony’s debut album Identity Crisis. This album not only sets Tony apart musically from his peers but it has also allowed him to reveal the honest story of his journey, musically and personally.

As Tony began to discuss his writing, he brings to the surface his most important ambition. Tony’s purpose of writing and playing music isn’t just to realize his desires, but also to inspire and give back to his listeners. He wants people to live a life full of excitement: excitement to be breathing, to have a mind, to have a soul, and to enjoy music. When describing his music Tony says, “I want the people who are listening to my music to enjoy being alive, to feel a sense of purpose in life.” As we discussed the reactions to his debut album and the album making process, he makes it clear that to him, making music is not just about the money or fame. It isn’t about creating an “okay” song and then promoting yourself so the entire world will hear your tune. To Tony, it is about something deeper and as he says, “it’s about really making music, for music. I want music to be a gift for the listeners.” For Tony, having his music make a connection is the ultimate reward.

As we talked more, it became clear he is a hundred percent fresh and honest. The tracks of Identity Crisis express his feelings about life, relationships, musical influences, his faith, and everything in between. He holds nothing back both artistically and personally throughout the entire album. Tracks such as “Something to be Remembered For” and “Reconciliation” stand out as being two identifying songs within Tony’s personal life. Everything Tony has tried to accomplish with music and to his audience is shown through Identity Crisis. And above all, the way he views his music and wants people to experience it is a rarity that many have caught attention to through this powerful album.

Tony Glausi is a musician who is helping to reshape the artistry of music. At a time when Jazz might be a dissolving interest for the millennial generation, Tony brings back an excitement for music, for sound, and for loving life that appealed to jazz aficionados generations ago. So as I sit in the back of the dimly lit room and listen to Tony play, this is what comes to mind: I think of my conversations with him, the way he so clearly and powerfully conveys his goals as a musician and as a person. I no longer just hear and enjoy the talent Tony possesses. Instead, I see the person behind the trumpet, a young man who is slowly but surely, song by song, changing the world with his music. I see the soul of Tony Glausi.



Jesse Wright: An Unsung Hero

Written by: Allison Del Fium Jesse Wright Article (Photo)

It is a bright Wednesday morning in mid-December. The man dressed in all black emerges from his car. With two briefcases containing last night’s work slung over his shoulder, he walks into a typical office building. He passes through multiple doors and by the coffee scented office kitchen and makes his way to his desk. He proceeds to settle himself into a deep, worn out leather chair and begin the workday.

At first, this might seem like a typical ritual for many office workers. This man, however, lives a professional life much different from most. The man in black is Jesse Wright and he is an audio engineer.

Jesse’s workspace is not confined by a small office or cubicle. It does not feature a standard desktop computer, an “in basket”, or a fluorescent desk lamp. In lieu of a jacket and tie, Jesse sports a hat, a faded band t-shirt, ripped jeans, and black converse sneakers. His work tools include a 24-channel soundboard, two wide screened desktop computers and a set of stereo speakers. Surrounding his desk lay keyboards, amps, drums, microphones, and numerous cables running from one end of the room to the other. And not to be forgotten, the requisite iPhone close at hand.

Millions of people listen to professionally recorded music in a wide array of places and ways. Some prefer the radio or an iPod. Where others fancy music through online streaming services or other platforms. Yet, many music listeners might not think past the basic elements of an artist’s song. Most consumers base their music attraction on the way that music makes them feel. What is less understood to many listeners, however, is the way these pieces of art are put together. The emotional and musical elements of a song do not solely come from the lyrical and musical content of the piece. A large influence over the outcome of a song is the way in which it is engineered. This is where professionals like Jesse come in.

Jesse Wright got his start in the audio engineering field at the age of eighteen. His father, Frank Wright, was and still is a highly respected musician and engineer working with greats such as Sonny & Cher and Chicago. Due to Frank’s knowledge and continuous involvement within the industry, the family eventually opened up a recording studio that Jesse helped construct. Yet, at the time, Jesse was not interested or involved with the engineering side of the operations. But once an engineering spot opened up at the family studio, Jesse was given a crash course and as he say’s “thrown to the wolves” in the steps to becoming an engineer. To his surprise, Jesse immediately fell in love with the career and after years of learning and gaining experience, Jesse has a resume that many engineers dream of. He has worked with big name artists including Warren G of the Regulators, Adrian Young and Steven Bradley of No Doubt, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees, Sleepy Brown of Outcast, Fieldy of Korn and Cirious of Steel Pulse. His work has been featured on television shows including NBC’S Fashion Star and his work on Jeff Timmons album “Free” had over one million downloads by 2008.

Though, these opportunities did not simply fall in Jesse’s lap. It has taken him fourteen years of experience to get to his level of professionalism and he continues to learn and improve. Spending time with Jesse and seeing what his career entails, it becomes clear that engineering is much more than simply clicking a record button or checking microphone levels.

To engineer at the professional level, Jesse has mastered the use of music editing software such as Pro Tools by AVID. He also works with tools that can dramatically change the resonance of a singer’s voice or musical instrument with compression and E.Q. He works with numerous forms of editing to bring the highest quality music into the hands of music consumers. And although many will never know all the technical elements of an audio engineer’s profession, it is becoming crucial for music buyers to realize the work that engineers such as Jesse put into the industry. The knowledge of an audio engineer is what gives a song the ability to start as a raw musical piece and transform into a platinum-selling song.

For starters, Jesse’s job takes a considerable amount of hard work, wisdom, and patience. His profession is full of unpredictability and at times large amounts of pressure. Work hours are unpredictable and often include nights and weekends. A unique type of personality is needed to balance the responsibilities of the music, keep the equipment in check, and most importantly keep clients and consumers happy. The audio engineering profession is a constant balance of having confidence, staying grounded, and being meticulous.

As Jesse and so many other engineers have explained, the impact an audio engineer has, in regards to the music industry, is one many do not realize. The engineer has the ability to impact the destiny of a song. These professionals dedicate their entire career to making sure the quality of a recording is one that all consumers will find not only entertaining but also professional. A simple way to understand the impact of Jesse’s profession is to imagine a song that is constantly played. Then, imagine if mistakes had not been edited out of that particular song. Maybe the engineer decided to leave in a few voice cracks or the sound of a late cymbal hit made by the drummer. Would people still enjoy the song? Would YOU still enjoy the song?

The demand and expectations of music consumers has continuously risen throughout the last few decades. Our ears have become accustomed to hearing highly produced music and as a result, Jesse and other engineers have had to continuously evolve their skills and expectations when working with artists. It takes an awareness and dedication to make sure they are staying up with industry standards and the standards of the music makers and buyers.

Most people, whether they think about it often or not, understand that music is recorded in a studio. Fewer people, however, are aware of the professionals and technology involved to create recorded sounds. As music consumption and expectations continue to grow, it is crucial for music listeners to start seeing past the artist. To realize how impactful the behind the scenes professionals truly are. Jesse and many others are the “middle-men” between artists and their fans. They are able to create a recording so that listeners can play their favorite songs over and over. They allow music fans to consume music everyday without always attending a live concert. Audio engineers make music consumption more accessible and in many ways more enjoyable for fans.

It is because of engineers like Jesse Wright that the music we all enjoy today can be created. Recording music is not simply to make a profit but it is so music lovers all around the globe can listen to songs for years to come. It is because of their attention to detail and determination that Jesse and all audio engineers are the “unsung hero’s” of the music industry.