Trumpeter-Educator Laurie Frink Dies at 61
Laurie Frink, a Manhattan-based trumpeter and brass teacher, died of cancer on July 13. She was 61.
Known for her accurate lead trumpet work in large ensemble settings, Frink played with historic groups such as the Benny Goodman Orchestra, the Mel Lewis Orchestra and Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band. In more recent times, she played with Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, John Hollenbeck, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Wheeler, Andrew Hill, Dave Liebman and Ryan Truesdell. Her diverse performance career also included Broadway shows, radio and television jingles and movie soundtracks.
Frink was a highly effective brass teacher at the private level and for prominent educational institutions. An authority on the renown brass instructor Carmine Caruso’s method, she was on the faculties of New England Conservatory (NEC), New York University, the Manhattan School of Music and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Frink specialized in helping to solve embouchure problems and other technical troubles that professional brass players experience. The long list of trumpeters who studied with her includes Dave Douglas, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jon Crowley and Nadje Noordhuis.
“One of the leading brass pedagogues of our time, Laurie Frink will be sorely missed, as a teacher, as a player and as a friend,” said Ken Schaphorst, chair of NEC’s Jazz Studies Department. “I noticed immediate improvement in the playing of every NEC student who worked with her. She was also one of the most accurate and musical lead trumpet players I’ve ever heard.”
On July 14, Noordhuis posted an essay about Frink on her blog. Here is an excerpt: “I haven't picked up the trumpet since hearing the news, and I know that moment is going to be really tough. But after I do, I will play every note as beautifully as I can, channel the grief into my ballads, help my students to better express themselves, and in true Laurie fashion, continue to do exactly as I please.”
Frink and fellow NEC faculty member John McNeil, also a trumpeter, coauthored the book Flexus: Trumpet Calisthenics for the Modern Improviser (Gazong Press).