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Jazz Musician Rob Zinn Talks Trumpets, Creativity and Delaware's Music Scene



Newark jazz musician Rob Zinn wasn’t always blasting his trumpet in venues across the country. After years working in the IT profession, he felt that something was missing from his life, and began to pursue jazz as his second career. “It’s very rewarding for people to enjoy what [comes] out of my thoughts and my heart,” Zinn says. His second album, “Walk the Walk,” will drop on April 6.

Zinn will be performing in Wilmington at Celebrations on Market on Feb. 22, and at Nomad Bar on March 3. Both events are free to the public. For more information, visit his website.

On getting started with the trumpet:

My grandfather played trumpet way back in the day. It was kind of expected that I would play trumpet. I got my first trumpet at 9 years old and played in the local band and elevated to jazz bands. My career started to take form as a teenager. I started playing in state bands and regional bands and touring bands.

On making music into a career:

It’s only been recently that I made a very strong left turn. I still work a regular job, but I decided I would feel unfulfilled as a person if I didn’t explore where I could take my talent. I started about three and a half years ago. I put together my band and started writing, and came up with my first CD.

Why jazz?

What I like most about [jazz] is the expansiveness of it—the absolute, huge, creative aspect of it. It’s completely organically created right in that exact moment, and it will never be the same again. Even though you’re playing the same songs, you get to express yourself completely differently each time. That means my boundaries as a musician never really end.

On his upcoming album:

I pulled out all the stops and hired the best I could hire within my budget and sold some things to make it happen. “Walk the Walk” is kind of bold. It’s kind of like, ‘Here you are. You’re going to make a big splash on your second album.’ It’s kind of a little cocky.

On the state’s live music scene:

Wilmington has a place called The Nomad. The owners are awesome. It really embraces a lot of styles of music, but Fridays are typically jazz nights. It’s got this New York vibe. It’s kind of hip and cool. You usually see some pretty cool jazz players there. Delaware’s got a really cool, rich music scene, and I don’t think people realize that. There’s a tremendous amount of talent in this area.

His favorite place in Delaware:

I love to go to old New Castle. I’m kind of a history buff—I’m actually more of a Civil War buff. Old New Castle predates the Civil War. Maybe it’s goofy, but I think it’s kind of cool to just walk the streets.

On love for his home state:

For me it’s really important to let Delaware know that this is where my roots are. This is where the formation of my music and all my musical experience has come from—being and living in this state. No matter where I go, I am very proud to be from Delaware. If I ever do wonderful things in the music world, I want people to know that this guy came from Delaware.

This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

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