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About Chris

Chris Pumphrey's picture
Chris Pumphrey is a composer, arranger, bandleader, and musician well-known in the Baltimore area for his ability to not only span, but to fuse avant-garde elements with expansive melody and in-the-pocket rhythm. Born and raised on a gentleman's farm in Harford County, he studied and performed music while working variously as a logger, pool builder, and contractor. He earned his degree in music composition from University of Maryland at Baltimore County, where he studied with Stuart Saunders Smith.... more

Baltimore Afrobeat Society

Chris is the bandleader and one of the founding members of the Baltimore Afrobeat society, which plays the music of Nigerian afrobeat star, Fela Kuti. The group has been playing in Baltimore since 2003, and is composed of over 20 musicians from all different walks within the Baltimore music scene. Chris has transcribed, from recordings, over 30 Fela Kuti songs for the band. The group usually plays once a year (its most recent, a two night stint at the H and H warehouse this past December) to sold out shows.

The Great Halloween Parade

Chris has collaborated with Nana projects (the shadow puppet group who also organizes the Great Halloween Parade in Patterson Park) six times to create an original score for their shadow puppet show which is performed at the finale of the parade. Musicians who have played these compositions include Audrey Chen, John Dierker, and Tom Goldstein.

Free Improvisation

Chris is a big part of the free-impovised music scene in Baltimore. He plays frequently, on both piano and saxophone, at The Red Room and The WindUp Space. Some of the musicians he collaborates with include Audrey Chen, John Berndt, Erik Spangler, Adam Hopkins, Matt Frazao, Dave Ballou, Michael Formanek, and Will Redman to name a few.

  • Out of your head @ wind up space

    Chris Pumphrey (rhodes keyboard/Anthony Pirog/Eric Spangler/Allen Munshower @ Out of Your Head 9.8.10. Weekly free improvised music series at The Wind Up Space.
  • Out of your head

    Gouker/Pumphrey (on rhodes piano)/Cramer/Ellman-Bell @ Out of Your Head 5.11.10. Weekly free improvised music series at The Wind Up Space.
  • High Zero Taster

    Chris Pumphrey (rhodes piano)-- Susan Alcorn -- Paul Neidhardt @ High Zero Taster! @ 2640 space -- 6.3.10.
  • John Dierker Holiday Ensemble, Live @ The Red Room , 12/30/2011

    Chris Pumphrey on rhodes piano with John Dierker, Dave Ballou, Will Reman, Mark Miller and Adam Hopkins live @ Red Room.

Various Groups

Chris writes and performs with a wide variety of musicians and groups around Baltimore city. This section lists some of the groups Chris has recently been playing with.

  • The Rabo 10

    Chris also plays the rhodes piano with a new ten piece group called Lubbock. This song was recorded live at the WindUp space on 9/25/11. This piece was written by Adam Hopkins who also plays bass in the group. The group also features John Dierker, Dave Ballou, Jim McFalls, Cam Collins, Eric Trudel, Colin Renick, Brent Masden, and Nathan Ellman Bell.
  • Caesar

    The Chris Pumphrey Sextet live at the Wind Up Space spring 2010. Chris is playing Rhodes keyboard. (original composition) In the group is Ben Frock, Michael Cerri (The New Volcanoes), Greg Pardew, Eric von Marco, and Chris Donoghue.
  • Bella Signorina de Cassino

    Chris performing on piano and singing live at the Patterson with Michael Beresh in The Letters to Baltimore project. Michael Beresh put letters, written by his two uncles during World War II, to music. Both uncles were Baltimore City natives and did not make it home. The letters were recently found in a relatives attic.
  • Eureka

    The Chris Pumphrey Octet performing the ending of original compostion live at Joe Squared spring 2010. Chris is on Rhodes piano. The group includes Ben Frock (Love Unit), Eric Trudel (Quartet Offensive), Tiffany Defoe, Greg Pardew, Eric von Marco, and Scott Tiemann.
  • BaltiMare

    BaltiMare, a group that Chris has been playing saxophone with for the last 3 years, playing Rumbasca live @ the Patterson Theatre. The groups focus is traditional gypsy folk music.
  • Monty Hall

    Il Culo performing an original composition at Joe Squared spring 2010. Chris (soloist) is playing alto saxophone. The group includes John Dierker (The New Volcanoes), Paul Joyce, Chris Donoghue, and Eric von Marco.

Solo and small ensemble works

In addition to the many projects Chris is involved with, he also composes for solo instruments and small ensembles. The section has a few examples of these works.

  • In She Walked

    Original composition for solo piano. Performed by Chris Pumphrey.
  • Premonition

    Original composition for Mobtown Players production of Jullius Caesar. Chris Pumphrey on organ with Audrey Chen, Michael Cerri, Paul Neidhardt, and Chris Donoghue.
  • Conversation

    Original composition for two saxophones. Chris Pumphrey on alto and John Dierker on tenor.
  • War Angels

    Original Composition for two voices. Performed by Audrey Chen and Kristen Toedtman.
  • Could You Open Your Window?

    Original composition performed by Chris Pumphrey.

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