New Kid in Town
by Mark Edelman
Trumpeter - Daniel Dissmore
At a coffee shop down the street from UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, Daniel Dissmore rushes in for this JAM interview. The place is so close to the university, that his friends and fellow musicians Forrest Fowler and Ryan Smith sit nearby. They are Conservatory of Music Master’s students, and Daniel is excited throughout the JAM conversation. Perhaps it is because of his inclusion in this important publication for the community and even more so because he is just a few hours away from boarding a plane to the enchanted island of Cuba.
The Kansas City jazz scene is indicative of who Daniel is as a person; music, culture, and history are important to him, as is community. He is profoundly grateful to be a part of a community with strengths and potential like Kansas City. This community, which Daniel moved to two and half years ago, finally feels like home.
Being on the move has always been a big part of Daniel’s life. His father was in the military, which contributed to six distinctly different moves in Daniel’s relatively short lifetime. The family lived in locations all across the country. It may well have been the buglers and marching bands on the various military bases, that influenced Daniel’s choice, at the age of 9, to pick up the trumpet.
However, Daniel believes that the trumpet chose him, which could be a result of his religious upbringing, both of his parents being strict Christians, and could be that Daniel learned the importance of the power of music, from early childhood.
There wasn’t a lot of secular music in the Dissmore house, but secularism couldn’t be kept from Daniel. His discovery of the music and legacy of the late 2Pac Shakur happened while Daniel was still in high school and living in Manhattan, Kansas. 2Pac’s rich music sparked Daniel’s drive to pursue a career in music.
When Daniel enrolled in music courses at Kansas State University, he fortunately met and studied under Distinguished Professor of Jazz, Dr. Wayne Goins. Dr. Goins became Daniel’s principal professor and mentor.
“I have a million interests,” said Daniel, “and he helped me to find the direction I needed.”
Wayne helped to inspire Daniel’s drive and focus, and that meeting has had a lasting impact on the young trumpeter.
“When I think about Daniel Dissmore,” said Dr. Goins of his former student, “the word that comes to mind is grace. He has a pure heart and his loyalty to the jazz ethic is unwavering. He is also one of the most conscientious artists when it comes to upholding the past traditions that have paved the way for jazz musicians of his current generation. His loyalty and commitment to (be) a servant in regard to promoting jazz education the community is palpable. It’s admirable that Daniel has taken the time to dig deep and invest culturally in the music of Cuba as well as the history of jazz as it relates to the entire African diaspora.
Daniel’s wide array of interests are mirrored in the wide array of perspectives that have influenced his life. This comes, not only from having lived in so many different places, but also from being influenced by a worldly attitude.
Daniel’s mother is from Guyana, a South American country whose name comes from an indigenous language that means, ‘land of many waters’. Another name for Guyana is, ‘the land of six peoples’, which are; Africans, East Indians, various indigenous people, Europeans, (Dutch and English) Portuguese, and Chinese. This unique blend created a culture like none other in the world and that influence can be heard in Daniel’s trumpet playing.
Daniel hopes to spread the international harmony that lies in his DNA with his music. In his newly chosen home of Kansas City, he is already playing with a diverse group of musicians performing the music of various styles and cultures.
He plays in the Marcus Lewis Big Band and Mariachi Oro de Mexico. The Relativity Brass and the Phantastics. Daniel has played the Blue Room, the Rino, and the Ship.
“The Ship is my favorite, he says, “the vibe there is incredible.”
With all this performance, and his intense study at UMKC, Daniel has a need to come back to his inner self. He finds solace at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
“The Nelson is probably my favorite place in the whole city,” said Daniel, “I love the serenity that comes from being in such a sacred spot. A place of stories and the souls of the world being told through art.”
After the interview concluded, Daniel went off to prepare to study those, “stories of the world’s souls” in Cuba. But hopefully he won’t stay away too long.
Kansas City needs and is glad to hear the music of young talented new players like Daniel Dissmore.